Tonight Eugene Mirman, Bentzen Ball alum Reggie Watts, and Kumail Nanjiani will be making the funnies at the Black Cat. It’s sold out. Sorry. But you can at least feel a little closer to Eugene by checking out this BYT interview from the deep dark archives of 2007. It’s still pretty good, enjoy! Remember Myspace?
Originally run August 10, 2007
NYC stand up comedian Eugene Mirman has a [not] new comedy record out on Sub Pop. You might have seen him before at the Black Cat or State Theater with those Stella guys (Michael Ian Black, David Wayne, Michael Showalter), or with those Comedians of Comedy guys (Patton Oswalt, Brian Posehn), or opening up for The Shins, or any of the millions of other things he’s done. But you [can’t] see him in the flesh this Sunday at the Rock and Roll Hotel. You [can’t] win free tickets from BYT. But if you don’t win, come support alternative comedy at The Hotel so they’ll book more of it. For me. Do it for me. I mean do it for Eugene too, but mainly for me. No free ticket info at the bottom, but first, I ask Eugene some questions:
Brightest Young Things: How’d you get started in Comedy? Just kidding! Have you kissed anyone in your Myspace top 8?
Eugene Mirman: Yes. My girlfriend. But like Matt Damon I am very private, so I won’t say any more.
BYT: Would your number 2 and 6 make a cute couple?
EM: Though I think Demetri Martin and the Boston based indie-folk-rock powerhouse Joy would have a lot of fun hanging out together, I don’t know that they’d date. But they’re all very cute. Did you mean anyone other than 2 and 6? Were you counting wrong?
BYT: No – I’m just randomly pulling these from some shitty top 8 myspace survey I found on the interwebs – here’s one more: What would you buy 4 for their birthday?
EM: I like to buy gifts for people when I find one that fits the person, not when society decides. But I also have wonderful manners and love birthday’s, so I’d probably get them something from Apple, like an iphones or itunes.
BYT: How come Michael Ian Black isn’t in your top 8?
EM: Same reason as you. He lives in Connecticut.
BYT: Exactly the same reason! What is Michael Ian Black like off-camera, is he just as dreamy?
EM: He’s very sweet, but he’s also a non-stop fuckmaster (when touring we would have to stop in small towns, so that Michael could run into a deli or Dunkin Donuts and fuck ladies. It generally added a few hours to our trip.) If People Magazine had the balls to make a list of America’s Top 10 Fuckmasters, guess who would be #2? (Cuba Gooding Jr. is #1 obviously.)
BYT: Obviously. Let’s start a fake internet rumor about Michael Ian Black.
EM: Too late. I just did.
BYT: Fair enough, can we just talk about Michael Ian Black for the whole interview?
BYT: Fine. Besides the upcoming show at the Rock and Roll Hotel, what else would you like to shamelessly self promote?
EM: Nothing. But I will say that I’m writing a fake advice book for Harper Collins, recording a half hour special for Comedy Central, working on a documentary of going back to Russia for the first time since I immigrated, doing a voice on a new cartoon for Adult Swim, playing the landlord on HBO’s Flight of the Conchords, and some other stuff. Check it out if you have the chance, bro.
BYT: Yeah man, we threw a Flight of the Conchords screening party a while back, great show. So today on BYT someone called me immature for mildly poking fun of Richard Branson, do you think that’s immature?
EM: It depends what you said.
BYT: Well he was on this stationary bike… you know, it’s not really important. What were some of the names you were called as a child/still called?
EM: I was mostly called a commie, fag, douche bag and Eug.
BYT: One time I got made fun of for listening to Red Hot Chili Peppers Blood Sugar Sex Magik. This was in like 92. I think I said something like “um, this is like the #1 selling album of the year dude” and he was like “whatever, faggot”. That’s a pretty crappy story, sorry. Anyway, what’s the best joke you ever wrote?
EM: It is too complicated to put here, but it is wonderful!
BYT: Fine. Worst?
