Rob Paravonian’s website touts him as “comedian, musician and writer of things.” It is an altogether characterizing description. Standing on the stage of the Palace Theater at 9:30 p.m. last Tuesday, Paravonian corroborated the claim.
“So I’m a musician and a comedian,” Paravonian said. “Which means I’m poor twice.”
He went on to express those talents through witty reflections on rich college students, life as a teenager and American politics.
“‘I work hard and I play hard,'” Paravonian said, quoting a sentiment that is coincidentally often used to describe the Colgate University students who made up a large percentage of Paravonian’s audience.
Then he delivered his response:
“That just means you’re a dick all the time.”
Paravonian’s first musical performance of the night was one that a wealthy Colgate student could similarly take to heart, a song Paravonian claimed he had written for his freshman-year girlfriend at the University of South Carolina. As an introduction to the song, Paravonian explained that he had worked for a garbage man for two summers. He used part of the income from that job to pay for cell phone minutes, but the concept of paying bills was one his wealthy girlfriend apparently could not understand.
“Girl, you’re wasting my minutes” was the song’s refrain. Paravonian described the song’s genre as Rhythm and Blues, and he performed it complete with breakdown.
Paravonian also claimed several characterizations beyond musician and comedian. He mentioned that he was a geek and a hater of luxury SUVs, and, during the introduction to another song about returning home during spring break, added that he was “never a drinker.” During an interview after the show, Paravonian also revealed that he had played the cello from second grade until his senior year of high school and that he was “really good” at Ms. Pacman.
Although he did not state the fact explicitly, Paravonian was evidently also an avid cartoon fan, as he frequently mentioned cartoons in his jokes. For instance, at one point in the show Paravonian hilariously compared president George Bush and vice-president Dick Cheney to the cartoon characters Pinky and the Brain. To demonstrate the connection, he recited part of the cartoon’s theme song, which describes the plan of two laboratory mice to “take over the world.”
Another one of Paravonian’s jokes suggested that cartoons sometimes acted as more than just a simple inspiration for the comedian. During the show, Paravonian described the process of packing all of his belongings inside his trunk as he was preparing to move. He praised his Tetris skills for helping him pack his car. The joke directly mirrored a scene from the popular cartoon The Simpsons, where the Simpson family and their belongings are transformed into Tetris pieces for the main character Homer Simpson to arrange neatly and humorously within his family’s car.
Paravonian also mentioned that he had recently traveled to Afghanistan for about two weeks on a comedy tour. When asked about the experience in the country while on tour during an interview, he responded with true positivity and enthusiasm.
“It was great to do comedy for people who could use a laugh,” Paravonian said. After being prompted, he continued that he “didn’t learn a ton.” He then went on to describe, in detail, his experience on the ground, mentioning the impact of watching a group of men construct a road in one province of Afghanistan.
Paravonian’s performance entertained the audience, bringing cartoon humor and political commentary to the stage in a singularly unique way.