In comedy and cooking, Bob’s Burgers star Eugene Mirman loves a project. He has a stand-up bit about how he bought a laminating machine to make fake signs to leave in restaurant bathrooms, next to the hand washing signs. (One example: "Do not use your cell phone ever again.") In the kitchen he cures his own salmon, makes soup dumplings, and attempts to whip up hand-pulled noodles from scratch.
For Eugene, comedy and cooking are outlets — ways to cope in difficult times. And as you see in a new documentary about his life and career called It Started As a Joke, Eugene has had more than his share to cope with in recent years. He calls the documentary his most personal project to date. This week we talk about all that. Plus he tells us what he has in common with his character on Bob's Burgers, and reads some of the darkly hilarious Daily Quarantine Routines he's been sharing on social media.
Eugene and Dan also bond over the Eastern European pancakes they each grew up eating, and that they've been turning to lately in stressful times. Here are their recipes...
Eugene Mirman’s Oladyi with Apples
1 cup of strawberry kefir (or 1 cup unsweetened kefir and 1 tbsp of sugar)
1.5 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tsp of baking soda
2 apples, peeled and cut into small pieces
Mix eggs and kefir in a bowl. Add baking soda, flour, and apples.
Heat oil in a pan over medium-low heat and pour 1/3 cup of batter for each pancake (four or so pancakes at a time depending on pan). Cover and cook 3-4 minutes, then flip and cook another 2-4 minutes or until they’re done.
Dan's Mom's Cottage Cheese Pancakes
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
Whisk together and spoon into a buttered nonstick pan like any other pancakes. Just note that the surface won't form little bubbles like with other pancakes, so you have to watch the edges to see when they start to brown before flipping. They should remain a little moist in the center.
Interstitial music in this episode by Black Label Music:
- "Feel Real Good Instrumental" by William Van De Crommert
- "Django On A Leash" by Jack Ventimiglia
- "Shake and Bake" by Hayley Briasco
- "Morning Blues" by JT Bates
- "Minimaliminal" by Black Label Productions
- "Enigmatic Rhodes" by Stephen Clinton Sullivan
- "Can't Bring Me Down" by Jack Ventimiglia
Photos courtesy of David Andrako and Dan Pashman.
CLIP( EUGENE MIRMAN): At a lot of restaurants, as you know, in the bathroom it'll say—there will be a sign that says like, "Employee must wash hands". And I always wanted to add like—they made me really want to add signs to restaurant bathrooms.
Dan Pashman: This is comedian Eugene Mirman, in one of his stand up specials. Eugene is an absurdist. He’ll go to extreme lengths to land a joke. Like, as he told the crowd, that time he decided to put his own signs in restaurant bathrooms...
CLIP (EUGENE MIRMAN): But if I just put a sign there, I know that people would just think a person put a sign there. And I was sort of like, what would make it seem official? And I decided that that line was lamination. You know, if you laminate a sign and put—nobody thinks somebody would buy a laminating machine as a joke. And so I bought a laminating machine and I've been going around New York City and adding signs. Just a pretty official looking sign underneath the regular sign. And here are just some of the signs that I've been putting up. "Please do not flush socks down toilet", "Please wash feet before returning to work", "Do not use your cellphone ever again", "Your child is being raised wrong", and then, lastly, "There are officially no more snakes here". Thank you.
Dan Pashman: This is The Sporkful. It’s not for foodies, it’s for eaters. I’m Dan Pashman. Each week on our show we obsess about food to learn more about people. How are you doing out there? I hope that you are doing as well as possible. I hope you are staying safe and healthy. Things are going as well as I could hope for me and my family. I will say I've noticed that I've been breaking a lot of plates, dishes, bowls, mugs, spoons. And before you statisticians write me, "Yes, I've crunched the numbers and I don't think that just the fact that I'm home and using my dishes a lot more fully accounts for the increase in breakage." And I think maybe it's stress. I'm gripping things so hard. I'm scrubbing a bowl and it's all soapy and wet and I'm squeezing it and it flies out of my hands and crashes on the ground. So I threw this up on social media and a lot of you responded that you feel like you're having the same issue. And so I want to hear from you. What did you break? What is the story behind the thing you broke? Why was that mug or plate or spoon possibly special to you? And I want to hear the story of how you broke it. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If we get a lot of responses, maybe we'll do a whole show about it. That's email@example.com. Okay, let's get into it.
