Interview with Eugene Mirman: Rumors That Bears Spread

Whether he is voicing Gene on Fox’s hilarious animated series Bob’s Burgers, playing a role in an absurdist live action show like Delocated or Flight Of The Conchords, serving as Neil deGrasse Tyson’s comic foil on the Star Talk radio show, on stage at a comedy club warning audiences of deceitful bears or ruling Brooklyn as its ubiquitous hipster king, you can be sure that Eugene Mirman is having fun, whatever he’s doing.

But as busy as Mirman is in other facets of the entertainment industry, he’s still a hardworking stand-up comedian. On Friday, Dec. 14, his first hour-long special, An Evening Of Comedy In A Fake Underground Laboratory, will premiere on Comedy Central. Eugene plans to celebrate the event with a free screening party at Bell House in Gowanus, Brooklyn. The event will be a great opportunity to hang out with Eugene and watch the special with likeminded fans of comedy.

“Really I’m just [having the party] so my friends have a place to come hang out and celebrate,” he says. “It’s going to be like a very, very tiny wedding, just a fun celebration.”

Mirman admits he’s really not sure what to expect from the crowd or even if he should plan anything special the day of the show. “You mean like pick a building and blow it up?” he cracks. “No, well, I’ve never had an hour-long special before. I imagine I’ll do a lot of interviews and plugging of the special over Twitter. I don’t really know what people do the day their special comes out. I have always enjoyed dividing my time. I always have a show to get ready for. I’m always writing.”

Mirman says that after the release of Fake Underground Laboratory, he plans to begin writing another hour of material. His other obligations and burgeoning acting career will not keep him offstage for long.

With Bob’s Burgers, Delocated and his weekly live shows, Mirman is as busy as he’s ever been. He even reveals that he’s been working on a pilot for a Comedy Central series.

“My career is a lot all at once,” he explains. “I’m one of a handful of Americans who are on television the exact amount that makes people in supermarkets think they remember me from their childhood.”

Mirman says the transition from the stage to the screen came fairly naturally, thanks in part to taking it just a step at a time. “I don’t do a ton of acting—well, maybe if you count voice acting,” he muses. “The thing about it is all the shows I’m on are collaborations with friends. It’s not so radically different from hanging out with them at a comedy club. I’ve had the good fortune of working in very comfortable environments with people I know… It’s not like I was all of the sudden cast into a starring role in a feature film. That would have been more difficult.”

According to Mirman, voice acting is unusual altogether, particularly in the case of Bob’s Burgers. “It’s fun. I can tell you that. But Bob’s Burgers records differently—or I believe it to be different—from other animated shows. We record together, all in the same room. We do [each episode] throughout an entire day together. We get to improvise a bunch, but the writers are there. We do go by the script, but we can also try a lot of ideas out. The writers pick what works best in the end and they animate it afterwards.”

Mirman also lends his unique humor to the world of astrophysics as co-host of the popular Star Talk radio show, alongside world-renowned physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. Though he is interested in the how the universe came to be, Mirman acknowledges that he has no background in physics and that he was actually in special education from sixth through 12th grade. He barely got into college, where he majored in comedy.

“I am very interested in physics, but I think they were just looking for a comedic person to work with Neil,” Mirman says of his inclusion in the venture. “One of the show’s producers came up to me after a show and mentioned the idea for Star Talk. After that, I was introduced to Neil one day and we talked in his office for about three hours about a lot of things. At the end of the three hours or so, we recorded a 30-minute sample episode, a test run, and then we started doing Star Talk.”

Mirman has also been working on ideas for a new book. In 2009, he published his first book, a mock self-help book titled The Will To Whatevs. In it, Mirman provides inane tips on subjects like “What’s The Haps With Sexual Harassment,” “Becoming Ultra-Popular In High School,” “How To Nab A Husband” and more problems that few authors had the knowledge to tackle before or the necessity to explore since the book hit shelves.

“It was several years of writing and it was really fun,” he says. “It takes a long time to publish a book, so I would keep going back and rereading [the manuscript] and if something still made me laugh, I’d leave it in. I think one of the best things about writing a comedic book is giving it time. Once you’ve written, you can give the material space and come back with fresh eyes. If you still like it, it’s good. I can’t wait to start writing again.”


Eugene Mirman’s Comedy Central Special airs Friday, Dec. 14, at midnight. You can celebrate with him the night of the show at Bell House in Brooklyn. For more information, follow Eugene on Twitter @EugeneMirman or go to