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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.
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 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...
Man in The Green Mask aka Jon Glaser
John Wesley Harding
Slovin & Allen