Dan Pashman: Eugene Mirman is probably best known as the voice of Gene Belcher, the 11-year-old son on the animated TV show, Bob’s Burgers. He’s also the focus of a new documentary called It Started As A Joke. It features some of the most personal work of his career. As you’ll hear, for him, cooking often serves the same purpose as comedy. Both are outlets and ways to find something joyful during tough times. In his comedy, Eugene uses absurdity as a form of commentary, a social critique. He once took out a full-page ad in a newspaper in New Hampshire to protest a $15 parking ticket he got there. But while most comics in this vein are ranters, Eugene’s more of a giggler who comes armed with a laminating machine. Or in the case of a bit from another comedy special, some finger paintings. When Whole Foods opened in Brooklyn, Eugene mocked their attempts to show off their hipster cred.
CLIP( EUGENE MIRMAN): Brooklyn Whole Foods, partnering with local artists. Ohh, they're gonna display the painting of local artists like me. But I brought my paintings. So each one has a sort of locally themed title and they're very pretty. And I just want them displayed at Whole Foods and I won't stop until I win.
Dan Pashman: Eugene pulls out actual canvases.
CLIP (EUGENE MIRMAN): So here are my paintings.
Dan Pashman: His paintings of stick figures.
CLIP (EUGENE MIRMAN): This one is called, "Gender neutral child learning about the conflict in Egypt". This painting is, "Curly haired thirty-eight-year-old with several gay friends ordering kale". This is, "Couple under a tree wishing they were bi-racial". You can see it right next to raspberries. This is, "Vegan on his way to the complain store". I would pay to have this displayed, right by cabbage.
Dan Pashman: Did Whole Foods ever end up displaying your art?
Eugene Mirman: You know—so...I mean, the quick answer is no. But I will say that I think after I performed the bit on the Seth Meyers Show, I was in touch with a local Whole Foods that, I think, at first was like, "Maybe...", and then quickly I never heard back.
Dan Pashman: With the coronavirus pandemic, Eugene is holed up at home, right now. And lately he’s been writing Daily Quarantine Routines that have been a big hit on social media. So I asked him to read one.
7:00 a.m. Wake up and eat a loaf of homemade fortified yogurt.
8:00 a.m. Finally, make a list of people you'd marry.
10:00 a.m Google that video where those southern frat guys denied butt chugging.
1:00 p.m. Put lamb's blood on your door in the off chance COVID-19 will skip over.
2:00 p.m. Write a pornographic film about the Manhattan Project (add secretaries, if needed).
5:00 p.m. Makeshift pizza bagels with vegan cheese and cinnamon sprinkles.
7:00 p.m. Learn guitar and start a Radiohead cover band.
10:00 p.m Text random number and unsolvable riddle.
Dan Pashman: These daily routines aren’t the only thing Eugene is sharing on Instagram right now. He’s also been posting some of his culinary projects. And as I told him, I am very impressed.
Eugene Mirman: Thank you.
Dan Pashman: You're curing salmon?
Eugene Mirman: Yes, but that's something I do often. So I live partially on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. That's where I moved from New York. So there's a really wonderful seafood store called Clam Man. I bought some awesome salmon there. Some clam pies. It's where I often go to—it's actually where I get all my seafood. They're really great.
Dan Pashman: I just want to establish the fact that I perceived that you are a person who does put thought and care into cooking.
