Posted in books | comedy | music | pictures on September 20, 2010

words & photos by David Andrako

"It looks like America might have fallen in love with a Pakistani!" Eugene Mirman after Kumail Nanjiani's well received set at The Bell House.

Eugene Mirman

The third day of the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival (Saturday) saw four shows performed at three different venues around Park Slope and Gowanus along with performances from over 20 comedians, a song by John Wesley Harding and a heavy dose of Bourne Trilogy references.

The early show, "Mike Birbiglia Interviews A Bunch Of Sort Of Authors and Sarah Vowell", was hosted by the aforementioned Birbiglia and saw him interviewing Michael Showalter, Eugene Mirman, Patrick Borelli and Sarah Vowell about their most recent books. Birbiglia based the order of the interviews on his anxiety about the interviews from highest to lowest. Sarah Vowell went first and Eugene Mirman closed. Sarah, the most accomplished author on the panel, admitted being jealous of Chuck Klosterman "because he would get mentioned on The O.C." She also spoke of her next project, a historical book on the American annexation of Hawaii.

Michael Showalter's book "Mr. Funny Pants" will be released early next year and was described as "a book about how to write a book." He and Birbiglia read a chapter from the book that recapped a fictional interview with Charlie Rose. Patrick Borelli gave a surprisingly heartfelt slideshow of headshots from his book, "Holy Headshots." Birgibilia reminded Borelli about their short-lived two man improv team "Michael O' Patrick" from earlier in their careers. Eugene Mirman joined Birbiglia to chat about his book "Will to Whatevs: A Guide to Modern Life" that was released in February of 2009. The two also recounted the origin of the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival that was hatched during a night of heavy drinking and may or may not have been the result of a dare that Eugene accepted. The early show ended with all of the authors having a Q&A with the audience.

The two middle shows of the evening ran simultaneously at Union Hall and The Rock Shop. Eugene headed over to Union Hall to host "Eugene's World Class Masters of Comedy" which featured sets from Daniel Kitson (who also performed the night before), Ron Lynch, Marc Maron and Todd Barry. Being that I'd seen or would be seeing all of the comedians at Union Hall (except Todd Barry) at other shows during the festival I opted to head over to The Rock Shop for "A Night of Gay or Foreign Comedy." The show was hosted by Gabe Liedman and featured Maeve Higgins (who also performed the night before), Glenn Wool, Brent Sulivan, Kumail Nanjiani and Mehran Khaghani. Standouts of the show were Higgins, Boston based comic Mehran Khagani and Brent Sullivan (I agree with Eugene's description in the Festival guide that one of his jokes is a Top 5 joke of 2010).

The final show of the evening was held back at The Bell House and was billed as (deep breath) "Why Do I Know Everything about Everyone At The French Dinner? An Evening of Espionage Themed Comedy Celebrating Our Love of the Bourne Trilogy and All Things Spy." Eugene opened the show by explaining that his love for the Bourne Trilogy began when he watched the first film and showed a short film that he created in tribute to the trilogy. Kumail Nanjiani, fresh off a quick set at The Rock Shop, was the first comic of the evening and admitted that his set was "based on someone who watched the Bourne Trilogy yesterday". His set, which ended with a story about being subjected to racist taunts in Los Angeles, was rewarded by the loudest applause of the festival (so far).

Jon Glaser

Jon Glaser returned to the stage, not as Dr. Attitude (his character from Thursday night's show) but as The Man In The Green Mask - a CIA spy sent to educate the audience on what it takes to be a spy. He was unwilling to answer most questions during a brief Q&A but did admit to melting a gun into the shape of a banana. Friend of Eugene, John Wesley Harding (who also plays the fest Sunday night), performed a song written especially for the evening, "A Ballad Of The Bourne Trilogy". Sarah Vowell made several appearances between acts to read Bourne-themed poetry that was penned by Eugene.

Leo Allen and Eric Slovin (Allen and Slovin) performed in complete homemade, glue filled costumes as Spy vs. Spy and spent most of their set lamenting having booked a comedy show on Yom Kippur and talking about their day spent at Temple Beth Chuckles. Marc Maron, after performing at Union Hall, closed the show with a thoroughly researched set that featured his thoughts on spys, espionage, proper mic stands and the existence (or not) of his FBI file.

More pictures from the whole day, below...

Eugene Mirman

Eugene Mirman

Mike Birbiglia

Mike Birbiglia

Sarah Vowell

Sarah Vowell

Michael Showalter

Michael Showalter

Michael Showalter

Michael Showalter

Michael Showalter

Patrick Borelli

Patrick Borelli

Patrick Borelli

Patrick Borelli /></p>

<p><img src=

Eugene Mirman

Gabe Liedman

Gabe Liedman

Kumail Nanjiani

Kumail Nanjiani

Kumail Nanjiani

Brent Sullivan

Brent Sullivan

Brent Sullivan

Mehran Khaghani

Mehran Khaghani

Maeve Higgins

Maeve Higgins

Eugene Mirman

Kumail Nanjiani

Kumail Nanjiani /></p>

<p><img src=

Kumail Nanjiani

Sarah Vowell

Eugene Mirman

Man in The Green Mask aka Jon Glaser

Jon Glaser

Jon Glaser

Jon Glaser

John Wesley Harding

John Wesley Harding

John Wesley Harding

Slovin & Allen

Slovin & Allen /></p>

<p><img src=

Eugene Mirman

Marc Maron

Marc Maron

Marc Maron

Marc Maron

Marc Maron

For more: check out NIGHT TWO and NIGHT ONE.

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Comments (5)

That was simply hilarious!

Posted by Lebensberatung | September 20, 2010 6:54 AM

was it as hilarious as Todd Barry playing drums with Superchunk last night? yeah, tha happened.

Posted by Anonymous | September 20, 2010 9:37 AM

Eugene Mirman deserves a lot of props for creating this great festival.

Mind you, not all shows in this festival are created equal. We went to the early show on Sunday night, and it was not great. Early on, some dude read from a short story that he wrote about his teenage years, and he spoke so quickly and with so little enunciation, that it was painful. I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but others around me were also having a helluva time trying to process much of what he was saying.

Similar thing happened with the band that was playing between songs. Apparently, we were supposed to get a laugh out of some of the tunes - including one about the 86 Mets. That sounded promising. However, if you want people to understand your funny lyrics, maybe you should just strum an acoustic, rather than try to be heard over a six-piece band - one of whom was playing an electric guitar and actively trying to get feedback from it by playing in front of the amp. That shit is cool if I am at a Mr. Browstone show, but maybe not when I am there for comedy.

Still, Eugene rules.

Posted by lp | September 20, 2010 10:20 AM

look at the gazonga's on dat ho.

Posted by Anonymous | September 20, 2010 2:20 PM

LP - you got the wrong end of the stick, dude. That was a variety show of music, comedy n readings. We loved it. I don't think those songs were meant to be particularly funny, but if you wanted to just see comedy, then you certainly picked the wrong show. (Of all the various shows on offer through that festival: it was the only one that wasn't entirely comedy.)

Posted by Anonymous | September 21, 2010 1:01 PM

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