Fahim was one of the first guys to get passed after I became a part of the Store family, so I wasn't witness to much of his road to becoming a Regular. Turns out he took the traditional route - get funny, do the open mic, get funnier, hang out, get funnier, get noticed by employess and current Regulars, get funnier, get passed.
Fahim first came to the Comedy Store open mic during the old "Pick a number out of the hat" days.* he was still living in Long Beach at the time, so it was a loooong way to come to never make the list. So he spent his time working out in other rooms, including the Sportsman's Lodge where Chris D'Elia first noticed his promise and started encouraging him. With Chris around, Fahim felt comfortable spending more time at the Comedy Store, even when he didn't make the list. Soon enough, he'd become friends with a number of the employees, Friends & Family and Paid Regulars.
He kept getting stage time as often as he could and also started making funny web videos like Afghan Wedding as an outlet for his creative energy. He made it to the finals of the NBC Diversity Showcase and began getting work on TV. All the while Chris D'Elia was a huge supporter and he won a fan in Alf LaMont, the Store's Marketing director. He showcased with a number of other young comedians (including another one of the latest Regulars - Michael Kosta) and got passed to "marinate" Tuesdays and Thursdays in the Belly Room and get a Friends & Family spot after the open mic on Potluck days. Then Brandon Christie gave him some advice that changed everything - Treat the Comedy Store Potluck like a real show and try to kill in those 3 minutes. That very week, Fahim snagged the sweet spot just as the Friends & Family turns into time when mostly Paid Regulars and pop-ins come in to work on new material. He had a great set then walked over to thank Tommy, the Talent Coordinator, for the time. Tommy replied, "You're passed, call in your avails for next week."
The first spot any Paid Regular does is the 9:00 pm opener on a weekday. For Fahim, the only thing that stands out about his first time is that a friend he hadn't seen since High School saw his Facebook post about it and came and sat right in the front row. After that, Fahim got moved to late night spots - partially because he can be "too dirty" for 9 pm and also because Tommy believes the late night spots are where comedians find their voice. For Fahim, it helped him improve his crowdwork and off the cuff thinking, because you HAVE to to deal with the drunken craziness that the audience becomes around 1 am. "I always knew I had it in me, " says Fahim, "but it took the OR [Original Room at the Comedy Store] to get it out of me. Now I know how to connect with an audience before I try to get them to laugh at my jokes."
Like just about everyone who has put in the time to become a Paid Regular, Fahim reveres the Store and, especially, the OR. "I wanted to get passed here at the Store in particular because of the history of the club, plus there are three showrooms so you can get a lot of time. And i didn't know it when I started, but having the opportunity to do weekends at the Comedy Store in La Jolla is a huge perk. It's so hard and so elite, it's a little like being in the Marines. If I can bring just a glimpse of what I do in the OR to any other show, it's so potent."
If you haven't seen Fahim yet or want to catch him again, keep an eye on the Comedy Store Lineups - posted every Tuesday on Tumblr.
* Now the open mic at The Comedy Store works like this: aspiring comedians show up at 6 pm and sign the 40 spaces (and margins and back) of the lottery sheet, the sheet is taken to the back where names are drawn more or less at random (though there's usually about 3 people not-so-randomly on the list because they want to see how that person is progressing), the list is posted at 7 pm, approximately 30 seconds before the show starts.