It's pretty easy to catch Eugene Mirman on TV: FOX picked up

Bob's Burgers for a third season, he plays a vodka-loving stand-up comic/assassin on Delocated, and his second Comedy Central special will air this fall. But our favorite place to see his comedy is at Union Hall, where he hosts his weekly show, Pretty Good Friends. The fifth Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival is next month, and tonight Mirman hosts a fundraiser at The Bell House that will include comedians James Adomian, Brendon Small, and surprise guests.

Tickets are $25, and there's a silent auction beforehand that features sweaters from Michael Showalter, VIP tickets a Jim Gaffigan set at the Apollo, and a personalized outgoing voicemail recorded by Sarah Silverman. Tickets to the festival itself (September 16-18) will go fast. We spoke to Mirman about his "uniform," sending self-promotional faxes, and why teenage sex is so funny.

Is this a Time Warner landline you're talking on right now? Of course!

Have they been kinder, has the service been better since that public letter you wrote last year? It's much, much better. It's in fact so much better that the idea of switching, like I might, but no one else who provides me is good—I'm on some list where they're really responsive now.

You were sort of a hero to me because they've obviously mistreated a lot of people, including myself. But now it seems they've turned you. They haven't turned me! I think the truth is that once FIOS is available on my block I'll probably switch, but in terms of—all cable companies are like, terrible, and I did this thing that makes this one react quickly to my problems. I think there's like a caseworker, or something, you know. So I think it's more an issue of practicality. But the issue also is I don't think FIOS is available on my block yet. So like, I don't have anything to switch to.

Fair enough. It's really effective. I recommend taking out full-page ads in local newspapers against any company that's terrible.

I think the last time I saw you, you were signing stuff at ComicCon for Bob's Burgers. You guys were getting mobbed. Well the first year no one knew what we were, like there were people who were fans of the individual people sort of, but once there are people who are—someone tells you you're on television, people who don't know who you are line up to get your autograph.

And this year was kind of the first year, especially where like there were lots of people who were fans specifically lined up because they liked the show. And that was really neat. This was the first time at that scale. I think it was even like at the hotel or something that the people who would like wait for photos with you and stuff. I mean it know it happens, but it's just surreal.

They're just standing outside clutching your 8 x 10 glossy? Or like, a picture of a cartoon character often, or occasionally a picture of you as a human being. Which is totally fine and they're nice and a lot of it is collectors and I'm sure a handful of people are misguided to think that my photos will be of value.

I love also comic books and superheroes and science fiction and stuff. So for me, ComicCon is superfun. I like walking around and being like "that's the first appearance of Batman and stuff like that!" That's what I did when I stalked away after the signing.

The fundraiser for your fifth annual comedy festival is tonight. Is there a particular reason why you've just sort of forgone the whole corporate sponsorship thing and raise your own money? Well, you know, one is that it's three of us organizing it, and actually every year Sub Pop gives us a little bit of money and they never go, "you have to put up a sign or whatever," though we happily would. But every year they've been great, they've helped us a little bit, but in general the shows that Bell House and Union Hall together reached like 3,000 people, 2,500 or something like that, so to go to a corporate entity and be like "we need $25,000 for some dumb awkward party bus that you know, 3000 people will see," like, no one. Well, we don't need $25,000, we need $5,000 or whatever, you know, but it doesn't make sense.

There was some movie that was like "We'll literally give you something like $250 if you screen a trailer for our movie before every show you do." That's absurd.

We prefer to either go with companies that are just like "here's some money, we just kinda wanna be a part of it and help you," which was basically Sub Pop last year, there was a few that did that, and then last year we also did a kickstarter and that was actually really totally successful and fun but it was also like a ton to organize it. We are also just kind of three people doing this for a lot of fun, and at some point the amount of work is too excessive.

You guys have a few lady comics on the bill—Sarah Silverman, Elna Baker—and the New York Comedy Festival doesn't. Does that surprise you that they didn't choose any women? Wait, you're saying that the entire New York Comedy Festival has zero women?

Well, yeah, it appears their schedule is all men. Oh, I mean, I have no idea, I mean for all I know also they haven't announced people or who knows, so I don't know. I mean, to me, clearly it's not great to have no ladies.

But it's also such a constant discussion in comedy that I don't know, to me it's sort of like you're asking, "Do you think it's bad that there's sexism in comedy?" and I guess so, sure, who doesn't? But right now we've announced three or four people—eventually we'll announce much more, so if somebody said to me "why don't you have any of this or that," I'd be like you don't know, we just haven't announced it. But they maybe hate women. The thing is, New York Comedy Festival, there's an 85% chance it hates women.

You just taped your second Comedy Central special recently? Yeah, this one's an hour.

I saw Todd Barry taping his last fall, and he had to kick out a few unruly people who were being loud and talking during the taping. Does that happen to you, or have people stopped fucking with you since you read that guy's email on stage a few years ago? Well, I think in general when people are heckling it's because they're often drunk or confused or want attention, it's not the reason that people think it happens.

I had the last taping—not this one, but the one where I recorded an album in Chicago, and during the first show I was looking at people and they were just repeating everything I was saying, like very drunk, and slowly I realized—and I would say "you have to stop"—they were drunk out of their minds, and when I look down I saw they had a bucket of empty beers and another bucket of full beers, and they had been at the show before and just decided to stay through. Like, they didn't care about seeing me. They just were like "comedy!" and drunk out of their minds. And they eventually had to be thrown out because they, like, didn't know where they were. But that's more typical than someone heckling, being like "you suck!" much more typically is someone who's drunk collapsed in their lap talking to their dick. Telling it a weird story loudly.