Eugene Mirman: Yes, I find it enjoyable. I mean, especially—so I love food and when I left New York and moved to Cape Cod, there's a lot of wonderful seafood places but there aren't a lot of sort of authentic restaurants and stuff like that, as there might be in a major city. So a lot of things—if I wanted some sort of spicy sichuan chicken, I would sort of have to make it or try to make it. And so I would make like drunken chicken. And I might in the coming weeks try to make hand-pulled noodles, though I will probably fail. The one time I tried to make soup dumplings, I succeeded in making the sort of gelatinous mixture that would go inside it, but I think I bought dumpling wrappers and just—it didn't work.
Dan Pashman: Right.
Eugene Mirman: But I've occasionally succeeded at things like it.
Dan Pashman: I guess I feel like there's one sort of love to cook personality type that is the sort of, "Let's see what we have in the fridge. Throw it all together." And there's the, "Today, I'm making this."
Eugene Mirman: Yes.
Dan Pashman: Cooking type. And I'm gonna go out and find the recipe. I'm gonna go out and get the ingredients. I'm gonna plan one or two or three days in advance for this event.
Eugene Mirman: Yeah, yeah yeah. Yes.
Dan Pashman: And you strike me as the second one.
Eugene Mirman: Yes, I am but I also have a lot of time right now.
Dan Pashman: So we establish that you like a project in the kitchen.
Eugene Mirman: Yeah.
Dan Pashman: And it occurs to me that your comedy also kind of involves these projects or missions. Like, I'm gonna buy a laminator. I'm gonna laminate signs and put them in bathrooms. Or I'm gonna take out this ad or I'm gonna send these letters.
Eugene Mirman: Yup.
Dan Pashman: And I do see a similar kind of approach there. Like what is it about that that you like? Is it sort of like having a mission of sorts?
Eugene Mirman: I mean I like having a project. Also, some of it is now I have salmon for a few weeks. You know?
Dan Pashman: Like you can't eat laminated signs, Eugene.
Eugene Mirman: No, but you can perform them on television. You know? So if you make a bit—you come up with a thing, like a letter, and you take out an ad. You can tour around the country and I see everything is the bits and those things as just like these sort of fun weird projects. And in terms of cooking projects, I just really like—I like gathering around food. To me, that's an important thing. And that's also something that's sort of within my control, like I can buy things and make them and have people over. I mean, not now but maybe sometime in 2021?
Dan Pashman: Right, right.
Dan Pashman: Eugene may be staying home, but he isn’t just cooking for himself. He also has a 3 ½ year old son, Oliver. Another one of Eugene’s recent cooking projects was hash brown waffles. He shredded the potatoes. He added cheese and eggs, and he put it all in a waffle iron. It looked amazing, he posted a pic and recipe on Instagram. And he wrote, “I’d add herbs and stuff but I was hoping my 3-year-old would eat it. So I kept it plain.” And I gotta say that really resonated with me. When you're a parent, who loves food and loves a lot of different flavors and ingredients, you're always butting up against that frustration. Some days you're like, screw it. I'm gonna cook what I like. Someone's gotta take care of me, sometimes. You know? And then other times you're like, "Okay, fine. I won't put the green bits in because I know you wont eat it with the green bits. Even though, I'm pretty sure you can't even taste the damn things. Then, there are the days when you go to extreme lengths to give your kids what they want.
Dan Pashmen: You recently instagrammed the dadd-shaped muffin.
Eugene Mirman: Yes. Yes.
Dan Pashman: He requested a muffin shaped like you. And the mold that you used to shape the muffin looked like a cookie cutter that you had refashioned into your own form.
Eugene Mirman: Well yeah, I think it's a gingerbread cookie cutter. I didn't like—no, it's like a large gingerbread man cookie cutter or something. Yeah.
Dan Pashman: Really? It looked like misshapen somehow.
Eugene Mirman: It looks mis-shappened, yes. I agree but I didn't mis-shape it. And he had the request and so I was like—well because I had a muffin tin and I was gonna make muffins. Then he was like, "I want a daddy-shaped muffin." And I was like, "Let's see what we have." And I was like, "We have this. It's a slightly off-kilter looking person. I don't know what's wrong with them but it's person-shaped. And he was like, "Yeah. This is what we're doing."
