Eugene Mirman might be the busiest Belcher family member on ‘Bob’s Burgers,’ between his role on the show, live comedy tour and new Audible series. We caught up at the Boston Calling Music Festival to hear about all of those projects, plus if we’ll ever get another season of ‘Flight of the Conchords!’
This interview with Eugene Mirman has been edited and condensed for clarity.
What’s going on with you?
I just finished some shows, and I have a couple of live Bob’s Burgers shows — we just put out an album of music. I just had a son [Oliver] in August, so I’m home a lot with my son and my wife.
Yes, I saw that Bob’s Burgers will be live, but it’s very upsetting because that’s in Los Angeles. Where’s the New York show?
[Laughs] Yeah, there’s just the two LA shows right now!
So, my initial draw to Bob’s was the Flight of the Conchords presence — you played Gene the landlord on the show, and Kristen Schaal played Mel. Was that part of how the show came together, or did you just show up and realize, “Kristen’s here?”
Oh, no. Loren Bouchard, who created the show, is someone I knew from Boston in the late nineties. We worked on Dr. Katz and he also made a show called Home Movies with Brendon Small. I was roommates with him for a few years in the late nineties in Boston. We spent about two years working on the 8-minute demo called “Bob’s Burgers” and we would go in and record, and get feedback. Loren, working for a long time with Fox, developed it. And then one day we were told it was picked up. So then we all got involved. Everyone working on the show has known each other; I’ve known Kristen for 16 or 17 years and I’d also met Jon Benjamin in the late nineties.
I love that you had Rhys Darby on, too. When you look back on FOTC, what are some of your favorite memories?
Shooting; hanging out. The tour [in 2016] was really, really fun, too. Hanging out with Kristen on set.
It was too short. Two seasons?!
Yeah, you know they [Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement] are from New Zealand, and I think they both had kids around that time and really wanted to be home. I had met them through doing shows in New York through Demetri Martin. A lot of the stuff I’ve been working on is just with people I’ve known for a long time.
Did you really work as a landlord to bring authenticity to the Eugene character?
Have I ever been a landlord? [Laughs] Not yet, but anything is possible.
Would you ever join FOTC again if it got picked up or renewed?
Yeah! It was really fun to do, yeah yeah. If they ever make a movie or anything, I hope I’m their landlord.
What about your musical endeavors besides the steel drum solo in “You Don’t Have To Be A Prostitute?”
My musical ambitions are Bob’s Burgers-based. They’re written by Loren and the people in charge of music. They [play the music], that’s an animated thing.
Do you have a keyboard like Gene Belcher’s?
I actually have a keyboard! A fan in San Diego gave me one. I think he collects them and gave me an extra. I used to have that exact keyboard and so did Loren, so that’s how it got into the show.
Where do you see Gene going in terms of developemnt?
You know, it’s funny because everyone remains the same age but they still grow, and it’s pretty interesting to see that. I don’t know if I have a particular place I want him to go. It’s just really fun to work with everybody and I hope it goes forever.
Which is your favorite “this is me now!” character?
Is that written into the script, where you need to shout a phrase, or is it something you do when you feel like it?
You read the script a few times through, and then you read the lines, and sometimes you can improvise. “This is me now!” is something the writers wrote for that intended scene. But other times it can go off the rails.
I want to talk a little bit about your Audible series Hold On. For those who haven’t listened, what’s it about?
I have people tell their story and then I ask them questions. Sort of an interview, but about one specific story.
Who have you loved having on?
Jon Benjamin. I don’t know if it’s aired yet, but he told a really funny story. Kristen Schaal. It just went online and she told a really wonderful story. Weird Al; he is very sweet. Busy Phillips — she was on and she did a really, really funny story. It was a live one. It’s a really fun show.
Who would you love to have on next?
Zach Galifianakis, Jenny Slate, I love Amy Schumer, Aziz [Ansari] — oh, Patton [Oswalt], I love Patton.
Tune in for a special Bob’s Burgers episode Sunday 8:30/7:30c on Jun 11, and get tickets to “Bob’s Burgers Live” here!