Features, Print August 1, 2018

Eugene Mirman Has A Voice For Comedy

by Jed Murphy

Eugene Mirman has a voice for comedy. Speaking with him over the phone for this interview with BandWagon Magazine ahead of his performance at Washington’s in Ft. Collins on August 7, it was almost hard to believe the man on the other end was responsible for so many beloved comedy characters (most notably Gene from Bob’s Burgers) but there he was. After a few minutes of back and forth with the comedian, it became clear how this sharp and experienced Massachusetts native has become one of the most well-liked names in the business.

As a stand-up comedian he’s done his rounds touring and landing roles in TV and film as well as numerous stand-up specials, but it was a little animated show called Bob’s Burgers in 2011 that put him in the average American’s household on a regular basis. Voicing the character Gene Belcher, Mirman has seen the show change in its incredible eight season lifespan but only for the better.

“I think everyone has gotten to know each other and the characters much, much better. We record, then it airs nine, twelve months later and I wouldn’t really be able to tell you if a line was improvised or written or how it came to be. In the early days it would be easier to tell. I think a lot of it is because we’ve come to know the characters and the world,” says Mirman during our phone interview. Looking to the future of the show, after being renewed for a ninth season and a greenlit for a full-length feature film, Mirman doesn’t see the show ending any time soon. If he had his way, he would do it forever.

Another project that has a special place in Mirman’s heart is the podcast/TV show called StarTalk, hosted by the renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson where he brings in celebrities and people who work in various scientific fields to discuss the ins and outs of the sciences.

“I love science and information. I was a terrible student in high school and didn’t do much science in college but I adore doing StarTalk and Neil (deGrasse Tyson). The guests he has on are amazing science communicators and are amazing at explaining very complicated things in a very easy-to-understand way. StarTalk is one of my favorite things to get to do,” says Mirman. Since doing the show, Mirman states meeting the Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin as one of the more memorable moments, as well as learning from some of best scientific minds while telling jokes with his comic friends.

One of his favorite pieces of information he picked up on the show was about the discovery of alien life. “There was an episode we did in San Francisco where we talked about the actual practical search for alien life and the probability of how it could work. It involves us sending radio waves and trying to receive radio waves at a certain speed and that technology is getting better and better. Probably in the ballpark of thirty to fifty years from now, there’s a chance we could receive a radio wave back from a civilization about as advanced as us. Obviously, who knows – but the fact there is science behind it to make sense was interesting.”

On his downtime, Mirman finds himself listening to music that leans towards the classic country soul vibe like Swamp Dogg, Merle Haggard, and Robyn Hitchcock. “I don’t think anyone will discover any new music through me. Or, they’ll discover something they would’ve liked in 1965 … I’m in my forties,” he says with a laugh. 

Recently becoming a father, Mirman is not traveling as much as he once did, but he still likes to get on the road when he can to see friends and explore new cities. Looking forward to his Ft. Collins show, his simple message to the people there is: “Come out and have a nice time.” Now imagine he improvised that line as Gene from Bob’s Burgers. Funny, right? We think so too.