Friday, February 1, 2013

Eugene Mirman's "An Evening of Comedy in a Fake Underground Laboratory"

As you browse through album listings at [insert your music purveyor of choice here], you will find an invitation to spend a lot of “evenings with” or “evenings of.” Doing an Amazon search for “An evening of” returns more than 4500 results. That’s a lot of evenings and a lot of people to spend them with. For what it’s worth, I highly recommend foregoing all (or most of) your other options and going with Eugene Mirman and “An Evening of Comedy in a Fake Underground Laboratory.” 

The title alone should let you know what kind of time you’re in for, especially if you’re unfamiliar with Mirman’s work as a stand-up (and if that’s the case, you’ve been depriving yourself of some of the best comedy you’re unfamiliar with). Unconventional, off-the-wall, and completely random, Mirman’s comedy comes at you from all directions and you’d find yourself asking over and over “Where did that come from?” if you weren’t so busy laughing.

Even the track listing on this CD/DVD combo brings a few chuckles and perfectly captures Mirman’s “Hey, by the way” style of comedy. “I Fell Down in London! Oh, and Bought a Plane” may very well be one of the coolest track titles to pop up on your iPod and the track itself, as Mirman returns a cell phone and is forced to give a reason why, is the perfect example of Mirman being his Mirman-iest. He finds himself in a random run-of-the-mill scenario and decides to have fun with it. 

That’s one of the things I love most about Mirman and his approach not only to comedy, but to life. There are so many opportunities out there for great comedy if only we would expend a little energy and creativity. Fortunately for us, Mirman has brought with him some visual aids to serve as an example (Yes, I know what you're thinking, but visual aids on an audio project don't detract from the experience, that's how good he is at what he does).  He signed up to join a Tea Party website and created some of his own slogans to share with the community  (“If Jesus didn’t want a revolution, then why’d he give me all this tea?”) and his banishment from Christian Mingle for having the best dating site “About Me” section was totally worth it. 

To say that Mirman has a knack for social commentary is a severe understatement. His reactions and responses to Facebook ads, abortion billboards, and questions from the audience are so brilliant in their unexpectedness and spontaneity, I would love to hang out with him for a day in Manhattan just to watch and hear him react to the world around us. 

Mirman loves to keep himself busy, finding new and clever ways to stay occupied by entertaining others - and himself. He does so by leaving random notes on bar napkins, creating signs for workplace bathrooms, coming up with ideas for books to be sold at Urban Outfitters, and purchasing full-page ad space in New York newspapers in which to post letters to Time-Warner cable. The latter is a sincere and completely-valid grievance cleverly disguised as a hilarious piece of written material that not only exposes cable companies for the horrible non-customer service-focused entities they are (Are you listening, Comcast/Xfinity?), but also includes an amazing list of plagues Mirman hopes strikes their corporate office.    

He also dabbles in the combination of comedy and theremin.

This project is a great example of what happens when you let someone who doesn’t appear to have a learning disability (and has the paper work to prove it) do their thing.

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