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Music Fest Season Starts When WE Say it Does!

If you love music but not the idea of standing outside all day with sweaty idiots, then we’ve got the place for you! New York’s hottest new music festival is Spring Festerella, presented by the Odd Rock Comedy Hour!

It’s only 85 minutes, a measly $10 ($7 if you buy advance tickets here with the code ORCHVIP), and it’s in Astoria so you can go home afterward and not sleep in a tent! It’s compact, streamlined, and filled with more awesome-per-dollar than any other music festival your bloggersnob friends have told you about.

Don’t believe me? Check out these acts:

  • The Reformed Whores They’ve been on IFC, SiriusXM, opened for Les Claypool and the Reverend Horton Heat, and have rocked the Edinburgh Fringe!
  • Carla Ulbrich A comedy songwriter and professional smart aleck who’s been played on the Dr. Demento Show, SiriusXM, and NPR!
  • Charles McBee a hilarious standup comedian who has appeared on Gotham Comedy Live!
  • Tim Ellis comedian/musician whose album and webseries Casual Pimpin’ are packed with hilarity and smooth grooves!
  • Shane Morrison comedic songwriter who has been featured in the New York Funny Songs Festival!
  • Hosted by Rob Paravonian, me, and I’ve also done stuff and been on things!

So there you have it. April 21st, 2018, is the official start of your summer festival season! Come on out and party with us!

Celebrate St. Pat’s w/ the >SHAM< Rock Comedy Hour!

When your monthly variety show falls on St. Patrick’s Day you gotta do something special, but instead of appropriating (and/or mocking) Irish culture we’ll be celebrating fake bands in The Sham Rock Comedy Hour!

That’s right! We’ll be celebrating all of your favorite sham bands from movies and TV! I’ll be covering some of the best examples of real music from fake bands, and we’ll also have a fake band trivia game (prize to be determined but it’ll probably be dope). Plus comedian Boris Khaykin, the dope and dirty rhymes of LaDynasty, and more!

So get yer butts down to the March edition of The Odd Sham Rock Comedy Hour! Advance tickets are only $7 when you buy at QED’s website with the code “ORCHVIP”

The Missile-Toad Holiday Special ’17!

The Odd Rock Comedy Hour is putting on an odd rock holiday show! Comedy music superduo Sam & Bill, Killy Dwyer, Lauren Hope Krass and me, Rob P., will bring to the stage twisted musical holiday cheer in the form of top-notch comedy, music, standup, sketch, and candy! And if you get your tickets in advance and use code ORCHVIP, you can get in for just $7!

It all takes place on Saturday, Dec. 16th at 7:30 pm at Q.E.D. in lovely Astoria, Queens. The Odd Rock Comedy Hour will help make your season hilarious.

The Odd Rock Comedy Hour
Missile-Toad Holiday Special!
Sat. Dec. 16, 7:30 pm
Q.E.D.
27-16 23rd Ave, Astoria (N Train to Ditmars)
With Sam & Bill, Killy Dwyer, Lauren Hope Krass, and more!

2017-Dec-ORCH-posterV1

The Odd Rock Comedy Hour! Coming Nov 18!

The Odd Rock Comedy Hour, my new monthly comedy/music/variety show, launches Saturday, Nov 18 at Q.E.D.! After a great 3-year run of my monthly show Don’t Feed the Musicians! I’m ready to kick off a new show that will feature the best of what you’ve come to love from the old show along with some new twists and turns.

One of the reasons for the name change is that I wanted the name to clearly convey that the show was a fun collection of comedy, music, and something a little off the beaten path. Also, the name Don’t Feed the Musicians! is kind of bossy when you think about it.

The new name is inspired by a very quirky rock club in Milwaukee where my old band The Steppingstones played our first gig: The Odd Rock Cafe. The venue was a converted Victorian house in an industrial section of the city and all of the interesting 80s acts played there: The Jesus Lizard, Gwar, G. G. Allin, Social Distortion, and many more. We opened for a Milwaukee-based psychedelic jangle-pop band The Petals and we were so amped to be playing our first gig we blew through our entire set in about 30 minutes.

