I'm not going to lie. It feels good to be recognized in public for my work. Especially when people have nice things to say to me or remember one of my jokes. I used to get uncomfortable when people give me compliments in public after recognizing me, but I have learned to enjoy it and "smell the roses". Two quick stories with the first and last time.
The first time it happened to me was seven years ago when a cashier recognized. It was funny because I was picking up a Domino's pizza to eat all by myself, late on a Saturday night after shows. The glamorous life of comedy.
The last time it happened to me was when I was opening for a famous comedian while we were out eating. When we go out to eat, this comedian is often approached for pictures and he is super sweet to his fans but this time it was funny because, they only recognized me, and not the other much more famous comedian. The guy remembered my closer from the last time I was in town and quoted it (poorly). What a time. #comedian #formerlawyer #careerchange #tuesdaythoughts
Last week, I was scheduled to perform in Louisville and Chattanooga as part of a mini road trip I booked on my own. Admittedly, I am horrible at geography and should have just looked at a map to do the trip differently - Tennessee is very long and Chattanooga is very close to Atlanta, not Louisville.
Three hours into the trip, in Indianapolis, my otherwise reliable car, just stalled on the highway. It did this once before when I was driving last summer in 90 degree heat, traveling at speeds around the same as the weather. The different however, I had just taken my car to the dealer to make sure it was ready for the 9 hour drive and it was "cleared for takeoff". And I had taken the car on multiple road trips since last summer with no issues.
The common thread however was that it was again 90 degrees and I was again driving pretty fast. It was overheated and I did not want to deal with stops for the remaining six hours. I waited and was able to start it again to take it to a rental car facility at the airport and rent a car. I did not make my Louisville show but was able to travel through the night to Chattanooga for a weekend of sold out shows with my friend, the hilarious Dusty Slay (Happy Birthday, Dusty!) I never contemplated cancelling the weekend. And I am glad I didn't.
The first night of shows already cleared any doubts I may have had about driving through the night instead of calling it quits and returning to Chicago. After the show, I was approached by a recently divorced father with a special needs child, in tears. He told me how thankful he was that I came to Chattanooga and how he had not been able to go out for years due to his child's condition. He was stood up by his date for the show and decided to still come by himself. He said he had not laughed that hard in years and needed joy in his life after a long long couple of years. I provided it to him. "Comedians don't get the credit they deserve for what they do for people" is what he told me. So I am basically like my doctor brother now, right? He cried and then I cried and we hugged. Easily one of the best moments I have had in comedy.
The rest of the shows were the cherry on top as I had a blast working with one of the best comedians in the US right now and sold out of Better Call Paul shirts AGAIN (I need to increase my order size!), raising more money for Parkinson's Foundation. If anyone knows about overheating in older German cars, give me a call too. #cartroubles #careerchange #standupcomedy #formerlawyer #travel
April was a busy busy month with 40 shows in Orlando, St. Pete Florida, Las Vegas, Reno, Saugatuck Michigan and, my home, Chicago. I headlined some new clubs which were so fun and got to return to Laugh Factory in Reno and Las Vegas to open the shows there. Also, I broke my prior record with t-shirt sales, selling over 100 of my "Better Call Paul" shirts with all the profits going to Parkinson's Foundation! My May looks busy as well, traveling a bunch and I hope to get some more writing opportunities for television and streaming platforms. Everyday I'm hustlin'.
While I am staying busy, its hard not to feel stagnant. There has been little to no movement on pitches I submitted and many clubs have not returned my emails for possible dates. I try to grind and work hard, but its hard not to feel overlooked and disrespected when opportunities don't go my way. My hope for the summer months is that I keep traveling for shows and can find some breaks where people can see my talent and give me an opportunity. #careerchange #hustleandgrind #hustle #standupcomedy
Given my professional background in promotions (Music) and law, I always end up talking to venue owners and managers about the business of comedy. I also like to get feedback, positive and negative.
I recently had a venue booker tell me he likes me but does not think I am funny, but he still has me at his club because he likes me personally and thinks I am professional. What???
On the other hand, I had another booker tell me I am so funny but I don’t have enough tv credits so he can’t headline me at his larger club. The best comment I ever got was from a manager who said I am too good to be a feature (middle act) because I make it too hard for the headliner to follow me. Sadly, however, I only get headline spots at his club on "off nights" instead of weekends.
Hopefully with social media and some TV credits, I can get over the hump in 2022. It's a hard racket, this comedy, but I still love it. I had fun weekends in Reno and Las Vegas, doing 21 shows in 11 days with no days off. Follow me on social media and check out my website for upcoming dates in Florida, Tennesee and Chicago. #comedy #careerchange #standup #formerlawyer #positivethinking
As a former “musician” (I barely qualify as one, which is why I put it in quotes, but I played in over ten bands during my music tenure), the questions about similarities to stand up comedy often arise. I am one of the few people who have done both. There are a lot of similarities, for certain. Obviously, you are entertaining people on a stage and both are considered art forms, especially if you are in an original band. But there are glaring differences.
I loved being on stage. I was a guitarist or bassist in most bands I performed in and 90% of the time, I was not the “front man” or lead singer. Despite my efforts to “peacock” on stage with my mannerisms (jumping and head bobs) and clothing (fake hipster glasses, shiny shirts in the 90s, cool tees in the 00s), most of the time, I was barely noticed. I remember selling CDs after a show for my band Shoeshine Boy fronted by the lovely Jocelyn Baker. Someone was like “I want to buy the CD with the band who had the female lead singer.” Even though I was standing RIGHT next to Jocelyn on stage, the patron had no idea I was in the band. She even thought I was lying when I said I was selling CDs for THAT band that I was in. You can disappear on stage that way in a band.
With comedy, they know you on stage, for better or worse. And its often amazing and fun. There is a downside. But if they don't like you, you know right away. They don’t laugh. And it's you they don't like. Not your band. It’s very personal, especially with comedy that is self reflecting like mine. With music, you can say, maybe the band had a bad night or they don’t like your polka alt country band. With comedy, it's you. On the upside, when you have a great set, it is all you as well.
By the way, if you have questions message me and I will address them here!
#careerchange #formerlawyer #formermusician #standupcomedy
Paul Farahvar Comedy