Dan Pashman: Alright.
Eugene Mirman: And then he was of neutral interest. He ate a leg.
Dan Pashman: Suffice it to say, daddy-shaped muffins were not on the menu when Eugene was growing up. He was born in Moscow. His family moved to Lexington, Massachusetts when he was 4.
Dan Pashman: Did you feel foreign, as a kid.
Eugene Mirman: Yes, yes. It was the Cold War and I was from Russia. So yeah. Yes, people called me a commi and stuff like that. And little did they know how much I thought communism was flawed.
Dan Pashman: What are some of your early food memories growing up in the U.S. with your parents coming from Russia?
Eugene Mirman: I mean, for a long time, I feel like whenever—there was a few Chinese restaurants in our town and I think I would go. And then my mom would always order steamed broccoli and boiled rice. And I just thought, why do people go to this restaurant? Why does anyone eat these steamed very—you know, I think like a year later we went out with friends to some place and there was a lazy Susan with all these different stuff. And I was like, "Oh, you've been hiding.", but this was the most incredible stuff in the world. And then, I think also just my early food memories are New Year's or Thanksgiving at our friend's house with lots of friends and family. And a lot of Russian food that I still love, like pastirma, which is this cured meat that's delicious. And just like mushroom salads and perogies and various things like that.
Dan Pashman: There’s one food from Eugene’s childhood that remains a favorite in his house today. Oladyi, small, kind of thick, dense pancakes.
Eugene Mirman: I mean, I make oladyi with apples, which is basically like sort of kafir based pancakes with apples. It's a common sort of Russian thing. It's something that I had as a kid and now—and that's something actually I do make for my son and he loves.
Dan Pashman: Right. Did you ever have cottage cheese pancakes?
Eugene Mirman: Not really, because I hated cottage cheese. And I've tried it, a little, in the last year or two,where I'm like, "Maybe I don't hate it." And I was like, "No, this is pasty and weird.", I was right as a kid. It's one of the only foods I don't really like.
Dan Pashman: Right. That's like one of the sort of old school eastern European foods that I grew up with.
Eugene Mirman: Uh-huh.
Dan Pashman: And every Tuesday night at my house was cottage cheese pancake night. It's funny because I just—I mean I hadn't had cottage cheese pancakes in years. It must be something about the time we're all going through right now that I just have been especially craving foods from childhood.
Eugene Mirman: Yeah.
Dan Pashman: I was like, "I'm gonna make cottage cheese pancakes." And it's mostly cottage cheese and sour cream with a little flour and a dash of baking soda, salt, and sugar.
Eugene Mirman: Yup.
Dan Pashman: And I enjoy them a lot. My older daughter, Becky, and my wife both like them. My younger one, who's pickier, insisted on having cereal which is a little but sacrilegious to me.
Eugene Mirman: Yeah.
Dan Pashman: But it was like—it definitely scratched the nostalgia itch that I wanted it to scratch.
Eugene Mirman: Yes. Yeah, as do for me—the apple pancakes.
Dan Pashman: Picturing Eugene as a kid, really excited about a big plate of pancakes, it’s easy to see why he was cast in the role of Gene, the 11-year-old boy in the animated TV show Bob’s Burgers. Here’s Gene with his sisters, you’ll hear Louise and Tina first, then Gene talks about an experience he had with some tacos...
CLIP (LOUISE): Yes, that's it. Let's put hot sauce in their underwear.
CLIP (TINA): Does that even do anything?
CLIP (GENE): Yeah, if there's one thing a wiener hates it's hot sauce. I learned that the hard way.
CLIP (GENE): [memory] Mmm, taco on the toilet. Why doesn't everybody do this? Ahhhh!!! 11 years old and still learning everyday.
Dan Pashman: That combination of wanting to eat a taco on the toilet, then finding joy and even wonder in the ensuing crotch disaster—that’s pretty much Gene right there. Just add to it a big heart. Like the time the family thought an axe murderer was about to break down their door…
CLIP (GENE): Dad?
