The alternative comedian wants to help you help you.
BY RANDY HARWARD
Eugene Mirman is the Oracle, the omnipotent, omniscient,
omnisexual alternative comedian. In other words, exactly the type of guy who should write a self-help book. Carnegie?
proves them all miserable hacks with his first book, The Will to Whatevs (Harper Perennial). In the pages of this
weighty tome are insights and answers to every vexing situation one can come
across in this life, provided “one” is not a baby. “Babies can’t read,” Eugene
writes. “And they can’t plan ahead.”
In the chapter called “The Fifty N’s of Nightlife,” Eugene
recommends making a fake press pass from some rock magazine like BLURT’s previous incarnation, Harp. But what to do when you’re behind
the velvet rope? Say you’re backstage after a Guided by Voices show, and very
high (on weed). There’s a deli tray, and the band has called out for pizza. Is
it okay to enjoy the meats and cheeses, even if they offer? ‘Cause I saw some
guys decimate GBVs victuals one night. “If it’s been abandoned, sure.
Otherwise, nobody wants a stranger eating their food. If they offer, yeah – If
Aerosmith doesn’t want me eating their cold cuts, then they shouldn’t suggest
it… They ate all of Guided by Voices’
food? [laughing] Basically, I
recommend not being insanely high and having a sense of manners.”
Although The Will to
Whatevs is comedy, is there some aspect of it that would actually help someone?
“The stuff in it that’s clearly a lie is something people shouldn’t do. The
thing is, all self-help books basically tell you, ‘Okay, be confident and try
something! Don’t stay home and cry!’ So I feel like if anybody read [my book]
and said, ‘I’m gonna go write a song’ or start a band, then that’s fine.”
Use Science to Blow
Away the World
In the book, Eugene says to do what Einstein did-which he
regrets not doing-and blow the world away with genius scientific breakthroughs.
“I’d highly recommend that.” But isn’t he now, with this book, making genius observations
in the area of social science? “
[laughs] Yes, I’m
now doing what I should’ve done in high school, which was write a self-help
Letting Go of the
The book uses aspects of Eugene’s life to teach a few
serious lessons about self-worth, anxiety and letting go of the past. Namely,
he talks about being both the little Russian immigrant and the new kid in
school, and how it once prompted a classmate to set Eugene’s hair ablaze. How
do you let go of something like that? “It’s not great, getting your hair set on
fire. How do you let go of the past? You have to like yourself… and move on. Join
a club or do a fun activity, practice guitar. Do something that makes you feel
good about yourself. Yeah, people do horrible things. But are you gonna be mad
at a nine-year-old forever? You big baby. That’s what I say to them. Kids are
like tiny soldiers that are trained to commit atrocities against each other.”
[It should be noted that, years later, Eugene’s
classmate included this incident on his Alcoholics Anonymous amends-making
Bonus: Eugene’s Financial Tips
For These Troubled Economic Times
1: Start a business that generates money on the side. Maybe involve Google Ads.
2: Don’t go out to eat as much.
3: And when you buy food, only buy cheap string beans.
Follow Eugene Mirman
on Twitter. Seriously. No, really. You think it’s easy being hilarious in 140
characters or less? We’ve been following him for ages now. You’ll be glad you did.
Dig it: http://twitter.com/EugeneMirman