As a comedian who started later in life, I am still considered an “older” comedian. As a result, it is sometimes hard to navigate the nuances of comedy politics. On one hand, I am not as experienced as comedians my age who started in their 20s (while I was lawyering and being the Persian John Mayer). On the other hand, I am much older than comedians who started when I started 10 years ago.
As a result, I sometimes get the worst of both worlds. I don’t headline as often as folks my age because I clearly don’t have the experience and the tv credits, having started 10+ years late. On the other hand, there is a subtle ageism with bookers who are much younger than me and favor comedians who may not be as experienced and seasoned as me but often hang with them after the shows and at post show parties. Unfortunately, however, people who attend these clubs are closer to my age and have life experiences similar to mine.
Recently I was watching a showcase show where the crowd was mostly middle aged and older and every comedian on the show was under 30. On this night, the older crowd did not want to hear a 24 year olds discuss their Tinder dates or their hot takes on the Supreme Court’s rulings. Maybe the crowd was just bad but I thought I could do better. I asked the manager if I can do a quick set, since I was not on the show and was just stopping by, just to maybe reset the room. I was denied.
I could be wrong and maybe I would have failed to capture the audiences attention and garner laughs but I am pretty certain I would have helped the show. Instead I watched comedian after comedian struggle. The only way to avoid what I perceived as disrespect is to be undeniable. Be undeniably talented and never fail to successfully crush a spot. Onward.
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Paul Farahvar is a comedian hailing from Chicago, Ill.
Paul Farahvar Comedy