Eugene Mirman dishes on ‘It Started As a Joke’ as it heads to IFFBoston


The chronicle of the Lexington native’s final installment of his iconic annual festival marks its next big screen stop in Somerville this weekend.

The Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival thrived for 10 years before the final curtain was drawn in 2017, and now you’ll be able to see it’s legacy live on in the feature-length documentary It Started As a Joke, as it makes its way to Somerville Theatre as part of Independent Film Festival Boston this weekend.

On Sunday (April 28), comedy fans and cinephiles alike will have the chance to see the film, directed by Julie Smith Clem — who co-created the festival with the Bob’s Burgers actor — as it makes its second festival appearance, with only a showing at SXSW, which was met with a positive reception, in its rearview.

Needless to say, while Mirman admits that putting this story out there was tough to do, in terms of how personal of a story it is to him, the Lexington native is excited to see the film brought to another festival screen, and he’s hoping viewers find a connection in the film in addition to, of course, laughter. He’s also happy just to see the project come together in general and continue to cement the festival’s legacy beyond its annual Brooklyn residency.


“We hadn’t really recorded that many of the shows over the years, so it was nice documenting this final festival, and having so many people from that decade, and before and after, come together to sort of build a bit of a time capsule of an era,” Mirman tells Vanyaland.

The film chronicles the decade long-run of the Brooklyn-based festival, alongside interviews with a number of Mirman’s friends in comedy like Michael Ian Black, Reggie Watts, and John Hodgman, and includes — but is not limited to — festival performances by Mike Birbiglia, Jim Gaffigan, Janeane Garofalo and more.

For more on IFFBoston, check out of three-part preview here.


‘IT STARTED AS A JOKE’ AT INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL BOSTON :: Sunday, April 28 at Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Square, Somerville, MA :: 7:30 p.m., $12 to $20 :: IFFBoston event page