Best of 2022: Eugene Mirman on Welcome to Chippendales

The comedian, who has a new festive song with Lucy Wainwright Roche, “How Do You Lie to Your Child About Santa,” dishes on his favorite new TV show.

I love the new show Welcome to Chippendales – about how the Chippendales dancers became a cultural sensation in the ’80s and ‘90s, against a backdrop of dark criminal activity – which my friend Kumail Nanjiani plays the lead role in. I feel like it captures the era so well and it’s a really fascinating story that I previously knew nothing about. Before watching the show, the name “Chippendales” was a brand I’d heard of, but I didn’t know any of the background or the history. I know much more about it now than I did before. The performances are incredible and watching a compelling, (somewhat) factual mystery unfold feels very different than a lot of stuff in the world right now.

At first, I watched it because Kumail is in it and I love him, but then I just really enjoyed the show. I adore seeing how Kumail and other friends and collaborators are so prominently in the world right now and making really neat things.

Even though Kumail is largely in things that are either comedies or fun action movies, his acting in Welcome to Chippendales is amazing. He’s really intense and conveys so much emotion through a lot of subtleties. I’m guessing his character arc is going to get even darker, but it’s unfolding to me one episode at a time and I haven’t looked ahead and spoiled it for myself.

I watch true-crime dramas like this sporadically, when they catch my attention. It isn’t necessarily my wheelhouse, but I do really enjoy it. I’ll try lots of shows somewhat at random, if they look interesting or funny to me. That means that sometimes I really love them and sometimes I’m like, “Oh, this isn’t for me …”

I do get inspired watching really great shows like Welcome to Chippendales, but I would almost say I get more ideas from things I watch that are terrible than I do from something that makes me say, “That’s really wonderful.” I loved the new season of Star Trek: Discovery and thought this past season was really great, but although I generally love sci-fi and fantasy, I don’t work in that world at all. Though I do watch a fair amount of comedies, the things I enjoy and the things I make tend to be pretty different.

Eugene Mirman is probably best known as the voice of Eugene Belcher on the animated comedy Bob’s Burgers, but he’s also a veteran of the alt-comedy world with many albums and countless live performances under his belt. He’s the subject of It Started As A Joke, a documentary about the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival, and his song with Lucy Wainwright Roche, “How Do You Lie To Your Child About Santa,” is now available to stream and as limited-edition vinyl via his label, PGF Records.