By BRIANNA SNYDER
6:10 PM EST, December 4, 2013
If you like a little retribution with your comedy, Eugene Mirman is probably your guy.
The comedian's standup is an absurdish mix of observational and anecdotal storytelling. Many of his bits include props: troll-y messageboard posts and strange pictures he's printed from the Internet, angry letters he's received, angry letters he's written, and, famously, ads he's taken out in New York City newspapers that condemn the services of certain monolithic cable companies.
On his most recent record, "An Evening of Comedy in a Fake, Underground Laboratory," Mirman reads aloud a letter he wrote to Time Warner that ran as an ad in the New York Press:
"Did you know that on Yelp, Time Warner Cable has one and a half stars? That's less stars than Jeffrey Dahmer -- who killed and ate people, maybe even had sex with their skulls (I don't really know). Obviously what I'm saying is untrue, because Yelp does not review serial killers, but if they did, his babaganoush would be better than yours, if you both made babaganoush, even if he drugged and murdered people."
Mirman is famous for his roles on shows like "The Flight of the Conchords" (he played the weirdo landlord), "Delocated" (the Boris-and-Natasha-like Russian villain/comedian whose jokes all center on vodka: "Ask not what your vodka can do for you, but what you can do for your vodka!") and "Bob's Burgers" (as the dopey, kinda-gross Gene). He's been doing comedy and acting since the 1990s. He was part of the group of alt-comedians who got started opening for indie-rock bands, like Modest Mouse and Les Savy Fav, which he still does sometimes. He's also written a book — you'll like this — called "The Will to Whatevs."
The comedian has said he'd like to return to his native Russia, where he was born; his parents moved him to Boston when he was four and he hasn't been back since. He'd like to do a documentary, he says, on being a comedian in Russia. "It would be me going there [and] I would try to do some shows and I would probably explore free speech in comedy and arts in Russia and here," he says in a recent phone interview from his place in Brooklyn. "Also, just seeing Russia as both an insider and outsider perspective at the same time would be interesting."
It's good subject matter, about which even Mirman says he doesn't know much. "I've watched a little bit of Russian standup, which is both sort of theatrical and one-man-showish," he says. (If you check out the Wiki page on Russian comedy you'll see key genre terms like "bald-hairy" and "Anton Chekhov." If that gives you any idea.)
"A lot of the things I do are the sort of things I think are funny," he says. If that means messing with the PR of invincible cable companies, he says that's "gratifying."
He also says he's switching to FiOS whenever it's available in Brooklyn.
Eugene Mirman, Dec. 5, 7 p.m., $18-20, Spaceland Ballroom, 295 Treadwell St., Hamden, 203-288-6400, theouterspace.net
Copyright © 2014, The Hartford Courant