Eugene Mirman

An Evening of Comedy in a Fake Underground Laboratory

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Laying off the shock value a bit, standup comedian Eugene Mirman comes off as a quirky and clever bundle of mirth on his 2013 standup album, the aptly titled An Evening of Comedy in a Fake Underground Laboratory. Maybe it's because he's joined the Fox television family with his voice work on Bob's Burgers, or maybe it's appreciation for the solid fan base that's grown and followed his indie and idiosyncratic style of comedy wherever it may lead, but things that were mean weird are now nice weird, unless you're a member of the Tea Party, the button-up set, or the head chef at Sbarro (Mirman's proposed slogan for the pizza chain: "Hungry? Stop by Sbarro. Great Italian food, if you're a raccoon!"). In other words, if you're not in on the joke, prepared to be rankled, but Mirman's flippant dismissals of religion, conservative value systems, and guys who do Pilates ("Are you just saying 'Pirates' wrong?") are just playing to his agreeable audience; agreeable enough to follow him into unexplored territory. The set here is hardly traditional with that fake underground lab stage prop acting as a jumping-off point for the album's best material. Shelves with absurd, bottled chemicals are shown to the audience with his strange wisecracks bringing the laughs, while his childhood notebook and report cards (his grades are surprisingly bad, by the way) offer plenty of ammo to shoot out of the comedian's quirky canon. Still, it's his odd, angry ad in the newspaper, attacking Time Warner Cable for their customer service that brings the biggest belly laughs, a copy of which just happens to be sitting on set. Then, there's "Jokes with a Theremin!" which is just what it says, plus some strange Facebook ads that Mirman really placed, which are very funny, but the analytics of "click throughs" that the comedian tracked are even funnier, and much, much stranger. In the end, it's a performance art-influenced act with Andy Kaufman and Father Guido Sarducci as spiritual godfathers, and if Mirman hasn't nailed his place in this rule-breaking style at this point, the number of laughs here suggest he's on his way and on target.

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