100 Dallas Creatives: No. 96 Funny Man Paul Varghese
Mixmaster presents "100 Creatives," in which we feature cultural entrepreneurs of Dallas in random order. Know an artistic mind who deserves a little bit of blog love? Email email@example.com with the whos and whys.
Calling Paul Varghese Dallas' first breakout comedy star really isn't giving him enough credit. Dallas wouldn't have a modern comedy scene to go to without him. Like so many local comics with a regular gig schedule, the Garland native hit up just about every bar and restaurant in town with an empty floor space that the manager could convert into a makeshift stage.
He's not only become one of the city's most recognizable faces but he's become a national touring comic who has opened for some of the biggest names in the game like Dave Chappelle, scored sets on Comedy Central's Live at Gotham and even released his own album titled Paul & Oates. He talked to us about his method for crafting his comedy and escaping the hypnotic gaze of Maury Povich.
How does your process work?
I write everything down that I say that makes a friend or acquaintance laugh in casual conversation. Then I also write whatever throughout the day confuses or angers me. After sifting through it in a day, I can find at least one premise to play around with. Only based off how a crowd reacts onstage do I know if any of it is worth-a-shit.
Most comics I know write down bits as they come to them. Do you have another method?
I write them all down. Occasionally, I'll ad-lib something quasi-funny onstage and then rush right off when I'm done to jot it down on the closest piece of something
What would you say makes you creative?
I'm open to inspiration at all times. I find things more ridiculous and silly then hilarious. I also try to surround myself around super-witty people. It keeps my mind sharp
What do you do to stimulate your creativity?
I have to be out somewhere. Sitting at my place just makes me watch Maury. I need life happening around me. I travel enough to where I'm forced to deal with it whether I'm in the mood or not.
How do you keep from getting bored with writing or performing?
Writing never bores me cause it's my favorite thing to do with other comics. Performing can get stale if I'm in a super bad/stressed mood cuz you have to be 100% engaged & focused to make that happen. If I don't feel inspired enough to perform, I'll do something different, performance-wise, onstage that I've never done before to keep my focus, whether it be all one-liners, not moving at all, sitting in silence. Whatever that moment inspires
What would you be doing if you weren't doing something creative for a living?
Something to where I was giving back to people, whether through humanitarian work or teaching. As trivial as standup can seem to most people, I've always looked at it as altruistic. I'm trying to entertain them and make them happy with my creativity. I no longer look at it as their laughter as self-validation. I look at it as entertaining.