As the city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire found out earlier this year, you don’t want to mess with Eugene Mirman. When the comedian — arguably best known as the voice of Gene on Fox’s Bob’s Burgers — received a $15 parking ticket for backing his car into a parking spot (apparently illegal in Portsmouth), he took out a full page ad in the local paper. In the ad, Mirman detailed his day of antiquing and puppet purchasing in the quaint city before eviscerating it and its absurd laws.
This wasn’t the first time Mirman went to great lengths to use his comedic talents to dispute a small claim: In 2011, he took out an ad to take down Time Warner customer service. This might give you the impression that Mirman has time on his hands. In fact, the Moscow-born Brooklynite is one of the hardest working people in comedy, with comedy festivals, podcasts, CDs, standup specials and television pilots under his belt and in production.
For his upcoming album, I’m Sorry, You’re Welcome, Mirman is threatening audiences with a nine-volume set of stand-up, crying, binaural beats and one extended track titled simply “Fuckscape.” To be released by Sub Pop Mega Mart on October 30, the extravagent package also includes an optional bath robe and, oddly, a mid-century modern chair that’s been outfitted with an MP3 player and speakers, Pimp My Ride style.
We spoke to Mirman about his upcoming release, his Bob’s Burgers character and why his childhood bedroom was papered in comic books.
I’m Sorry, You’re Welcome is nine volumes. Nine?
I’ve had this idea to put out a multi-disc record, though now it’s funny because there’s no CD version although i conceived of it like that at one point. It has stand-up, but then it has a lot of other things like sound effects, orgasms, digital drugs — which, um, have binarual tones that some claim will affect your brain. And, you know, there’s 45 minutes of me crying.
It also has something titled “Fuckscape.”
Oh, yeah, I wanted to make something that was composed of erotic words. But then I thought it might be really great to make it more of a soundscape, so I combined a few ideas I had. They’re just tracks for lovemaking inspired by a 24-hour soundscape that played in an elevator I once rode in.
Fair enough. Why all the added content?
I wanted to do something different than just the traditional stand-up record. I had this idea — a long time ago — for a 100-disc record, but then at some point I realized I could make a much smaller, more feasible version. I wanted to do something that was comedy, but in a lot of different ways.
Sounds like something Gene Belcher might come up with.
It does. But I didn’t compose them myself. I had my friends Matt and Christian create the soundscapes and other effects. We’ve collaborated a lot.
Gene, like all of the Belchers, is weird and annoying but entirely lovable. What’s your favorite Gene quality?
All of the Belchers love each other very, very much, and he’s sort of a goofball who goes by the beat of his own drum, but everybody’s really supportive. They’re just a very silly, loving family.
Does a lot of Gene come from you? The enthusiasm you bring to it?
Maybe a little. A lot of the personalities of the characters are sort of based on the voice actors. It’s a collaboration between Loren [Bouchard] and the writers and us.
Between Bob’s Burgers, standup and other appearances, you seem to always be working. What’s your sleep schedule like?
I go to sleep around 10 to midnight. I keep things pretty regular.
What three things do you need for a good night’s sleep?
Sometimes I listen to quiet music and I need two pillows or so, I will sometimes have a glass of water, some times I’ll take like an herbal sleepy thing.
Do you have a favorite nightcap?
I want to say a bottle of cognac. But, no, I'm not that sophisticated.
Name three things that are on your nightstand or bedside table right now.
My watch — I forgot it at home — a telephone, a lamp, maybe an iPad or something. And little bits of paper from my pockets.
Did anything in particular adorn the walls of your childhood bedroom?
I covered the walls in comic books. I had them sealed in mylar and then created wallpaper around my room in them. I loved Wolverine, X-Men and Justice League the most.
Any secrets for getting sleep on a long flight?
Take something that helps you sleep, but that won’t make you wake up and think the aeroplane door is the bathroom. You know what I mean? There are these horror stories of people having two glasses of wine and a tranquilizer, and they wake up thinking someone’s mugging them.
What’s your worst nightmare?
You mean, like, murder?
Sure. A nightmare you don’t want to come true.
The worst would be some sort of capture-y murder-y thing. The second worst is, I guess, seeing somebody that I feel uncomfortable around. Or maybe a fatal illness? Or wartime?
I guess whatever you think is terrible, then just add wartime and the other thing you’re anxious about. So, like, wartime, some capture-y murder stuff happening, and then like there’s someone you knew from like an old job and you felt uncomfortable around — and it’s all happening together and then you’re falling, you’re in an airplane falling.
That would do it for me.