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Eugene Mirman

Eugene Mirman

By Cameron Reed

Friday February 9, 2007

The Second Modern Comedian

We were sitting here at the Only office listening to Shame-Based Man, the brilliant first comedy album from Canada’s 46-year old boy-next-door, Bruce McCulloch and I just remembered how much I love to laugh. And then in a completely separate thought I remembered I had an interview that never got published with Eugene Mirman from the 2006 Vancouver Comedy Festival. His comedy albums are pretty good too.

ONLY: First time on the west coast of Canada. Any expectations? Hopes? Fears?

Eugene: I’m excited to come to Vancouver. I’ve heard great things. I try not to have any expectations, like a Buddhist, sex worker, or second-class citizen (of which Canada only has 5!), but I look forward to learning about your rich history. In terms of hopes and fears – they are the same – I am excited and afraid that Vancouver is home to a magic vagina that can turn back time.

ONLY: You use video a lot for your comedy. Do you see this as a trend for comedians as a new medium?

E: Yes. But I am not alone. Everyone in the world thinks this (except those without access to clean water or grains, they don’t know that broadband is revolutionizing entertainment).

ONLY: Myspace is presenting your night at the Vancouver Comedy fest. What’s with that?

E: The Internet and MySpace (an internet within the internet!) have made it possible for musicians, comedians, artists, actors, etc, to get their work out without having to go through traditional media outlets – i.e. radio, television, major films, etc. As a result, many terrible people believe they are one “add” away from making it. However, many great artists have been discovered through MySpace and the Internet, and built careers from it. Do I fear giant companies? Sure. Do I think they are helpful? Yes. Do they violate anti-trust laws? We’ll find out. I’m sure if MySpace becomes dangerous to the world economy, it will simply get broken up into MySpace 1 and MySpace 2 and we’ll all be safe.

ONLY: You sure like bears.

E: I love a good animal, or anthropomorphized animal, joke. I’m not just about bears – I also like wolves and horses. And I’m getting into cats. I like jokes based on meat and potatoes animals. No zebra jokes for me. Good old bear, horse, maybe cow and wolf jokes.

ONLY: What do you think of the term ‘alternative’ when tagged to comedians?

E: I don’t care either way really. I think it came from two places – 1) from comedy being performed in spaces that are alternatives to comedy clubs, and 2) like “alternative music,” first referred to an alternative to mainstream and now vaguely refers to a genre or a style. There are lots of “alternative” comics who are in movies or sitcoms and have had huge success in the mainstream. Maybe in a few years the term will change to “modern,” like it did with rock. And I will be known as a “modern” comedian. Maybe I can even be the second modern comedian? That sounds nice. Let’s do that. And a “modern comic” can be a “Modmic.” Better? Yes. Long live ModCom (plus it sounds a little like dot com, and that will be attractive to investors).

ONLY: Current fixations?

E: I have often been fixated on many of the same things – BBQs, finding new soups, backgammon, Sci-Fi and getting mad at companies that are smugly crappy to customers. Recently, I went to a spy museum in Washington, DC and had a great time. So I kind want a jacket or glove with lots of gadgets. In terms of music, Wolf Parade, The Hidden Cameras, The Essex Green, Office, Alina Simone, Joy and I have been listening to lots of Jethro Tull (particularly the album Benefit). I am a sucker for someone using mandolins and flutes to convey their anger at society.

Eugene Mirman has two comedy album’s out now at your local music/comedy retailer.