The Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival began as a joke.
Eight years later, it’s one of Brooklyn’s signature comedy events.
This year’s festival includes seven shows over four nights, featuring comedians including John Hodgman, Jon Glaser, Chris Duffy and more.
The festival concludes with an edition of “StarTalk Live!” with Neil deGrasse Tyson and Mirman at the Beacon Theatre.
amNewYork spoke with Mirman.
What’s the best and worst thing about putting on a festival?
The best thing is it’s fun and you get to do silly things. A few years ago, we had a bouncy castle with a therapist inside and people could come and bounce and talk about their problems, and they did. It really worked. People really bounced and people really talked about their problems. [The worst part is] producing anything is time consuming.
Are you surprised at how big “StarTalk Live!” has become?
I’m not really surprised at the way it has grown because [Neil deGrasse Tyson] is one of the biggest and best communicators of science there is today. … It has been amazing for me. I get to meet astronauts and people that do incredible things when it would normally be incredibly rare as a comic to meet so many astronauts.
Tell me about the show “Comics Ruth Bader Ginsburg Would Enjoy.” What kind of comedy do you think she likes?
Smart, funny. I guess what you’re asking me is why I think it’s funny to have a show called “Comics Ruth Bader Ginsburg Would Enjoy.” … It’s a funny title for a show, but I also think the comics are smart, funny comics she would like. It’s possible I’m wrong.
Do you have a favorite moment from all the festivals?
One is the first “StarTalk Live!” because Alan Alda was the first guest, and I think he was so enamored of there being an audience of people so enamored of science. There was a talent show called “The Drunk Show.” It was a combination of everything that happens. Some people become friendly; some people become sick. It was an amazing spectacle. Daniel Kitson has come many times to perform. Maybe the second time, I paid him in varied and fancy interesting sandwiches. Every day I would get him a sandwich I thought was amazing and give it to him before his set.
If you go: Eighth Annual Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival runs Friday through Sept. 18-21. For more information visit prettygoodfriends.com/emcf