Eugene Mirman

At the SP20 Comedy Night last year, Eugene Mirman performed a gut-busting set before totally unprepared headliner David Cross. It was all the more reason to keep championing a comic who’d previously put his missteps on display like a kid tacking his C+ homework to the refrigerator. Now the hard-working Mirman has creatively leaped bounds beyond his alt-comedy contemporaries with his latest effort, which is not another DVD of sketches and stand-up, but rather a 200-page mockery of every self-help book you’ve ever read (or not). The Will to Whatevs: A Guide to Modern Life (Harper Perennial, $13.99) will probably be funniest to those already familiar with his comedic delivery, which leans heavily on irony, and his observations on the absurdities in pop culture. (Example: Best way to make a baby cry? Act out an episode of The Wire with hand puppets!) Yet Mirman offers moments of startling clarity: When defending his authority to dish out advice, he writes, “In America, ‘authority’ is an attitude. And I’ve adopted it.” And earned it. BRIAN J. BARR

Wed., Feb. 18, 7 p.m., 2009

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