Recently I had to deal with some "office politics" in the comedy world. Being in a creative world, you would hope to avoid the drama of an office but, after all, its the comedy business (stress on business). I am not sure if its a generation thing or just the fact that many of peers have never had a traditional office job but they often don't understand how it works. Unlike me, who came from multiple office jobs and traditional careers, they went from school to comedy. As a result, I sometimes see the inability to understand concepts that would typically be handled by the HR department or the due diligence of an investigation. Instead, people are cancelled or banished or a club is boycotted.
On my podcast, SINGLES ONLY, I often joke that I am the HR department, explaining to comedians why dating in the workplace is not a good idea and often ends poorly for all those involved. As a former lawyer, I am often contacted by peers who have questions about the legality of what they are facing whether its a contract or a concept more abstract, like due process. I am more than happy to assist or refer them to one of my former peers if I can't. And more often than not, especially when its bad news, the person is not happy with what I tell them. As a result, I am sometimes also banished for not "taking their side." The law is still the law and no matter how much Judge Judy or Law & Order you watched, one is still not a lawyer.
As a lawyer, I saw both sides of allegations made by people who did wrong and those who were wrong by the actions of people or businesses. I have an inherent sense of fairness instilled in me from my years as a lawyer. Whether I like it or not, I will always have a legal mind when I hear about the behavior of other comedians or clubs in the comedy world. I have seen people wrongly accused of actions and also people get away with wrongful conduct. I have never seen, however, how quickly people rush to judgment when an allegation or story is spread. I am still a believer in the US legal system and while it's not perfect, its the best thing we have and the principles of the legal system, especially due process and equal protection, should govern the behavior of all workplaces, including comedy.
Paul Farahvar is a comedian hailing from Chicago, Ill.
Paul Farahvar Comedy