Brooklyn resident Eugene Mirman escaped the clutches of Russian communism at the age of four when his family immigrated from Moscow to Lexington, MA (where along with Paul Revere and John Adams he kicked off the American revolution). He attended Hampshire College and designed his own major of Comedy — doing a one-hour standup act as his thesis, for which he was made fun of, don’t worry.
Before he was the voice of “Gene” on Fox’s newest hit animated series Bob’s Burgers, Mirman spent a few post-grad years in Western Mass. He'll be returning to Northampton on November 30th and judging by his website, he's excited about it;
I can’t wait to return to Western Mass and joke around about Thornes Market, the PVTA and Bart’s Ice Cream (where I used to work! — the one in Northampton (not Amherst) — that’s now Pizzaria Sam’s — that’s probably not what it’s called, but that’s what I decided to call it based on Google street view.
Paradise City Press caught up with Eugene to chat about his homecoming.
PCP: So, Bob’s Burger’s just got picked up for a fifth season, which is an impressive feat for any show on air. That must be a good feeling.
EM: Yes. It is very exciting. Since it easily could’ve not lasted that long.
PCP: Are you still having fun doing the show? You have lots of friends in comedy on the show, it’s almost like a big party.
EM: The show is very fun to do because it’s all friends. Loren [Bouchard], who created it, is someone I’ve known for a long time and the writers are great. It’s just very fun to do.
PCP: I saw you in Turners Falls, MA last year and you had Kurt Braunohler and H. Jon Benjamin with you. You’re going to be in Northampton soon with Kurt. What is your live show looking like? What should people expect?
EM: They could expect stand-up comedy. That’s the first thing I recommend them expecting. Mostly it’ll be jokes they haven’t heard before, it’s what I try to do when I tour. But I won’t say “you should expect jokes about cars and definitely expect a joke about a movie theater.” They should mostly expect the art of stand-up comedy.
PCP: That’s a pretty reasonable expectation to have. I got to talk to John Hodgman a little while back and we talked about comedians that mostly do in the moment stand-up as opposed to rehearsed material. Are you sort of a mix of that?
EM: Yeah, I’ll probably do both. Northampton, where I lived for awhile in the area and went to school, is where I’ll do more things that are off the cuff but a lot of it will be more prepared.
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I mean, if you want to form a jam band, there’s probably no better place than Northampton. There’s probably avant garde bands around too. If you want to form either of those types of bands, Northampton is one of the places to develop. Unless it’s the 80’s, then you could form a kick-ass alternative rock band.
PCP: Let’s talk about this area and your connection here. You’re from Eastern Massachusetts and you eventually made your way over to Western Massachusetts?
EM: I grew up outside Boston in Lexington and went to Hampshire College [in Amherst.] I lived in Northampton on the corner of Church and State as well as a few other places, downtown Amherst for a Summer. But my girlfriend is from there so I’m gonna be there around Thanksgiving. I go there often.
PCP: Northampton is known for a pretty good, original music scene. Do you feel like it’s a place that cultivates comedy?
EM: I don't know. Anywhere is good to develop, and then you have to leave and go to New York or LA if you want to be a comedian full time. I did comedy in Western Mass for awhile, then moved to Boston until I realized there wasn’t really enough work to stay there, which is true about lots of fields in lots of different parts of the country. I think developing anywhere that isn’t New York or LA is probably great. For music, I don't know. I mean, if you want to form a jam band, there’s probably no better place than Northampton. There’s probably avant garde bands around too. If you want to form either of those types of bands, Northampton is one of the places to develop. Unless it’s the 80’s, then you could form a kick-ass alternative rock band.
PCP: If one wanted to do that.
PCP: You’re one hour special is out, it’s on DVD now. Tell me about that.
EM: Mostly it’s stand-up but, I got to include a little highlight reel from my Comedy Central pilot. A lot of times when you make a pilot, it just disappears. You’ve spent all this time making it and no one gets to see it. I made the special with Comedy Central as well so, I was excited they let me put that on here.
PCP: Is there anything else we should talk about?
EM: Mostly I just wanted to talk about how great the Pioneer Valley is, that I’ll be there on November 30th, and I’m on television. Those are the main bullet points.