Eugene Mirman’s annual comedy festival returns to the city this weekend, with a series of shows at the Brattle and Shubert theaters. Guests this year include a strong “Daily Show” contingent (such as rising star Jessica Williams), as well as a few other faces you’ll likely recognize. We got the scoop from Mirman about what to expect from this year’s “Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival.”
How do you decide who to invite to the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival?
It’s largely just people who we’re friends with and love doing shows with. Virtually everyone on the bill fits that description. But you know, people who are fun to be with and are a pleasure to perform with. And also people who it’s fun to have come to Boston.
Anyone you’re really excited about this year?
I’m sort of excited about everybody. Maeve Higgins is a comic from Ireland that moved to Brooklyn not long ago and she’s coming and that’s really fun. Jon Glaser and Jon Benjamin are always really funny. Todd Barry. Jon Hodgman. We’re celebrating Wyatt Cenac’s birthday, that’ll be really fun.
You mean during “Wyatt Cenac’s 39th Surprise Birthday Party Comedy Show”?
Yeah, it was his idea to add the word surprise. We wanted to make it a birthday party for him and he was like, you should add surprise. And we were like, that’s really funny. It’ll be his birthday either that day or the next day.
You’ll be doing some new material. Any hints about what we might see?
That’s such a funny question about standup where people always say that. It would be funny if I went like, well, I’m going to start with a story about a supermarket, and then go right into something else that happened.
If you could just list out your whole act for me right now, that would be great.
It’s just sort of funny. I’m going to probably, without being dramatic, mention something that happened involving sea salts and the Milwaukee Public Market. Does that give you an idea of where the standup’s going?
Yes, it’s all very clear now.
See? That’s why I always think it’s funny. I’m going to say two things I noticed about marriage, and then I’m going to segue right into a story about sea salt.
You’re from Lexington. Do you notice a difference in the comedy scene here in Boston?
Everywhere is different from LA and New York because those are two hubs of comedy. But I like coming to Boston because I’m from Boston, and I get to see friends and family. And Jon Benjamin spent a lot of time in Boston. Hodgman is from Brookline. Maeve is from Ireland, so that’s like the original Boston, so she’ll feel at home.
If you could sum up, why should people go to this comedy festival?
Our festival one, is family-owned. It’s organic. It’s super fun. We do a lot of fun things. We have an eye contact booth. We’ve had a bouncy castle with a therapist inside before where you can go and bounce and get advice and have a helpful ear. I mean, our festival is mostly just a fun dumb thing that a bunch of friends do, each one of which has a television show.
Just like everybody’s friends!
Our festival has Councilman Jamm [Glaser, on "Parks and Recreation"] and Archer [Jon Benjamin], and the power comedy of Todd Barry.
OK, that sounds pretty fun. Good job selling it.
Yeah. I’d like people to attend.
That’s a good goal.
If you don’t go to this comedy festival, you will have made a terrible mistake.
Uh oh, that sounds ominous.
No, no, I don’t mean like you’ll be in danger. I mean like you’ll have lost out on an experience that can change the direction of your artistic life.
Now it’s as if you’ll follow your painting dreams. I don’t know, all festivals are pretty good, but ours is fun and silly.