Comics don’t usually play the North Star Bar but most comics aren’t like Eugene Mirman, who will appear at the intimate venue Saturday. The quirky Brooklyn stand-up is an unconventional humorist. The Russian immirgrant is an observational comic like Jerry Seinfeld, who is the master of the mundane. However, Mirman’s material is considerably more cerebral. The unpredictable entertainer, who loves dive bars, indie music and politics, talks about hanging with the Shins’ James Mercer and whether his comedy degree is valid.
Q: Do you open for bands since you’re a rocker at heart who can’t sing or play guitar well?
A: I’m a comic at heart who loves rock venues. I can’t play music. My next step isn’t to learn how to play guitar. My next step is to keep making fun of things.
Q: What do you have against comedy clubs?
A: The two-drink minimum. The $18 pizzas and the terrible advice given by comedy club owners. A club owner once told me that he doesn’t need another comic, who tells quiet jokes slowly.
Q: How did you respond to that?
A: By doing my own shows in theaters. I have no interest in tailoring my act for a random club owner.
Q: But the irony is that the rock clubs you play are often corporate, since they’re part of Livenation.
A: That’s true. But they don’t feel corporate. There’s a difference.
Q: What’s the difference between sharing a stage with Yo La Tengo and Nickelback?
A: People might hate you or yell at you but no one will yell ‘fag’ at you during a Yo La Tengo show. Maybe they’ll think it in their heads ironically.
Q: Does James Mercer return your calls since the Shins have broken?
A: Sure. When I play Portland, they come out to my shows. They’re good guys. They’re always nice and fun to be around.
Q: You have a degree in comedy…
A: Yes. You can do that at the University of New Hampshire. I didn’t see the point in studying something that is regarded as normal, like English, just because people expect that.
Q: Does your degree hold water?
A: (laughs) Yes. It’s a real degree. It would be funny if I said it wasn’t a real degree but my education is no joke.