Comedian/actor Eugene Mirman is a bit of a legend around these here parts — and not just because he's funny.
The Russian-born Lexington native took out a full-page ad in a local publication after receiving a $15 parking ticket in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 2015. The very public declaration of disapproval to the town, and "specifically" the parking clerk's office, signed "With Great Disappointment In You" subsequently went viral — but don't worry, he paid the ticket.
But the rest of his year was pretty sweet as well. His Netflix special ("Vegan on His Way to the Complain Store") debuted in July, he reprised the voice of Gene Belcher on the sixth season of "Bob’s Burgers" on Fox, and dropped a strange, nine-disc experimental comedy album, “I’m Sorry (You’re Welcome)” in October.
With "Bob's Burgers"'s mid-season premiere Sunday night, we sat down with the voice behind the Belcher's middle child to talk about his new album, his years at Hampshire College and that time someone peed in his canteen at summer camp.
It started as a joke, where I was going to make a 100-disc album, and at some point I realized I could still make a ridiculous, but much smaller, nine-disc album. Basically, [it] started as a joke for years… I thought I could do a real version. I worked with two friends I had known for a very long time, Matt Savage and Christian Cundari.
I think it’s great. It’s funny, I think, because comedy can seem more ephemeral or something; people think of it as you’re learning how to be funny. When you're studying comedy, you’re probably studying the process of ways to be funny — trial and error, learning how to write scripts, form jokes — and I think that, in the same way you’d learn writing or photography or anything else that seems more like a talent than a craft, often isn’t. It’s very craft- and work-based.
I think it’s a somewhat impossible question to answer. The process of Hampshire — where you design your own major — I thought was very helpful because, to create a major at Hampshire is very similar to the process of becoming a comedian. There’s no formula. It’s not like going to medical school and you do this and this and this. The process of majoring in comedy at Hampshire was really helpful in trying to figure out how to be a comedian. I also know a lot of comedians who didn’t do that or go to college, either.
[Laughs] Yes, yes, in Woburn. I was heading to the bathroom at the time.
I know! You're like, “Let’s go through a tour of weird experiences in New England.” It’d be great if I just said, “That didn’t happen; it’s just a thing I say," but I am sure I have at least one story about every old Boston-area department store. Maybe not Lechmere.