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.
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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.
I listened to your album last night, and it was great. Where’d you get the idea to make one? Not sure I can think of many double-albums in comedy, let alone nine.
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 read that the album’s featured “45 minutes of crying” is a real recording of you crying on a porch in Cape Cod. Is that true?
That is very accurate. I lived there for part of a year, but this was not at my house. It’s the house where I got married. That [recording] was also kind of the first thing I made where I was like, “Oh, I could do this album.” I really wanted to have a sticker on my album that said “Featuring over 45 minutes of crying,” [so I knew] to have that sticker, I’d actually have to cry for 45 minutes.
I don’t think I’ve cried in earnest for 45 minutes straight about anything.
[Laughs] Anything for art.
In your Reddit AMA, you mention that a storyline from “Home Movies” — in which Coach McGuirk is pranked by a camper who pees in his canteen — was inspired by something that happened to you at summer camp in New Hampshire. What happened there?
I think at camp someone had peed in my canteen, and then I think they washed it. It was a tough time for immigrants back in the '80s. [laughs]
I know you made your own major for a B.A. in comedy when attending Hampshire College. What’s your take on Emerson offering that as a major this school year?
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.
Do you think it had a major impact on your career? Would you have become a comedian without that educational background yourself?
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.
I’m kind of sorry to ask this, but in your Reddit AMA you also mention pooping your pants as a child while shopping with your parents in a Woburn Service Merchandise. Is that true?
[Laughs] Yes, yes, in Woburn. I was heading to the bathroom at the time.
I don’t mean to dredge up all of these traumatic childhood experiences.
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.
Bob’s Burgers returns to FOX this Sunday at 7:30 p.m.