Eugene Mirman Is Starting A Comedy Label With Sub Pop
There’s something very “old school cool” about the idea of starting a record label — it has an old world charm that evokes the sound of scratching vinyl and the sensation of wiping dust from a paperboard cover.
Eugene Mirman is returning to a time when comedians sold albums just like soul singers or rock and roll bands, and he’s doing it with the help of one of the biggest names in music history — the standup comedian and Bob’s Burgers voice actor has partnered with Sub Pop to form Pretty Good Friends Records, a comedy label that will produce and release albums from comics such as Maeve Higgins, Jon Glaser and Bobcat Goldthwait.
Break out your turntables, slip into your bell-bottoms and prepare your ears for dog barks and fart sounds coming out of a plastic keytar, because Gene Belcher is turning back the clock on comedy.
Pretty Good Friends wasn't always a label. It started as a weekly variety show founded by Mirman and director/producer Julie Smith Clem in 2006. As the profiles of the co-founders grew, so did the project, which evolved into a production company responsible for the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival (EMCF). The show ran from 2008-2017 in Brooklyn, and featured some of the biggest names in New York comedy — figures like Aziz Ansari, Chelsea Peretti, Hannibal Buress, Kumail Nanjiani, Sarah Silverman, John Mulaney and John Oliver all graced the stage of the EMCF at some point during its prestigious 10-year run.
The creation of the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival and the history of the project were the subject of the Pretty Good Friends-produced feature length documentary It Started As A Joke, which premiered at SXSW in 2019. As the title suggests, the origin of the festival was originally a joke shared by Mirman, Clem, and Mike Birbiglia, but the festival grew into a keystone event in the New York comedy circuit before its climactic final year, which was one of the main focuses of the documentary.
Mirman himself has been a mainstay on alternative comedy TV shows that lend themselves to cult followings — his roles on Flight of the Conchords, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and, of course, Bob’s Burgers have made his distinct voice one of the most recognizable in TV comedy. But with the launch of Pretty Good Friends Records, it’s the voices of Mirman’s favorite friends and comedians that he’s looking to amplify.
"One of the most exciting things about starting a comedy record label for fun with your friends is the array of confusing lawsuits happening around audio rights right now," Mirman told Brooklyn Vegan. "But we are committed to endeavors that make little sense business-wise, but give us opportunities to hang out with friends and make stuff that makes us laugh."
Nothing about starting a comedy record label in 2022 makes much sense but making sense is clearly not the point of Pretty Good Friends Records, which will celebrate the release of its inaugural album by Maeve Higgins on November 16th at The Bell House in Brooklyn, and will feature sets from Higgins, Goldthwait, and naturally “surprise guests.”
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