Jokes, with Theremin

Comedians David Cross and Jon Benjamin’s show “Toddless Tinkle,” the comedy trio “Tinkle” (sans a prior engaged Todd Barry), was the headliner and rowdiest show last weekend at the third annual Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival. The jokes started before the festival did, when fans bought tickets to shows with titles like “Why Do I Know Everything About Everyone At This French Diner?: An Evening of Espionage Themed Comedy Celebrating Our Love of the Bourne Trilogy and All Things Spy” and “A Night of Gay or Foreign Comedy.”  (PHOTO BY AUSTIN NELSON)

Mr. Mirman appeared in almost every show in the festival. He delivered one-liners while playing a theremin.  Some of the biggest (fit to print) laugh-getters included, “Hungry? Try S’barro’s! It’s great Italian food, if you’re a raccoon!” followed by the ring of a poorly maneuvered theremin) and “I never think about how Stephen Hawking is British, because he doesn’t sound British.” (More theremin).  In addition, he found the time to sit in a dunk tank while John Oliver and Daniel Kitson clumsily tossed baseballs at the target below a sign that read “Help Us Pay For This Stupid Dunk Tank–$5”.

David Cross and Jon Benjamin’s performance the final evening saw them attempting to find a replacement for their third member, Todd Barry, who was across town opening up for Superchunk. Mr. Cross and Mr. Benjamin pulled audience members up one at a time for the fake auditions in the realest of real life situations. The four so eventually tried their best Todd Barry were playing for prizes, like DVDs of the TV shows Home Movies and Delocated, a gift card for $1000 off a luxury jet purchase, and a Mont Blanc pen engraved with Mr. Cross’s initials.  The Todds, as they were called, were fodder for Mr. Cross and Mr. Benjamin’s improv work. Jon Benjamin warned one player, “Don’t look at me in the eye, Todd!  Todd never looks at us in the eye!” After being prompted to go into the crowd and talk to the audience, one contestant unknowingly approached the guitar player from Yo La Tengo and asked him, “Has anyone ever told you you look like Gilbert Gottfried?” Cross berated him, “That’s our good friend Ira, Todd! He’s a very famous musician and a good friend of ours!”