Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Eugene Mirman on using comedy to push through tough times

The documentary It Started As A Joke begins as a chronicle of the 10th and final Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival, an independent fest started on a lark by Bob’s Burgers Eugene Mirman. As explained by comics like Kumail Nanjiani and Kristen Schaal, Mirman is essentially a founding father of the Brooklyn comedy scene (Schaal calls him the original “influencer”), and the festival’s success is a testament to his impact. But, true to its title, there’s a bit more on the documentary’s mind; we’re also introduced to Mirman’s wife, Katie Westfall Tharp, and learn how the two fell in love, had a son, moved to Cape Cod, and fought through Tharp’s cancer diagnosis and later recurrence.

Tragically, Tharp died this past January, almost a year after It Started As A Joke premiered at SXSW. In its depiction of her kind spirit, the film now doubles as a bittersweet tribute to a loved one gone too soon, and Mirman is happy to put the film out into the world in her honor. Last week, we logged on to Zoom for a virtual chat with Mirman to discuss the long road to It Started As A Joke’s premiere and its status as a permanent memory of Tharp for their three-year-old son.

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It Started As A Joke is available now on VOD via Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, FandangoNow, Sony, and Microsoft Xbox.

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