An Interview With Eugene Mirman, Volume 2

Eugene Mirman Sub Pop
The comedian Eugene Mirman describes himself as America's "Master of the Noticing." Shawn Brackbill

Eugene Mirman is a comedian who lives in Brooklyn, best known for his avant-garde stand-up, a supporting role as the adventure-obsessed Gene on Bob's Burgers, and as Bret and Jemaine's landlord on HBO's beloved Flight of the Conchords.

His third comedy album, I'm Sorry (You're Welcome), is an absurd nine-volume, seven-LP opus ranging from "A Guided Meditation to a Thoughtful Body" to an "Introduction to Spoken Russian" to "Over 45 Minutes of Crying," which features him—you guessed it—crying for over 45 minutes.

As such, Mirman's interview with Newsweek will come in nine volumes leading up to the album's release date, October 30. Here is Volume 2, entitled "Questions I Ask Everyone."

What's your go-to karaoke song?
I mean, I'll say it's "Edge of Glory" by Lady Gaga.

I would not have guessed that. Why "Edge of Glory?"
The place I first heard it was the place I was just talking about [Governor Bradford, on Cape Cod] and I was like, that's a catchy song! And also "500 Miles" by the Proclaimers. And I can't sing of "Edge of Glory." And I don't know how good I am even at the chorus! But I always sign up like several people. I don't ever do karaoke alone, because I'm great at adding stuff. But I can't do the main underlying vocal.

Some people who are the best at karaoke can't really sing, though.
Yes. But when you see someone do a very good job singing, it's like, "I wish I could do that."

Are you good at keeping secrets?
Yeah. I would say when people are like, "Hey, don't tell anybody," I don't tell anybody.

Have you ever been in a fight?
Yeah. A very long time ago, meaning in 10th grade. A person that at the time I'm sure would be described as a jock, because he was on the football team and much bigger than me. I can't remember, I was a nerd except for with terrible grades and was in special ed. He pushed me almost into traffic, but I was fine. And I was in a fight once in eighth grade and we got suspended. But that kid apologized to me at a high school reunion.

Really!
Yeah. He was like, "Sorry about that time." I think he apologized in general for picking on me, but what I mostly remembered that fight. But I'm sure he was terrible. Now he's a very nice man, probably 41, just like everyone I went to high school with.

Do you have any recurring dreams?
I probably have a moderate amount of dreams where I'm like…they're not recurring, but there's a theme. Like being in a tree house, then being like, "How did I get up here?" Then flying and slightly falling, and I'm kind of fine. There's a lot of combinations of like…being able to fly followed by "Uh oh, I can't fly!"

Weird!
As weird as probably someone who's somewhere between practical and anxious.

Is the tree house a recurring motif?
When I say tree house I mean if it existed in the real world, I don't know if anyone would go that's a tree house. You'd be like, "two-by-fours leading to a thing that in a dream is a tree house." But there could be nine trees, and you think it's a jungle.

Who would you challenge to a duel?
Can it be no one?

No. It has to be someone. It can be me.
A duel with swords or a duel with guns? Sorry. A duel that ends in somebody dying?

Not necessarily. But I had an addendum to this question that said Russian roulette.
So you mean, who do I think is bad enough that it would be better if they were possibly dead?

I didn't read too much into it that way.…
I'm glad I took your thinking of like, "Who would I have a fun duel with?" And I'm like, "Someone I dislike so much that if they were dead, it would be worth it." And you're like, "No who would be fun to have a sword fight with?"

No one has to die here. We can say plastic swords?
If it's plastic swords, I'd probably pick a buddy. And if it was like real swords, I'd pick an enemy.

So who would you have a real sword fight with?
Um…I don't know. When it goes to real swords, I don't think I'm mad at anyone that I would like to die. And if it's fake swords, I bet it'd be fun to fake duel with Jon Benjamin.

Do you have a patented cure for a broken heart?
I think it'd be a version of momentary deep sadness followed by like, starting over? It'd be like go out with friends, try and do a thing. I'm very results oriented so I would be like, "Feel bad for a while then cut it out!"

But it's also hard. If you're heartbroken and you had a thing you thought would be really great and failed, that's pretty terrible. But it happens. A lot.

Finally what do you think is in Marcellus Wallace's suitcase in Pulp Fiction?
I can't remember. Does it glow?

It glows.
Then something that glows. It would be funny if I said, "Something incandescent," and you were like, "What about figuratively?" What is it meant to be in the movie?

I don't know. You just see the glow on people's faces and not what's actually in the suitcase.
Then I would say cold fusion.

Check out Volume 1 of Newsweek's interview with Eugene Mirman.