We came off the stage to some confused looks from members of the Petals.“You’re done?” The asked if we wanted to play a few more and we had to respond, “we don’t know any more.” We should have pulled the line Bob Newhart used after his first nightclub gig earned him calls for an encore. He came back out on stage and said “Okay, which one do you want to hear again?”

So there you have it: somewhere between quirky music with a D.I.Y. aesthetic and Bob Newhart lies The Odd Rock Comedy Hour. Coming to Q.E.D. on the 3rd Saturday of every month at 7:30 pm. Come join the fun!

Thanks for a great run!

Don’t Feed the Musicians!, my monthly variety show at QED, will be coming to a close on October 21 and I want to send out a hearty “thank you” to all of the artists that have been guests, all of the people that have come to enjoy the show, and the wonderful folks at QED who supported it. But the end brings a new beginning! I’ll be launching a new monthly variety show in November at the very same venue, in the very same time slot!

So why, you may ask, if I’m doing a monthly variety show in the same time slot at the same venue would I go through the hassle of creating a new show? I suppose the 3-year anniversary made me a little reflective and I thought about the work that goes into producing and hosting a show. I really enjoy both writing new material every month, performing, and bringing wonderful guests to the stage for the audience to enjoy, but I don’t like having to explain that that’s what Don’t Feed the Musicians! is.

It’s mostly my fault for giving the show an ambiguous title. When I was first approached about doing a monthly show at the then-brand new QED, I wanted to come up with a name other than “Untitled Rob Paravonian Project” and I thought Don’t Feed the Musicians! had a cheeky, musician’s inside joke kind of vibe. But when I see it listed up there with all of the other wonderful shows at QED I think about how someone else would see the name and wonder “what the heck is that?” And in the days of social media-fueled micro attention spans that can be a liability.

So watch this space for information on the new show, which will hit the QED stage November 18th at 7:30!

This Comedian Made a Fake Commercial Every Week For a Year and No One Really Gave Two S**ts

Comedian/musician Rob Paravonian has to fight through algorithms, pitches for ad buys, and an inundation of competing clickbait just to reach the thousands of fans he’s already made. Such is the current state of social media driving online “content.”

Paravonian is best known for his viral Pachelbel Rant video that made the rounds in the early days of YouTube and which has over 13 million views. He has just completed his year-long 52 Sellout project wherein he wrote, shot, edited, created music for, and posted a new commercial spoof each week. Though the series garnered a small following of devoted fans, it never really took off like his earlier viral hits. None of the videos broke through the Reddit/blogger/aggregator echo barrier and the two highest-viewed videos were reposts of existing commercials for which Paravonian created contrasting music for comedic effect.

When asked if he would have embarked on such an ambitious project if he knew the numbers would be so underwhelming Paravonian shot back “of course! I’m a comedian and a musician, what the ✄✄✄✄ else am I supposed to do?”

After his publicist convinced him to return to the table to complete the interview, Paravonian continued, “sorry. All of these media sites and reposters of comedy are only concerned with clicks and shares, and what’s actually being shared is secondary. It’s kind of frustrating.

“Not to mention that the algorithms are optimized for, well, bull✄✄✄t basically,” he adds, before veering off into a harangue about fake news being the fault of the people sharing it as much as the people making it.

“Back to the algorithms,” I intervene, “do you mean facebook?”

“They’re one example. They want to optimize the amount of clickable s✄✄t that you see, and they’d prefer it if that clickable s✄✄t was somehow still on their site so they can continue to feed you ads. And they actively suppress YouTube links which makes it really hard to get non-facebook-hosted videos to catch on.

“Which is maddening because I have a facebook page with nearly 5,000 ‘likes,’ which means nearly 5,000 people have taken the time to stop by my page and let me know they want to see my work and the links that I share. But every time I post a link facebook asks me if I want to ‘boost’ the post, meaning do I want to pay them money to reach the people that have already said they want to see my stuff? All the while they’re making money by feeding ads to the people that are looking at all the stuff I’ve already posted—with no cut of the ad money going to me, the person who’s creating the work that people are there to see.