CLIP (BOB): Yes?
CLIP (GENE): I feel like you’re doing a really good job as a dad.
CLIP (BOB): Thank you, Gene.
CLIP (GENE): I'm having a good childhood.
CLIP (BOB): Okay, great.
CLIP (GENE): Not right now, but overall.
CLIP (BOB): I got it, thanks.
CLIP (GENE): No, thank you.
CLIP (BOB): Okay.
CLIP (GENE): Thank you for your service.
CLIP (BOB): Just try and be quiet.
Eugene Mirman: I think was Gene is is like me if I was 11, now. I mean, he probably talks about vindaloo more than—and a lot of foods. He happens to like a lot of the 80s TV shows I grew up on and a lot of the foods that I like.
Dan Pashman: Food is a big part of Bob’s Burgers, as you'd expect. The show centers on the Belcher family, who run a burger joint in a small beach town. The three kids are each very quirky, but their parents really accept them as they are. The show can be strange and absurd, but it’s also kind-hearted—a lot like Eugene’s own comedy.
Dan Pashman: The father, Bob, he mans the grill and he's got a soft spot for puns. He features a different special burger in each episode and the name is always a pun. Some of my favorites include the "If Looks Could Kale Burger" and "The Cauliflower's Cumin From Inside the House Burger". Eugene says the writers have a rule for all the burger names. They must describe a burger that could actually be made. A Bob’s Burgers cookbook even came out a couple years ago. But while Eugene’s character Gene does like to eat, he might be even more passionate about the aftermath of eating. Yes, it’s time to talk about farts or sing about them, as Gene did in one memorable musical number.
What we want to do?
Open up your butt cheeks
This is how our butts' speak
Let's go fart
It's that gas from your ass
It's the heat from your poop
That hum from your bum
It's that loot in your chute
All that air from your own derriere
Come on and set it free
Cause farts are liberty
Cause farts will set you free
Eugene Mirman: Yeah, hopefully, maybe we can make—take the fart song and make one of those—like that "Imagine" video but with the "Fart song", with all the different celebrities singing different lines in their homes.
Dan Pashman: That would be so great. So I want to start to transition to talking about the documentary.
Eugene Mirman: Okay.
Dan Pashman: In a segue that I would feel uncomfortable making with anyone but you, Eugene, from fart jokes to cancer...
Eugene Mirman: Yes. That was the original title and then we were like, "Ohh, it doesn't fully connect."
Dan Pashman: Coming up, a comedian who’s spent his entire career being absurd, talks about the most personal project of his life. Stick around.
Dan Pashman: Welcome back to The Sporkful, I’m Dan Pashman. Hey, do you like crackers? Have you ever noticed that most crackers have little holes in them? Well those holes serve a very important purpose. And matzah, which is really a type of cracker, has more of those holes than most crackers. In last week’s show, we learned all about it. You're never gonna look at crackers or matzah the same way again. And I debate kosher law with a rabbi, and I ask him a question he’s never considered.
CLIP (RABBI YAAKOV HOROWITZ): I think that it's pretty fair to say that our little boat has drifted out of traditional Jewish waters here.
Dan Pashman: That episode is up now, it’s called "This Southern Baptist Is A Matzah Expert", check it out. Now, back to Eugene Mirman.
Dan Pashman: In 2008, he created the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival in Brooklyn to feature his friends really, many of whom are top comics. The festival’s focus was stand up, but it included plenty of classic Eugene touches, a bouncy castle with a therapist inside, a station where you can throw a water balloon at a slam poet, and a whole roast pig. Now the festival and Eugene’s life and career are the subject of a new documentary, called It Started As a Joke. What you see throughout the film is the same quality we’ve been talking about, Eugene’s knack for infusing his outlandish comedy with a warmth that draws people to him. H. Jon Benjamin plays Bob, the father on Bob’s Burgers. In the documentary, he tells the story of the first time he met Eugene.
