Friday, October 3, 2008

Eugene Mirman

Words by Timmy Yayo
Photos by Colin Michael Simmons

In a time when popular comics consistently pander to the lowest common denominator, it becomes evident that comedy needs some new life. Enter 33-year-old Russian immigrant and current Brooklynite, Eugene Mirman. Having cut his teeth on the stand-up circuit for years, he eventually landed a contract with Sub-Pop Records alongside fellow Comedian of Comedy, David Cross. Bucking the night club tradition most comics adhere to, Mirman has made a name for himself opening for rock acts such as Modest Mouse and Cake. His ridiculous videos online have cemented his position as a poster boy for web comedy and made him the face of where he posts his ludicrous rants. A true comedy renaissance man, Mirman is featured on HBO’s Flight of the Conchords, as well as Home Movies and Lucy, Daughter of the Devil on Adult Swim. Amidst a sea of frat-boy douchbag comics, Mirman has forged a unique identity, all the while building a solid case for an insanity plea if he ever happens to catch a charge.

Is it difficult opening for bands when the crowd may not be familiar with your act?
Yes. It can be really fun ’cause you can find a totally new audience, but it’s also like a completely different level of effort and work to perform before bands when people aren’t necessarily expecting you.

How did you get involved with Flight of the Conchords? I met them years ago in New York. They brought me in and the character’s name is the same as my name but I had to audition for the role of Eugene which is funny because I had only one line. Once I auditioned for something that the character was described as a “Eugene Mirman-type” and I did not get it. In fact they didn’t even look at me for months. At some point I heard about it and then they brought me in and I was like, “What do you mean by this?” They didn’t really know.

You’ve held protests against yourself in the past, does Eugene Mirman need to be stopped? He used to need to be stopped, but now it’s not possible.

So what’s next now that nothing’s standing in your way? I’m writing a book now that’s like a fake guide for modern life. One of the next things I might do is a documentary of going to Russia for the first time. That’ll be both very exciting and sort of scary for me. I’ve never been back since I came here because I’m told it’s dangerous… and spooky.

It’s clear that you are wise in the ways of women and the horrors of marijuana, any expert advice you can give me?
Don’t smoke pot with women [laughs]…I don’t know, treat them fair. Be stern, but loving.
The funny thing is I actually don’t really smoke pot but everybody thinks that I’m high when I make everything. I’ll get e-mails that are like, “Wow, you must have been so high…” when actually it was like, 2PM and I’m just weird. That’s the story, I’m just weird. This would be the perfect time for me to have thought of a saying. You know, like, “This is the motto I live by.” Maybe, A glass of whiskey after work makes you fucktastic. Is that a good motto?

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