1. Stay Free! interviews Eugene Mirman
STAY FREE!: That brings me to a whole other thing, which is that you went on a rock tour.
MIRMAN: I really like playing rock clubs, but it can be more work if an audience doesn't know you.
STAY FREE!: The comedy shows you host are structured more like rock shows than comedy. At the crappy comedy clubs here, they make the comedians bring X number of people before they're allowed to perform.
MIRMAN: Well, that's a "bringer" show. None of the people I know do those shows anymore, or would ever. That's when you're starting out. I find it easier to get on Conan O'Brien than to perform regularly at some of the clubs here, so I just don't really try anymore. Not that I tried that hard.
STAY FREE!: So it wasn't really a complex thought process of, "Oh, I'm not going to run my shows like that because that's lame."
MIRMAN: Right. When people ask me to perform at clubs, or if I audition for something, I'll go to a club, but also it's different in New York than in Boston. When I was in Boston, there were three comedy clubs. In most clubs you start as an opener, then you're a "middler," and then you're a headliner, and there's this system. But the system seems pointless and depressing. Here it's kind of different, because there's just a bunch of people performing for 20 minutes at a time at a club, as opposed to an opener. Anyway, the point is that rock clubs and alternative spaces are, for me, just as good if not better exposure, they're fun, and you make more money. The argument against it is that it doesn't exist. You have to make it. That's what's inconvenient about it. You have to create your own thing, which I personally enjoy.
2. Dead-Frog interviews Eugene
Also when I was talking to Mike, I told him that his material is equally at home at some place like “Invite Them Up” and at a comedy club. Do you feel the same way about your own material?
What I feel in terms of comedy clubs is that some are great and some are not, but I’d rather just draw my own audience that wants to see me. If I’m in a comedy club, it’s good in a sense that you do get other random people. But if you do it a rock club or a theater, the people who are coming to see it want to see you or someone you’re with or someone with a certain sensibility. Not to see comedy in general.
And the truth is I just want people to enjoy what I’m doing. I was supposed to do some shows in Vegas. And I was supposed to do eight and I only did two of them. And it was because it was a terrible mismatch. It was a weird bad room where there were people who were in respirators. But the point is they wanted to see entertainment and I would have gladly entertained them. It’s just that I didn’t have anything that they would really enjoy. So I’m just really just trying to find a way to do what I’d like to do.
But I’ve done sets with Patton (Oswalt) at Caroline’s and other stuff, but I’d just rather start my own night and have it always full and do things that I want to do, as opposed to figuring out how to break into some random place.
Why aren't more comics touring rock venues these days? Eugene, David Cross, Comedians of Comedy all did it a few years back. But I can't think of too many who are doing it now.