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Album Review

With its knowing Mort Sahl-era album title and cover photo, The Absurd Nightclub Comedy of Eugene Mirman is a deliberate return to the glory days of the standup comedy LP, those records that were hipster totems in the hi-fi days and a constant presence in Goodwill bins since. Mirman, a Russian-born, Boston-based comedian, isn't a throwback to the comedians of that era, but nor does he really fit in with the politically-charged likes of contemporaries such as David Cross or Janeane Garofalo; instead, he's sort of the indie rock equivalent of pre-stardom Jerry Seinfeld or stoner-era George Carlin: his observational humor is mostly born out of his everyday life (one of the funniest routines on the album is "Fleet," detailing his increasing frustrations with a screwed-up credit card account, and his early days as a Russian-Jewish immigrant in Ronald Reagan's America informs much of the material), but he's also a gifted verbal satirist in the Carlin tradition, best shown in the sidesplitting "Shapes for Sale" (slogans for geometric figures in the manner of those odd ad campaigns for beef or dairy foods, such as "Square: The Other Rectangle" or "Triangle: Hot Three-Way Action!") or a brief bit on challenging people who parrot made-up statistics. Mirman's a verbal comedian whose material doesn't lose much when you can't see him, making him a natural for the unfortunately largely moribund comedy album genre.


Born: July 24, 1974 in Russia

Genre: Humour

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Absurdist standup Eugene Mirman was a leading light of the New York City alternative comedy scene, earning a cult following in indie rock circles for his performances in support of bands including Yo La Tengo, the Shins, and Modest Mouse. Born in the Soviet Union in 1974, Mirman was four years old when his family immigrated to the U.S., settling in Boston. After graduating from Hampshire College, where he developed his own major in comedy, Mirman launched his standup career at small Boston venues...
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