Mirman ‘Thrives’ to bring laughter to Turners Falls
Comedian Eugene Mirman will be performing a stand-up comedy show at the Montague Elks Lodge in Turners Falls, Mass. tomorrow night. Performing with him will be Michael Showalter, A.D. Miles, and Leo Allen.
The show will be put on by the non-profit organization The Thrive Project. The organization helps adults change their lives for the better after previous hardships may have left them dissatisfied with their path. The show is one part of the organization’s Thrive Fest, a weekend of fundraising events which began yesterday and will continue through Sunday.
Mirman is on the advisory board for The Thrive Project, which is based in Turners Falls. “There are so many organizations that try to help kids,” but not many that try to help adults, he said. The organization helps people find the resources they need in order to improve their lives.
Although Mirman lives in New York, he is happy to help out by setting up events such as this weekend’s comedy show. Despite the fact that he can’t be in Turners Falls and work directly with the adults who come to The Thrive Project for assistance, Mirman said that he “[helps] out where I can in any capacity.”
He has performed for a number of fundraisers and benefits in various cities, including 826 National, a program set up in part by writer Dave Eggers to help students up to the age of 18 to improve their writing skills.
Though he has done stand-up for fundraising events before and in clubs both big and small for over a decade, Mirman said that he has never performed in an Elks lodge. He has toured with a number of bands, including Modest Mouse, The Shins, and Cake.
“Opening for a band is generally harder,” he said, adding that he prefers to do straight-up comedy or variety shows. He began touring with bands when he had a booking agent who primarily booked rock bands.
The biggest show he has ever performed was during a tour on which he opened for Flight of the Conchords. The performance at the Hollywood Bowl drew between 15,000 and 16,000 people. Though he says that the large crowds associated with a rock band can sometimes be intimidating, the Hollywood Bowl show was “oddly totally fine.”
Even though the audience at the Montague Elks Lodge will be considerably smaller, Mirman has experience performing in smaller, more intimate atmospheres. A graduate of Hampshire College (“[It was] sort of a war between hippies and indie rockers,” he said), he created his own major, studying comedy. He took classes on the history of comedy and the physiology of laughter, amongst other classes. He performed regularly in the basement of his dorm. His thesis was a one-hour comedy act.
In the weeks leading up to his thesis performance, Mirman was interviewed and subsequently misquoted by the Daily Collegian. While the Collegian was unable to dig up that article, Mirman stated that he found the misquote to be “interestingly inaccurate” and “my favorite misquote, though in a sense that it’s also dear to me.”
When asked if he still finds farting funny as a professional comedian, Mirman referenced Showalter, who did an entire commentary track for the film “Wet Hot American Summer” consisting only of strategically-timed fart noises.
“Is it funny for grown men to make fart noises for an hour and then release it? Absolutely,” he said.
Tickets for The Thrive Project’s comedy show must be paid for in cash and are available at the Montague Bookmill, the Rendezvous, and at the door. The performance begins at 8 p.m.
Ellie Rulon-Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.