CLIP (H. JON BENJAMIN): I was working with Loren Bouchard, who now does Bob's Burgers with us. We had befriended a local Cambridge chef, who owned kind of a fancy restaurant called Chez Henri, and Eugene came in. And he just sort of bounded in. I didn't know him. He just walked up and he grabbed my pork chop that was on my plate, like half eaten and sauce dripping off and he shoved it in his face and ate it. And then threw it on the ground and said, "This is unacceptable food! This preparation is...", and then he was like, "I am leaving. I am leaving this establishment.", and he stormed out. And he left and I was like, "Who was that? Like what happened?...I want to meet that guy."
Dan Pashman: The film tells the story of the 10-year-run of The Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival. But it also tells another story about something else happening at the same time.
CLIP (KATIE WESTFALL THARP): Eugene never talks about his personal life in his comedy, ever.
Dan Pashman: This is Eugene’s wife Katie. In 2011, when they were dating, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After treatment, it went into remission. But in 2014 it came back and it had spread. She was given 2 to 5 years to live. A year after that diagnosis, Eugene and Katie got married.
CLIP (KATIE WESTFALL THARP): It's almost just helpful for people to know. Like it's—you know, I'm comfortable with it now. So like—as much as I can be. So it's just sort of nice for people to know what I'm going through and to not feel alone and if it's something that he wants to talk about and explore—you know, that's great.
Dan Pashman: So as you see in the film, where Eugene once held up laminated bathroom signs or paintings for Whole Foods, he instead shares his home-made cancer greeting cards.
CLIP (EUGENE MIRMAN): Alright, here, my ice breakery cancer cards, "I can't imagine being too tired to get dressed. That's messed up. Here's a drawing of an anthropomorphic rhombus to cheer you up.", and then the rhombus is saying, "I hate metastasized breast cancer."
Dan Pashman: Some of Eugene’s cancer jokes bomb. Others go over pretty well. Either way, comedy is how he copes. He’s just never used comedy to cope with something so hard.
Dan Pashman: How are you feelings about something so personal coming out?
Eugene Mirman: I don't know. It's both—I think people in general finding it a sort of warm movie and it's sort of hard and strange but I think it's also sort of sweet. And hopefully people will connect to it and it will, I don't know, be sort of—I think it is also sort of fitting for the times, now. You know? In terms of something being sort of both so hard and also sort of you have to joke to get through it.
Dan Pashman: Katie lived for 6 years after getting the diagnosis that the cancer had spread. She died in January, just a few months ago. Eugene says fighting the disease all those years changed a lot of things about their lives. Including the role of food.
Eugene Mirman: There'd be periods of time that were like a year, where she was on a treatment that was working but she was too tired to go somewhere. Or like in the morning she would think, "Oh maybe we'll go to this place for dinner." And then by 4:00 p.m., it would be clear that, actually, she needs to sleep. So I think just like in general, priorities changed as things change.
Dan Pashman: You mean there are things more important than dinner Eugene?
Eugene Mirman: Well, what's funny is yes and no. Because sometimes going out to dinner you felt like you did something. It felt like a sense of accomplishment to go for dinner. It felt like you were being active.
Dan Pashman: There's a photo that you share on Instagram of you and Katie, last August in Tuscany. What are some of your memories from that trip?
Eugene Mirman: We were Tuscany and then we were also in Rome, for a few days and I think that photo might be from this—I don't know it's like a hotel that we were at that had this—we had this wonderful meal at with friends. Actually, I went to a butcher shop there and that was really, really neat. It was like a friend translating as the butcher explained how they did all these different things. And that was really, really neat. There was some place near where we stayed in Rome, where we went and had pasta and it was just really, really good. You know? And some of it was just that you'd buy a gelato that you were like, "This is amazing." And the truth is we didn't Katie would be okay enough to go on that trip until sort of—we kind of never planned anything more than basically 3 or 4 weeks out because that's sort how quickly something could change. And so kind of at some point, I think in July or late June, we were like, "Okay, I think we might be able to go."