You gave your commencement speech to your alma mater, Hampshire College, in May. And you talked about how you used to promote your shows by faxing these press releases for your shows when you were in college. And after college. In Boston. That's when I did a lot that.


A lot of faxing? A lot of faxing. Literally, that's how I started. That and handing out flyers in Harvard Square.

Is there anything you miss about that bygone era, or has Twitter and social media made it so much easier that you wouldn't want to go back? What was fun about that remains sort of fun is trying to just figure out ways to make things work. When I did that, one or two people were probably faxing press releases, who were like 22, but I just was like okay, I'm not on television, what can I do to have people know about the show I'm doing? And even if you are on television it turns out you still have to do a lot.

So, I don't know, in general what I loved about it was figuring stuff out and the sort of grassroots stuff, but I still kind of do that completely in a different way. Like the whole festival, even when I was in Boston I put on a small three-day alternative comedy festival, when I was still there, but it was really in three nights on the third floor of this Chinese restaurant where I started out, and actually what's great is this show tomorrow, Brandon Small is coming to peform, and we were roommates in Boston and we both started at this Chinese restaurant. So it's very fun for me.

So you have somewhat of a uniform when you're on stage: the dark shirt, the black undershirt, and black jeans. When did you start wearing that and why? I think those are the clothes I wear. In general, I just always think except for maybe very early in college I just wear one-colored shirts and I don't really wear colors. I don't really mind them, I'm not a lunatic! Like I won't really mind wearing yellow or whatever. So, I think you'll find that I sometimes I have a lightish green shirt on, but, I don't know, it started whenever I started wearing that. I don't think of that as a different thing that I wear offstage or on, other than that I try not to look weirdly disshevelled to too large a degree.

So you open up your closet in the morning and it's: dark shirt, dark shirt, dark shirt black shirt. There's some like, gray shirts! Uh, I can't wait to send you a photo of the very light gray shirt with stripes that I have, that I wore just yesterday. Part of it is I don't spend an overwhelming amount of time on thinking about my shirts. I mean, I'm just a crazy artist who has a bunch of reasonably similar but not totally similar shirts.

You perform in Brooklyn way more than you perform in Manhattan. Is there a discernible difference between the type of crowds in Brooklyn or Manhattan or the kind of comedy people want to see? Vaguely, but, not really. It's all New York. And truthfully, it's the same audience in Seattle. There's sort of an "East Village" everywhere. But, there are certain shows that are more fun than others. The difference between the weekly show that I do is it lets you try something, and if it fails, you can just kind of move on; you don't have to win people back, you can just fail, and they won't laugh but they won't become furious or something.

You played a clip from your Comedy Central show a few months ago at Union Hall. Whatever became of that, or have I not done my research properly? I mean, it wasn't picked up, though I like that you would blame that on your research.

It was really funny! Yes, I remember. And yes, both it's very funny and it wasn't picked up. There's so many things that go into all that stuff that to second-guess it would be exhausting. I think they really liked it, I think it was close, I think we'll probably pitch it to other places, and then we'll find out.

Is that super demoralizing for you? Do you feel like, "Damn, I should have made this better" or done this differently? One answer is that I should have done something differently, sure. Clearly if I'd wanted the result of a TV show I should have done something differently. But I mean, you know, I think the way I've always seen this is that you do as many things as you possibly can that you enjoy, and then some of them will pan out and some of them won't. So, my show didn't get picked up, but I did get an hour special. I might be able to sell it somewhere else but for now I have a few TV shows I'm on, and I feel like, and I'm gonna start trying to write another book and stuff like that. I think you have to keep trying to move forward and keep doing things that you like doing, that also work out.

Can you talk about what the new book's about? No, I'm trying to figure it out. I mean I have a bunch of ideas, but it's so early that it would be pointless. Though I do like the idea that I'd be like, "It's like Twilight."

It could be anything right now, right? It could be about Twilight. It could be that. It's like, personal essays from my point of view of Twilight. That's what it is: I've written personal essays from their experiences. No. That is absolutely false. You don't have to write that at all.

Your company's called Rich Pregnant Teenager. Does it do business as something else or is that what it's registered with the Secretary of State as? That's what it's registered as. That is definitely the thing. And I think actually we might switch soon to be a nonprofit, but I don't know if we'll get to keep the name or how that works. But yes, the company's definitely called Rich Pregnant Teenager, the bank definitely loves it when we call them. [Ed: it's true]

Saturday night of your festival, the all-ages set is called "Dangerous, Inappropriate Comedy for Teenagers." What is so funny about sexually active teenagers and would you in fact recommend waiting to get to college to be sexually active? Yeah, like, why wait to take that risk at 17 when you could take that risk at 20?

Wait, what's the question? [Laughs] Nothing's funny, it's funny to say it. Not like it's funny as a fact, it's just funny to say it like that. I get so many emails from people who want an all-ages show and there are so many comedy festivals that have a filthy show or something like that, so I always thought it would be really funny to have, but we don't really wanna put on a filthy show, so the way it merged was this idea what is essentially actually people's normal standup but a little risqué or booking people who are a little risqué on a show that's all ages.

I don't know if you listen to satellite radio at all, but they have two comedy stations, one of them is for "normal" comedy, and the other one's called Raw Dog, which I guess is the grittier stuff. They played a bit of yours on the Raw Dog station and I must say, it wasn't very raw at all. I don't know if Raw Dog is actually all that risqué. I just always thought of Raw Dog as another comedy channel, it's only you now telling me it isn't, is that true?

I think it's because they can play swears. Well, that's totally different. It's like on one you're playing Henny Youngman and on the other you can play swears. I mean, I certainly have swears, but that's probably the distinction. I think for most people, it's sort of no big deal: "Swears in the car radio! Never!" Maybe in the 1950's they'd be horrified.