By Vish KhannaEugene Mirman lives in New York City and is one of the funniest comedians of our times. He's renowned for two ingenious comedy records, entitled The Absurd Nightclub Comedy of Eugene Mirman and En Garde, Society! and has been a key supporter of his contemporaries with events like Invite Them Up! and the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival. So yeah, he's basically the most unselfish person ever. He's appeared on television numerous times, including a recurring role on Flight of the Conchords, as the landlord, Eugene, and earlier this year, he released a hilariously unhelpful self-help book entitled, The Will to Whatevs ― A Guide to Modern Life. His brand new comedy record is entitled, God is a Twelve-Year-Old Boy with Asperger's and we recently caught up with him to discuss all of this. All of it.
Eugene, I've interviewed you several times now. What would you say is the most memorable highlight from our conversations to date? Well, all of it is very, very memorable. I have notes on all of our interviews.
Okay, and? What comes to mind when you think of Vish and being interviewed by him? I believe that I did three interviews about my book. I was the "book of the month" for a different thing…
Yeah, that was for one of my radio shows, a totally different thing. I know but it's with you so, to me, it's of negligible difference that you were broadcasting those to totally different people.
Right. It would be unfair of you to say, "Of my different career choices, which is your most memorable?" But congratulations for controlling independent music and comedy listenership and readership in Canada (laughs).
I appreciate that very much. So, you don't really remember anything specific per se, except that we've spoken a bunch of times. Well, I mean, I guess that's one way of looking at it. But another way of looking at it is that I remember that we've spoken a bunch of times. It would be weird if I remembered that we talked about my favourite bands and what I had to eat that day.
You do a lot of press; what is the most memorable thing that's ever happened to you during an interview? Does something stick out to you? Um…no. I mean nothing overly exciting. There were fun things, like I went to Boston and spent the day at the Boston Globe and saw some of my friends and that was a fun day. But it's not like somebody ever asked a question and I was like, "Wow." I mean people have asked good questions but not ones that made me write it down, and go like, "One day, I will tell a reporter about this other reporter."
In general, are you a fan of questions? I'm a fan of questions.
You enjoy people who are curious about things and make inquiries? Yes, oh yeah, in general absolutely, yes.
And you yourself; do you like answering questions? It just depends. I think that certain things I'm more tired of discussing and other things I'm more than happy to discuss.
Okay, well I appreciate that. Let's talk about this new record of yours, God is a Twelve-Year-Old Boy with Asperger's. The title comes from a very funny anecdote about your recent Will to Whatevs book tour but it is, I suppose, a tad provocative. Did you encounter any resistance about the title from your record label Sub Pop or anyone else? No. I've heard people think that people might be offended but I don't know that I've actually heard people be offended. Also strangely, it's people who are hesitant with the use of Asperger's, as opposed to religious people being upset that I'm referring to God as a child with Asperger's.
It's a loaded title in either case I suppose. The thing is, I don't think it's in any way offensive… first of all, if you listen to the story, it's simply an anecdote. So, in that sense, I'm simply recounting something and I guess if you're religious, you could potentially be offended if you wanted to be. But then, y'know, you could be offended by whatever.
Just so people who are reading understand; there are other things on the record to be offended by. Yes, people have the opportunity to get upset three or four times (laughs)!
This is maybe the least of what might be upsetting. Oh maybe. I guess that didn't occur to me (laughs).
I'm really trying to help you sell this record. Yeah, yeah, you have to listen to this. It's possibly the most dangerous record released today. Tomorrow even.
Were there alternate titles? Yeah, I mean in general I make a list of lots of titles and that was the one that seemed both to be the most interesting and the most fitting, I guess.
Do you recall what any of the alternates were? I'm just curious. I think every year I consider calling it Aerosmith's Greatest Hits. Or like, Aerosmith's Greatest Hits 2000 or something weird. Yeah. I also always consider calling it Negativland.