I think most of the conversations with comedians these days revolve around social media. I can't remember the last time I had a conversation with another comedian where we didn't mention "reels" "algorithms" or "tik tok". It stresses me out and I guess its nice to not feel alone when I see how it affects all of us.
Social media has so much control over the arts. Unlike doctors or lawyers, we rely on social media to promote ourselves and our work. When people say they don't have instagram or Fac ebook, I used to think it was nuts but now I am just envious. Its not about the ego or getting affirmation from strangers so much as being able to promote our shows and make a living. Facebook is notorious for burying promos for shows until after the date. I had a promo for my Plano Texas show last Wednesdays and over a week later, now I am getting likes on it. I see it with friends promoting shows for 2 days before. I get that they want us to spend money to promote but it even happens with our normal reels that don't mention our live shows.
I have met with some experts (again) to see if there is a way I can "beat the system" in the meantime, hope to see you are a show especially if you are in Florida or Northern California in October. Anyways, here is a poster for my Alameda show in October! #standup #socialmedia #comedy #formerlawyer
I recently headlined a weekday show at a comedy club that didn’t go as planned. To begin with, my flight was delayed so I arrived about 10 minutes before showtime instead of having a few minutes to catch my breath. Weekday shows are always scary, since, at my level, it’s usually a club where I am trying to establish myself as a weekend headliner. Weekdays are harder to promote than a weekend of shows, especially for fans who have day jobs and children.
Headlining weekday shows are hit or miss. I have managed to curtail my expectations, especially now that many of my followers don’t even see my clips and promos for shows since the algorithm for my social media is not consistent. ( Thanks Zuckerberg!)
Before I walked into the club, I noticed that it was dead everywhere and from a distance I could see the lobby of the comedy club. Also dead. This was gonna be a small show. I walked into the showroom to see 22 people in a room that filled to 250. It was a bust. No problem. I have done shows like this before and sometimes the crowds are great.
The show started and my friends who were opening did well. This was a “small but mighty” crowd. I was gonna have fun.
The host brought me on stage and for ten minutes everything was going well. Then a loud BOOM, a spark, a flicker and then the lights went out and then went back on. But the microphones did not. I waited a few minutes to see if the mic woudl work as I saw the sound guy scramble to try to see what was up. The fuses were blown. It would be a while.
I started performing without the mic and projected my voice. I had to do this before for shorter sets so I could handle it. 30 minutes later, my voice was going out. Still no mic. I jokes about the fact that mics were optional if you don’t bring a crowd and self deprecated my way through the set.
Certain jokes I do require a mic for sound effects. I already am a quiet comedian too so I knew some jokes would not hit as well but I muscled forward. After 45 minutes, I was able to grab a mic and do the last 15 minutes with a microphone. Not ideal, but I handled it professionally. And those 22 people had a blast. #professional #formerlawyer #careerchange #stand up
Lest weekend, I was able to finaly record my comedy album special. The date was moved once and almost a second time, but thankfully I was able to record it at Helium Comedy Club in Philadelphia. I was actually born there but moved then I was two years old and only visited once in the 90s so it was very cool to be able to return to record my album.
It was stressful leading up the recording. I prepared by running the set the week leading up to the show at a few venues and shows. I decided the order and what jokes to do for the album and where to place them. Because I was recording it a couple times, I had some leeway to see which jokes I could later cut from the speial.
I had some help from some comedy producers and clubs who let me run it a few times before I finalized it on Saturday. By the time I got to Philadelphia, II had practiced the hour at least seven times. I was sidetracked with other matters last week with schedulingw which perhaps kept me from overthinking the album.
I am really proud of the work I put in and can’t wait for you all to hear and see it when it comes out. In the meantime, I am thankful I have a few months to keep doing some of the jokes on the special on the road in Dallas, Batavia (IL), Tampa (FL), Lake Geneva (WI), Alameda (CA) and Denver (CO).
Please tell your friends to come see me or if you are in these towns, come laugh along. #comedy #formerlawyer #standup #careerchange
About 6 months ago, I wrote about how I was frustrated with having no representation and having last minute shows cancelled on me and terms of my performances being changed to my detriment. It happened again. And Again.
In one situation, I was able to resolve the issue with the venue by hoping on a phone call and explaining my plight and they agreed and understood and made it right. In the second situation, I am unsure what will happen. I emailed to confirm a show less than a week away and they said they did not have me in their books. When I forwarded the confirmation they conceded the error and offered to make it up to me with dates in the future.
The problem is, in the meantime, I turned down a lot of offers and have spent the last three hours trying to find new dates to make up for the losses. Its very hard to pick up dates last minute, especially when you originally turned them down and they are likely filled by now. I can't remember where I was contacted in some situations since show offers come by email, instagram, facebook and text so instead of sleeping now (its almost 6am), I am searching for make up dates because without the shows that are cancelled, I will have 5 days straight without a show. For me, thats a lot. I freak out even when I have two days off and the thought of not going on stage for longer is stressful. I can always do some open mics too or create a "pop up" show locally. But its also frustrating because I was looking forward to returning to this venue, especially after recording my album to work on a some new stuff and have had the date on my website for sometime. I should be preparing for my album recording which is less than 3 days away but I am trying to recreate a schedule instead.
I need a manager. I need an agent. I need someone in my corner to help me navigate this BS so I can write and create content instead of booking shows and then re-booking them when others cancel them. I thought I could handle it, given my background as a former artist manager in the music industry and being a lawyer, but I really can't.
If you know anyone, send them my way ASAP. I have some cool things happening and, other than these cancellations am booked up pretty solidly for the next few months. #standupcomedy #formerlawyer #formermusician #cantsleep
Paul Farahvar is a comedian hailing from Chicago, Ill.
Paul Farahvar Comedy