Inside the 5th annual Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival

Has it been five years already?

The fifth annual Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival kicks off Thursday night in Brooklyn’s Gowanus and Park Slope neighborhoods, and it has become a full-fledged tradition in the New York City comedy scene that most of its shows already are sold out. Mirman said yesterday that tickets remained available to a couple of the eight shows on the 2012 lineup, including an all-ages show on Saturday afternoon as well as the themed “Talent Show” on Saturday night. Remember, at the 2011 “Talent Show” during the festival, Ira Glass drank so much he blacked it out, including this pyramid of comedians (pictured above) that took place during the show.

What else is new this year?

Festival organizer Caroline Craighead told The Comic’s Comic that this year’s speech-and-debate-themed “Talent Show” (hosted by Elna Baker and Kevin Townley) has confirmed a lineup that includes Sarah Vowell, Todd Barry, Dave Hill, Hari Kondabolu and New York Times religious columnist Mark Oppenheimer, plus surprise guests, and challenges that include 30-minute songwriting by Brendon Small and Stuckey & Murray.

The 2012 Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival schedule. Shows take place at The Bell House and Union Hall in Brooklyn.


  • We Appreciate Ourselves: The Five-Year Anniversary show, with Eugene Mirman, Todd Barry, Jon Glaser, John Mulaney and more! The Bell House. (SOLD OUT)


  • This Is The Night These Comedians Get Discovered and Become Stars, 7:30 p.m., Union Hall, with Brooke Van Poppelen, Phoebe Robinson, Damien Lemon and Greg Johnson, hosted by Nick Turner.
  • StarTalk Live! with Neil deGrasse Tyson, Eugene Mirman, Sarah Silverman and more. 9 p.m., The Bell House (SOLD OUT).


  • Uh Oh: Dangerous, Inappropriate Comedy For Teenagers, 4:30 p.m., Union Hall. Hosted by Tom Shillue. With Jacqueline Novak, Eugene Mirman, Ben Kronberg, Brendon Small and more! An all-ages show. TICKETS:
  • Comedians Two to Five Years Away From Their Own TV Shows, 7:30 p.m., Union Hall. Hosted by: Jared Logan. Featuring: Emily Heller, Michael Che, Jena Friedman, Matt McCarthy and more! SOLD OUT
  • The Talent Show: Speech & Debate, 9 p.m., The Bell House. Hosted by Kevin Townley and Elna Baker, with Daniel Kitson, Mark Oppenheimer, Todd Barry, Dave Hill, Eugene Mirman, Hari Kondabolu, Brendon Small, Stuckey and Murray. TICKETS:


  • The Eugene Mirman International FIlm Festival, 6:30 p.m., Union Hall. An evening of short films, unreleased gems and weird videos by comedians. Doors @ 6pm, Show @ 6:30pm, $10, ages 21+ TICKETS:
  • Invite Them Up, 8:30 p.m., The Bell House. Bobby Tisdale and Eugene Mirman host special guests. TICKETS:

But that’s not all!

In a previous Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival, they presented a fun showcase featuring some of the many comedians who previously had appeared on an episode or more of NBC’s Law & Order, which filmed in New York City for two decades. For 2012, they want to throw them a party. Make that an after-party!

As Mirman wrote yesterday:

Have you been on any of the Law and Orders? First, congratulations. Second, we are having an after party at Bell House as part of the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival this Friday September 14th that we need you to attend. Why? Because the after party features Eugene Mirman DJing and “over 25 actors who’ve had bit parts on Law and Order signing headshots.” So, please be a part of this. If you have headshots, bring them and sign them. If not, just come and hang out and reminisce about your experience with fans and loved ones. It doesn’t matter which Law & Order series you were on, if you had lines, or if you just held your own in a bar scene–we want you!

Mirman’s festival will thank you with two drink tickets for your troubles (and your previously broadcasted fake troubles on L&O). Just email eugenemirmancomedyfestival [at] for more details.

And here are Mirman’s personal descriptions of the nightly afterparties this weekend…

THURSDAY: “Karaoke Killed The Cat, VIP Herring Room, A slam-poet you can throw water balloons at, red carpet photo-backdrop-thing and a Sex Coffin (this last thing is not true, but sounds relaxing, no?)”

FRIDAY: “Drinks specials, science enthusiasts, Eugene Mirman DJing his favorite songs from the 70s, 80s, 95 – 98, and today! Oh, and the 60s! Plus over 25 actors who’ve appeared in bit parts on Law & Order signing headshots! What could be more fun?! DO NOT ANSWER THIS QUESTION.”

SATURDAY: “Craig Baldo DJing in the front lounge, people glancing at each other and smiling demurely, drink specials, literary types being candid about their feelings and unlimited use of the restroom! La Chiva party bus outside”

SUNDAY: “Pig Roast by Urban Rustic! Drinks specials! A guest book for you to sign, like the kind you’d have at a vacation home on Cape Cod! A medium sized cardboard box with holes and a sign warning you to NOT put your dick in it! Plus various comedians and musicians DJing throughout the evening!”

More info at the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival page on Facebook.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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