Rob Paravonian is a comedian and musician living in Brooklyn, NY. Known the world over for his Pachelbel Rant video on YouTube, which currently has over 11 million views and has been subtitled by the online community in over 7 languages, Rob has appeared on Comedy Central, has opened for George Carlin and Lily Tomlin, and has played every U.S. State with a few appearances in Canada, Edinburgh, and Afghanistan.
From Waukegan, Illinois, the same home town as fellow song and patter man Jack Benny, Rob took to music at an early age, starting on the cello in the 2nd grade and playing it throughout grade school and high school in local and school-run orchestras and symphonies. During a summer orchestra program between 7th and 8th grade one of the instructors let Rob in on the fact that a lot of cellists easily pick up double bass and, more importantly, double bass was incredibly similar to electric bass. “You mean all of this cello stuff can apply to something cool?” Rob asked as he related the story in his show Life With Guitars that showcased in New York and Los Angeles. “That’s like finding out geometry can get you laid!”
Rob soon bought his first electric bass (from a retired accountant in Skokie, Illinois) and started applying his musical talents to his new instrument. Rob and his friends put bands together and played at talent shows, local functions, boy scout events, and anywhere else they could. At 19 Rob joined his friend Dan Pavelich in their most serious musical endeavor The Steppingstones. For the next several years they played the top venues in the area, including The Cabaret Metro and The Avalon in Chicago, and Quarters and The Odd Rock Cafe in Milwuaukee.
During his college years Rob did multi-city duty as a student at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and a member of Chicago-based The Steppingstones during the summer, winter and whenever else Rob could make it home. Rob got a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing, studying under noted novelist T.C. Boyle, and also discovered a new passion: stand up comedy. Rob got his first taste of stand up at a contest on campus and was soon hitting open mics and comedy clubs throughout southern California several times a week developing his act. Part of that development was discovering that bringing his lifelong passion for music into his comedy was a natural fit. “Write what you know” for Rob means writing music and about music.
The Steppingstones brought Rob back to Chicago after graduation and they continued to play the Chicago and Milwaukee venues as they worked on demos at Short Order Recorder with power pop guru Jeff Murphy, who produced Material Issue‘s first two albums and was a member of local legends Shoes. The band members began to get pulled in different directions with one stuck in a day job and another in law school, but Rob doubled-down on the starving artist life and dove back into comedy, taking classes at the Second City Training Center and hitting Chicago’s comedy clubs with a vengeance.
Rob soon became a regular at a tiny, 50-seat comedy club in Lincoln Park, where he met just about every working comic in the city, and soon after that Rob did his first showcases at The Improv, Chicago’s biggest club. It went so well the booker invited Rob back to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. Rob continued to knock them dead and became a regular at the Improv and started going on the road as a feature act for Chicago headliners. After landing a college agent Rob began to tour colleges in the Midwest, with one spring tour taking him to over 60 colleges in just three and a half months.
When the Improv closed Rob moved to New York City to further his comedy career and he soon found a home in the burgeoning alt-comedy scene of the Lower East Side. Theater venues like Surf Reality and Collective Unconscious, along with influential weekly shows like Eating It at Luna Lounge were the ideal match for Rob’s dry wit and musical comedy, especially since straight stand up clubs tend to look askance at any comedian wielding a guitar. In New York Rob has flourished as he’s written three solo shows, three one-act plays, was a contributing writer for several years for the sketch group Spurn, and has continued to put out intelligent, clever and funny music.
Keep Your Jazz Hand Strong is Rob’s fifth studio album and contains 17 new funny songs. It will be available to kickstarter supporters in mid-May and will be widely released in mid-June on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon.com and more.