Dan Pashman: When you're on a trip like that, that is special and you're with friends and having this great time, do you ever have moments where you forget?
Eugene Mirman: No. I mean, you appreciate what you have and you know that it isn't permanent. So there's always these elements that are always present but it doesn't mean that you can't have moments of joy and you can't do things that are fun and revelatory. And I think it's not that you forget, it's just more that you have both.
Dan Pashman: Now, with his 3 ½ year old son, Eugene is not only dealing with his wife’s recent death but with the new reality we all find ourselves in.
Eugene Mirman: It is extremely strange going from sort of cancer and then hospice and sort of funeral to all of a sudden—then just like talking to my son about everything and then all of a sudden we're just like, "Oh, now we're quarantined for two months," or something like that. And we can't go anywhere and don't touch doorknobs. But a lot of things like we had a lot of hand sanitizer because Katie was compromised. So I often spent weeks at home because that's just what needed to happen. So some of what's happening is not—and it's also like when we live on the Cape. I would be home and I would cook a lot. I would very often make her the oladyi with apples. The apple pancakes, that was something she really really liked.
Dan Pashman: When Katie was sick, Eugene had two important ways of coping, comedy, and cooking. Now, because of coronavirus, he can’t do much comedy.
Dan Pashman: That's like the sick absurd joke of this quarantine, especially in your situation. It's like not only do you hold up solo parenting a 3 ½ year-old, just after your wife died but on top of that your major outlet involves standing up in front of giant groups of people.
Eugene Pashman: Yes, my job—most people's jobs involve other people. Mine involves a lot of COVID-19 heavy activities.
Dan Pashman: Right.
Eugene Pashman: Yeah, so...
Dan Pashman: But not just in that being your job but also sort of being your outlet.
Eugene Mirman: Yes, yes. That's true and being something that—yeah. There's most of the things I enjoy involving at least another one to a thousand people. When things are hard it's good to find whatever can be a little joyful. So for me, it's curing some salmon, I guess? And the idea that in three months, maybe a different salmon I can share with people.
Dan Pashman: That outlook finding joy in cured salmon, looking forward to being able to share it with friends again. It kinda reminds me of Gene, Eugene’s character on Bob’s Burgers.
Eugene Mirman: In terms of my positivity and Gene's? I don't know, I think positivity isn't that things are necessarily good. It's that the possibility of them being better. So I think the last months and years have been very very hard but I think at any given point, trying to do the best with what is available and what is possible is probably what I sort of think of as positivity. And I would in a sense say that Gene is similar, where whatever his situation is is what he's trying to make the best of.
Dan Pashman: Before we said goodbye, I asked him to read one more of his Daily Quarantine Routines.
7:00 a.m. Wake up and describe your dream to a bottle of pills.
8:00 a.m. Try to smile.
9:00 a.m. Eat a bowl of children's toothpaste.
10:00 a.m. Make a fire in your yard and cook the goat you ordered from goats.gov.
Sadly this is the only fully operational federal program we have.
1:00 p.m. Lunch of hot water and vitamins.
4:00 p.m. Remind yourself how much harder the people in the Matrix must of had it.
6:00 p.m. Call a Target and ask them if they can help you raise a child.
8:00 p.m. Sigh, mumble and shake your head.
10:00 p.m. Eat a goat leg and go to bed.
Dan Pashman: That’s Eugene Mirman. The documentary, It Started As a Joke, is on a bunch of the streaming places now. Want the recipe for Eugene’s apple pancakes and my cottage cheese pancakes? We’ll post both at sporkful.com.
Dan Pashman: Next week on the show, so many people say cookbook author Dorie Greenspan has the best recipes. So I go to her house to bake cookies with her to try to figure out why she’s so good at writing recipes. Yes, it was taped before coronavirus. That’s next week. Remember to send me your stories of broken plates, mugs, dishes. Tell me why the thing you broke was important to you, or the story of how you broke it, or both. Send that to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.