Stand-up comedians find success by following in the footsteps of proven comedy giants or choose to tear down the conventions of the medium all together. Regardless of approach, they must satisfy one vital criterion – they have to be funny. Eugene Mirman falls in line with the latter of the aforementioned comedy camps, bringing to the stage a blend of absurdest zingers and unique prop humor. With the release of his 2004 debut album, The Absurd Nightclub Comedy of Eugene Mirman, he solidified his status as the comedic purveyor of all things weird. Fully embracing this identity, Mirman brings to the comedy world I’m Sorry (You’re Welcome), a colossal 9-volume, 7-LP comedy compendium.
This new release showcases Mirman’s attempt at pushing his brand of humor to the absolute limits. At times it echoes Tim and Eric, offering a delightful departure from traditional comedy, while other times it falls into the realm of being un-listenable. While Mirman is undoubtedly a remarkable comedic talent, this album is probably not the best work to start with for people who are new to the comedian. Nonetheless, the album comes out this week, so let’s unpack it.
Volume 1 – Live in Seattle at The Columbia City Theater
This is the only part of the compilation that includes any amount of stand-up. In many ways, it’s typical Eugene Mirman, so fans are not likely to be disappointed with this portion of the album. It’s filled with non sequiturs that are insanely imaginative and improved by his unique delivery. He incorporates a good amount absurdest prop humor as well. He utilizes Siri on his iPhone for a brief joke about his girlfriend, which is ingenious and entertaining. Mirman truly is a creative spectacle that leaves listeners wondering how he produces such outlandish material, but there are a few aspects of the recording that fall short. For starters, it is worth mentioning that a few of the bits included in this were covered on previous albums and specials, which is a little disappointing. His hilarious joke about signing up for Christian Mingle is one of these. In addition to recycling a few bits, he has one lengthy visual joke in which he shows paintings he made for a local Whole Foods. Naturally, this does not translate well to audio, so listeners are forced to tune out for a few minutes. As a whole, this stand-up set feels like it is included to validate the rest of the album. It may be sufficient for fans, but not the best representation of Mirman’s capacity as a comic.
Volume 2 – A Guided Meditation For The Thoughtful Body
The rest of the album is proof of how weird Eugene Mirman can get. This specific portion has Mirman guiding listeners through the world’s silliest meditation. Over the course of eight tracks, he drones on in a calming voice, saying nothing but comedic drivel over a relaxing melody. This is an entertaining mockery of traditional comedy, but not worthy of a twenty-minute execution. It seems like he is trying harder to be weird than witty.
Volume 3 – F*ckscape
Is your love life lacking? Well Eugene Mirman is here to help you spice it up with five tracks that you should play during moments of intimacy. In reality though, it is just 21 minutes of Mirman saying weird things over goofy music.
Volume 4 – Eugene’s Comprehensive Sound Effects Library
If you are in need of adding sounds effects to your film for cheap, well Eugene Mirman has got you covered. This volume includes 198 brief tracks of various mouth-made sound effects for Foley Artists. Unless you are creating a movie that needs chicken prostitute haggling or long fart sounds, you might be a little disappointed though.
Volume 5 – Digital Drugs
Described as a “binaural acoustic pharmacy for the carefree or ill”, this portion of the work attempts to aurally mimic the effects of drugs. It is by far the weirdest section on the album. It is basically just Mirman making strange noises with his mouth over trippy music.
Volume 6 – Over 45 Minutes of Crying
The title explains it all. This section is literally 45 minutes of Mirman crying and nothing more. In case you were wondering, the crying is not looped. He actually recorded himself crying on a sun porch in Cape Cod for 45 minutes.
Volume 7 – Introduction to Spoken Russian
“The following are Russian phrases you can use to impress and seduce Russian speakers all over the world. However, keep in mind that I immigrated when I was four years old and have terrible grammar, conjugation….” These are the first words listeners are introduced to in volume 7. In this section Mirman just says really odd phrases in broken Russian.
Volume 8 – Ringtones & Outgoing Voicemail Messages For Your Personal Use
This includes close to 100 ringtones for your phone that Mirman made with his mouth. It incorporates ringtone titles like “Doodle-Doodle Hoo-Hoo” and “Mr. Sh*tface.”
Volume 9 – 195 Orgasms
Once again, the title explains it all. Mirman recorded 195 brief orgasm sounds he made with his mouth. Some can be a bit humorous if you read the track title before listening. A few of the orgasm sounds included are “Gene Simmons Crying in a Pile of Sh*t” and “Now That’s How a Puppy Should Sneeze.”
If you listen to it at all, I’m Sorry (You’re Welcome) is best listened to in small increments. It’s available beginning October 30th on vinyl, digital, chair, and robe worldwide from Sub Pop. He will be going on tour shortly after starting with a show at The Bell House in Brooklyn, New York.