“And YouTube? Hell, I have 26,000 subscribers and I’m lucky if I get 300 people to see a new video. No one really knows what metrics go into their recommendation algorithm, though a lot of people have guesses. Some say the biggest factor is watch time, some say it’s how many subscribers watch in the first day. If it’s watch time I’m screwed because all of these commercials are about 1-minute long. I think next year I’m gonna be one of those vloggers who just sits around overreacting to the normal world around me.”

“So, you’re going to be the next React To guy, or maybe the next Pewtie Poo?” I ask.

“Oh, god no. I’m kidding. I came up at a time when we were trying to make art. Not “Art” as a pretentious, museum kind of thing, but art as in something from your soul that has a point of view and tries to communicate to other people.”

“Is there room for ‘art’ in a world of content?” I ask.

“That’s a good f✄✄✄ing question, I’m not sure. If I were a Magic 8 Ball I’d say ‘outlook not good.’”

Despite his frustration with the current workings of the online mediaspace, when asked if he considers the project a failure Paravonian is quick to say no.

“It’s not a failure because I did some really good work. I pushed myself to try different things, I created work I never would have made otherwise, and I put a lot of good ‘content’” he says, with the most sardonic air quotes ever seen, “out into the world, and it’ll still be there tomorrow.”

To date the 52 videos in the series have over 123,000 views on YouTube, 90,000 coming from the two videos in which Paravonian changed the music of an existing commercial (The Amazon Lion Dog ad and the Bacardi house-on-a-truck ad). Another two videos were cross-posted on facebook where they received 3,900 additional views.

 

Free Chris Christie: The Musical!

We isolated the audio of Chris Christie’s inner monologue the night of Super Tuesday as he watched Trump give his victory speech. It’s a sappy Broadway ballad! Here at RobPRocks HQ we’ve amplified that audio and set it to some lovely animated photos of the event. We hope you enjoy it!

O.K., actually it’s a song I wrote as a demo for a comedy news website and I started putting some pictures together to give them an example of what I thought could be done with it visually. As the midnight hour came and went I was finishing the video but losing perspective, hitting that point in the project at which you wonder if it even makes sense anymore. But since it was a topical subject I posted it on my facebook page anyway, around 2 am last Friday, to see what people thought. Luckily some of my west coast friends were up and able to check it out right away and they not only liked it but started sharing it right away.

The arrangement is pretty simple, just piano and vocal, which is something I hadn’t tried until I wrote the song “Flashback Wife.” I’ve been playing and writing on keyboard a lot more lately, since working on my musical last year, and it’s been a lot of fun to explore this new (for me) area. I hope you like the results!

Genesee Theater, October 3!

The Genesee Theater in my hometown of Waukegan, Illinois has been beautifully restored and has been back hosting national and international acts for over a decade, and yours truly has the great honor of headlining a comedy night there on October 3. I’ll be turning in a 45-minute set preceded by Sean Flannery, Ariana Freeman, and hosted by Kelsie Huff.

Flyer for October 3 show

When I was growing up in Waukegan the theater was kind of run down but still open mostly for movies, by the time I was in junior high it was closed except for an occasional event, but it eventually closed completely. There had been different attempts and plans to refurbish it and I had always hoped they would succeed. Finally, the City of Waukegan bought the building and many volunteers gave their time and money to restore it, and they did an amazing job. It is a beautiful venue and an amazing place to see a show.

Genesee Theater Interior

I am eagerly anticipating this show and am going to do everything I can to pack the place and make sure it’s a night to remember for everyone. If you’re in the Chicago or Milwaukee areas (Waukegan is about halfway between the two) make plans to come to downtown Waukegan for the show. You won’t be disappointed.

Saturday, October 3
Awakenings Comedy Show
The Genesee Theater

203 N. Genesee St.
Waukegan, IL 60085

© Paravonian