Eugene Mirman Reveals His Flight of the Conchords Audition Process
You might be enjoying comedian Eugene Mirman’s voice work as Gene Belcher on the animated series Bob’s Burgers, but it’s not his only experience as an ensemble member of a beloved TV comedy. He also appeared in HBO’s Flight of the Conchords, which explored the New York misadventures of New Zealand’s finest musical comedy exports, Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement. Mirman appeared as the duo’s put-upon landlord, who just wants them to pay rent sometimes. The band recently embarked on a U.S. tour for the first time in years, and Lexington native Mirman will open for them this Saturday. Ahead, Mirman shares how he first got involved with the show, and the state of online discourse.
What sets a Conchords tour apart?
It’s very fun, because a lot of the people they use to open for them are people who are from the show and it’s in large venues, with very excited fans. They don’t tour that often, so it’s really fun to get to see them.
How did you first get involved with the show?
Before it filmed, I met them through Demetri Martin. I used to do a weekly show in New York that they would do and we also hung out in Edinburgh when I did the Fringe festival a long time ago. And then in Aspen—there used to be a comedy festival in Aspen, not like, “We would all go to Aspen.” A lot of the people that they put in their show were comics that they knew and liked working with. So, I knew them before the show, is the answer. They wrote the role “Eugene” for me. I’m Eugene. But I did audition for it!
You had to audition to play “Eugene”?
I did, in a funny way where I think I had to say, like—because the scene was very short—it was like, “Hi guys,” and I think I said it in three different ways, and one of those was the right way.
What’s your favorite Conchords song?
Oh, I don’t know! It could be “Bowie’s in Space”, or “Business Time,” the “Robots” song. I’m blanking on its name, but the fake Pet Shop Boys song [Editor’s note: “Inner City Pressure”]. They’re so good at making music that is great and also really funny.
You’re pretty politically active on Twitter. What’s the response like from people when you do that? Are people being intense and weird or are they mostly making jokes?
Some people are very nice. Some people are weirdos. Facebook’s sort of much better than Twitter because it’s more accountable. Initially, I feel like on Facebook there’d be this sort of kneejerk reaction, but then actually it’s gotten a lot better. A lot of people write very sensible things and they don’t just call you a shill.
When you engage with people on Facebook, are you able to come to a polite disagreement, or do people freak out?
Largely it’s a polite disagreement or a polite agreement.
I’m kind of impressed.
It’s not common and I think people are actually pleased by it because I think everyone tries to be pretty polite, though everyone gets angry and sarcastic, but not nearly as much as you’d think.
Whereas on Twitter you get the egg avatars.
Yeah. And some people, you can tell if they’ve posted 3000 tweets over a period of years, they’re probably a real person who just is an egg. And then if they’re named, like, CromDom825 and they have 17 tweets, there’s no reason to engage that person.
Eugene Mirman and Flight of the Conchords, Saturday, July 23, 8 p.m., Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, flightoftheconchords.co.nz.