When people ask me "How's it going," I usually respond "We'll see!" especially if I am about to perform. I say it in jest, but in reality, so much of my mood often revolves around how well my last set went. I don't think I am alone in allowing a show to make or break my mood, at least for a few hours.
This past week demonstrates the ups and downs of comedy best. Saturday night, I performed for two sold out shows. One was for a friend's show that I was invited to last minute and the second one, was me headlining a favorite club of mine in Florida, Coconuts in St. Petersburg. The shows went very well and I was able to work on my new hour of material I hope to record in in 2023. Even if things don't go amazingly well, performing for large crowds always feels great, especially as a headliner.
Then came Sunday. I had promoted a show as part of my "Paul Farahvar & Friends" campaign in Florida. The last one was a huge success in Naples Florida, so I was hoping for the same. No dice. We had less than 10 tickets sold just 7 hours before showtime. I decided to cancel the show. My rule is there can't be more comedians on the show than audience members. While we may have had some walk ups, we also may have has people who bought tickets not show up. I wasn't going to take any chances, especially on a holiday weekend. I was really looking forward to the show but I made the executive decision to cancel. The venue was kind as were the comedians who were on the show, who supported the decision. Now I can't wait to get on stage again! #comedy #24hours #careerchange #formerlawyer
For those asking, I am involved with Parkinson's Foundation because my father was recently diagnosed with a form of Parkinsons called Parkinsonism. I discuss it and him in this article as well as my first large scale effort at a fundraiser for Parkinsons Foundation at Zanies Comedy Club in Rosemont in a couple weeks. Hope you can come to the show and laugh and support a good cause.
#parkinsons #dad #comedylife #fundraising
Link -- https://bit.ly/ParkinsonsP
Luck is when preparation meets opportunity, they say, but I honestly think that some people (myself included) are just blessed with extraordinary luck. I can't count the times where I had to pinch myself, especially opportunities created through comedy. I have been legends and performed with people I watched as a kid and have spoken to truly amazing and inspiring people. People who were voted the best in their fields and truly inspirational folks (authors, actors, athletes, World Series champs!) know my name. Insanity.
That being said, I know there are days when I don' t feel lucky, like when I audition for a part that I know is perfect for me (i.e. playing a lawyer on TV) and I don't get it, or when someone else gets an opportunity that I believe I would be better suited for. Ultimately, all I can do on my end is be prepared for anything, in case that opportunity arises where I can show off my skill sets, whatever they may be. #lucky #careerchange #formerlawyer #comedy
Recently I did a late show where things quickly went off the rails. It all started when the crowd was not responding to my opener (aka feature comedian) who lost them with some off-color jokes and just could not get them back. The feature comedian did not read the room and, perhaps because of nerves or lack of experience, leaned into dirtier jokes. The crowd was not having any of it. As a feature, you typically should not do crowd work, but even when the set went that direction, there was no success. They became rowdy and multiple hecklers successfully derailed the show. It was my turn as the headliner.
As soon as the host brought me up, I know I had a few seconds to regain their trust. I presented myself as a very confident comedian, channelling my best "Bernie-Mac" impression to show them I was not afraid of them. The crowd was not responsive to my first joke, and it became almost a Q + A so I did some crowd work to appease them.
Then, when the alpha heckler (who beat up my opener) tried to be funny with a disrespectful comment about the prior comedian, I took him down. It felt like when they tell you to punch the biggest guy when you get to jail. It worked. I regained their trust but still had to deal with a crowd that was expecting interaction. I was expecting to do an hour of my upcoming album recording I am working on, but instead, I had to do crowd work and a little babysitting. It actually ended up being fun and I did a longer set than I was supposed to because I was able to stay in the moment. The silver lining is that I had fun and I probably got some funny clips from the night. You can't plan that sh*t.
Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. On that stage, I am prepared for anything.
#formerlawyer #standupcomedy #tbt #careerchange
I recently grabbed food with some non-comedian friends after a Chicago show and as we were sitting there, they looked over and saw a man eating by himself. One friend said “Oh no, he is alone! Should we invite the lonely man to eat with us” I told my friend that I eat 90% of my meals alone and she looked at me with shock and sadness. I am not lonely and actually enjoy the solitude, especially after or before a show.
I can’t speak for other comedians but I am quite certain we often do eat alone, especially on the road. Sometimes I will bring my computer or listen to a podcast but often times I am just there enjoying a meal and checking my phone or watching the tv (if they have one). I would be lying if I said I was not eavesdropping on those around me too, creating back stories for those around me.
I never thought of it as being lonely. Its actually pretty nice sometimes to eat alone, especially on the road where I can try places I want to eat and, more importantly, at the times I want to eat. As I have said before here and on my podcast, comedians often eat at weird times. 4-5pm and after 10pm. I know all the late night places that serve food (far less now then before the pandemic).
I guess I never noticed other people noticing me eating alone in late night diners, bars and fast food joints until that moment. Incidentally, the man at the diner had a Chicago Med tv show sweater on, which I assume means he works production for the show. #careerchange #standup #formerlawyer #comedian
Paul Farahvar is a comedian hailing from Chicago, Ill.
Paul Farahvar Comedy