An Interview With Eugene Mirman, Volume 8

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

Eugene Mirman, a comedian who lives in New York's Brooklyn, is 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.

Mirman's third comedy album, I'm Sorry (You're Welcome), is a nine-volume, seven-LP absurd 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 8, titled "The Gene Pool."

A genie grants you three wishes. About anything. But the problem is, after the three wishes are over, you die. What are your three wishes? You can't wish to not die.
And it can't be, like, "I want 100 years to live!"—any version of it?

But it could be "I would like a 250-mile sandwich that I have to finish"?

That is quite a loophole, but sure.
So I would have two regular-ish wishes. So I guess they could be, like, fly—a magicky thing. If it was a little more grounded, it would probably be, like, "I wish for a home on the water where I have, like, a lovely outdoor kitchen."

In Cape Cod?
Yeah. Then the third one would be loophole-based. I wish there was, you know, some amount of... I'd probably pick, like, Hunan lamb, or something that's really delicious, some amount of it that would not rot that would basically last 50 to 100 years but would have an end point and not be indefinite. So yeah. One would be, like, slightly magic-based. The other would be "I wish I had an awesome water-based compound that would not flood as the oceans rise." So it'd be on a bit of a hill. Then some amount of food that I would eat for about 50 to 100 years. But it's fine, because I wouldn't have to eat it every day.

So would it be a sandwich?
I said sandwich, but then I realized it doesn't have to be a sandwich. It might be, like, a spicy Hunan lamb, which I really love.

Makes sense.
Thank you for saying that makes sense! I like to take all hypotheticals literally.

Unrelated, but have you learned anything about yourself through playing Gene on Bob's Burgers?
I think I've noticed the importance of warmth and positivity to me, as a person and to the character. I love how the family in Bob's Burgers is very earnest to each other and themselves, and they tease each other but there's a warmth that really comes through. With Gene specifically, the amount that he's a very earnest goofball who's comfortable being weird, and it's fine. And he's kind of gender-oblivious—that kind of thing is great.

Bob's Burgers is a welcoming show in that way.
A lot of people ask if Gene is a gay character, and I don't think there's an answer to that. Even though he's had a girlfriend...he's 11. I think, first of all, it'd be up to [showrunner] Loren [Bouchard] and the writers to decide that. But he doesn't care about gender tradition. He's just happy to do a thing that makes him happy, and that doesn't make him specifically anything—he's just a very positive, warm character. Ultimately, the thing I've learned is my appreciation of oddball optimism.

Check out Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, Volume 4, Volume 5, Volume 6 and Volume 7 of Newsweek's interview with Mirman.