EM: There are too many. I write lots of jokes that I never perform because they make no sense. But you can’t sit in front of an empty computer screen, so you have to write crazy stuff down too. Here are a few of my bad/confusing/fun-time non jokes:
“Do you guys remember the actor Harrison Ford? Well, he is stuck in a tree outside. Could someone call the fire department?”
“If I could somehow go back in time, I would go back and punch Truman Capote in the dick. And then I would think to myself, “Well, that wasn’t such a big deal.” (This is years before the movie Capote came out, so it truly wasn’t related to anything at the time.)
“I found out… did you know this? Santa Claus’s first name is Hector.”
BYT: These are exactly the kinds of jokes I find hilarious and my girlfriend does not. Can you tell us one sentence about each of your opening acts – Leo Allen and Larry Murphy?
EM: I may use more than one, but here we go:
Leo Allen (the Allen half of the comedy team Slovin and Allen) is one of the first comics I met in New York. He’s currently writing and executive producing (with Eric Slovin) Demetri Martin’s Comedy Central pilot, and he’s an incredibly funny comedian who is also a very, very good person. On August 24th we are each taping half hour specials for Comedy Central.
Larry Murphy is an old, very funny friend from Boston who just moved to New York. He can do a limitless number of voices, and does almost all the characters on Adult Swim’s Assy McGee, which by the way was created as a joke, and then picked up. An interesting fact about Larry (and this is true) is that the movie “You and Me and Everyone We Know” is based on him.
BYT: I recently read that if you do a blind taste test with two cokes and one pepsi or one coke and two pepsis it’s almost impossible to guess which one doesn’t belong, your thoughts?
EM: That sounds very likely. It was never my intent to hold taste tests, or stand behind their results.
BYT: What was the last movie you cried at?
EM: I don’t know. Big Fish I think.
BYT: Wikipedia says you have opened for The Shins, Modest Mouse, Yo La Tengo, Gogol Bordello and Cake. Who got the most backstage bettys?
EM: No one, really. Sadly, rock and roll is mostly people having beer, scotch, and snacks backstage and talking about life and the government. There is also a lot of laughing and horseplay.
BYT: Did you just start a fake internet rumor involving Yo La Tengo and bestiality?
EM: No. I don’t believe so. “Horseplay” is just an expression. You must know that.
BYT: Eug, c’mon, don’t get all Blonde Redhead on me. Whose audience was most/least into your opening set? I’m gonna guess Gogol Bordello/The Shins.
EM: Each show was sort of different. As long as the fans knew what was coming, they were generally pretty good. It more depends on the room and order of performers, than the fans. They’re more similar than they would like to believe. They all have love in their hearts. And at each show this love can manifest itself as too many drinks and a little shouting.
BYT: Since you were born in Russia my eastern European co-editor Svetlana suggested topics of discussion include booze, overbearing grandparents, food stamps, living behind the iron curtain, Kusturica movies, peasants, and more booze. But I’d rather ask: Has Yakof Shmirnoff, been a big influence on your work?
EM: No. Not really. But it is a good question, since most of my grandparents have passed away, and my grandmother is not too overbearing to me. (Though she would sometimes threaten to kill me if I didn’t eat her pierogies and fried potatoes.) The one thing I will say is that I know Yakov’s catch phrase is “What a country!” but I don’t know if it refers to Russia or America. I look forward to finding out.
BYT: I’ll keep the mystery alive for you. Any medical advice you’re ignoring?
EM: Once a doctor told me that it seemed very scary to do standup comedy. I don’t think he was telling me to stop, but he did say he would personally never do it. I am also slowly eating a helicopter (I know someone already did that over a period of two years, but I have always wanted to tie a world record).
BYT: Remember that old show Viva Variety where Michael Ian Black played Johnny Bluejeans?
BYT: Oh that Michael Ian Black, what a card! According to imdb.com your “STARmeter” has risen 10% since last week! I don’t really know what that means but it sounds good, congradulations!
EM: Thank you very much. I don’t know what that means either. I hope it gets me cash, sweet action and powerful friends.