I have a joke about the stereotype women like pilots because they travel and I say, "I travel too!" but of course, I am mostly going to places like Wisconsin, Kansas and Arkansas; not exactly "Eat Pray Love" travel. But the truth is, I do get to visit cool cities and lately I have been able to take advantage of that by exploring cities like Boston, Atlanta and Charlotte; places I would never go to if it wasn't for comedy. All of these cities have great "must see" tourist traps and food items and I am grateful for both, especially the food! This week I spent a lot of time in Boston and got to knock off another "bucket list ballpark from my list (Fenway Park).
Recently, I was discussing the "cruise ships" which a lot of comedians do since you get to travel to exotic places and don't have to worry about promoting and selling tickets for your shows. A lot of comedians like the cruise ship shows for these reasons and the pay is great. Personally, I rather stay on the mainland if I could get to a level where I am selling a ton of tickets for my own shows in comedy clubs.
I hope the rest of the year ends with more sold out shows mainland and I am excited for my shows in Columbus, Vegas, Winter Haven, Denver, Dallas and Philadelphia. Please spread the word if you know folks in these places! #standup #comedyclub #comedyshow #travel
I get asked that question a lot when I travel for comedy; “Does the club pay for your hotel?’ The answer varies. When you headline, they usually do when it’s a weekend, when you are a headliner, or you are a bigger named comic. Or sometimes they have “comedy condo” which varies in comfort and some have not been updated since Reagan was president. Thankfully the "comedy condo" is a thing of the past, although I never had horrible experiences with them.
When you are not the headliner, unless you are handpicked by the headliner and a budget for travel is included, you usually are "out of pocket" for hotel. This can be costly, especially in bigger cities. I have the luxury, when I am not headlining of paying for my hotel from all my miles and accrued membership points from my years of traveling in prior lives. Often times, the comedy club is inside a hotel so that usually works in your favor, even if you are just the feature comedian opening for the headliner.
Travel expenses add up for comedians, even just driving to gigs with the cost of gas. The way to raise money for these costs is usually through merchandise; coozies, buttons, t-shirts which comedians can sell for their expenses. (Buy our merch, people).
Anyways, if you have questions you want to ask about this comedy life, just message me on instagram @paulfarahvar (follow me too). #comedyshow #standupcomedy #formerlawyer
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.
When you are pursuing stand up comedy as a career, it takes up your time and energy. Nearly every night, you are doing shows and during the day you are either writing, doing projects like podcasts, sketches or working on social media. (Man does social media take up time, linked in included!)
Sometimes as comedians we forget to also have a life. Its the life that helps us create content and jokes. I have not had a weekend without comedy since the pandemic ended, which makes me miss a lot of opportunities ripe for social interactions like concerts, games, weddings. In addition, we also need to rejuvenate ourselves. Comedy burns you out. When people ask me, especially if its within hours of a show, "How you doing, Paul", I usually joke "we shall see." Its dark but basically indicates that how this set goes will govern how I am doing. It really does though. A great show can make you happy for hours while a bad show or a bad set can ruin a night or week.
I was lucky to live multiple lives before I did comedy (lawyer, musician, artist manager) which gives me a broad range of material to choose from but I still think comedians should have a life outside of comedy. Of course, I won't take this advice myself. Follow me on instagram if you dont already! #standup #careerchange #formerlawyer
So many shows I have done recently with comedians who grew an extensive fan base during the pandemic through social media. Their growth resulted in getting "butts in the seats" at shows and a loyal fan base that follows them each time a new social media sprouts. This is a path many comedians, including myself, have tried to mimic with mixed results. The algorithms that proved successful in the past have now changed.
Instead of just trying to match the social media path to success, the lesson can also be to try to find your own path. I am actively exploring ways to access potential fans of my comedy and am open to suggestions. I think, whatever one can do to get their comedy out there, even if its on LinkedIn, they should do.
In the end, it should be that "funny is funny" and talent should rise to the top. The difficulty is getting your people to see it. Please follow me on instagram and tiktok, if you are not all ready! #formerlawyer #standup #crowdwork #careerchange
Paul Farahvar is a comedian hailing from Chicago, Ill.
Paul Farahvar Comedy