‘It Started as a Joke:’ Laughter and tears at beloved Brooklyn comedy fest
Arts festivals can be truly life-changing. They can also be ripe for mockery, which is what happened to comedian Eugene Mirman and his friends back in 2008. Their good-natured satire, the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival, surprised them by becoming the real deal, selling out shows and running for a decade. “It Started as a Joke,” a documentary set in the last year of the fest, looks at how it became a beacon for talent, and a place of catharsis for personal tragedy. Jim Gaffigan, Janeane Garofalo, Kumail Nanjiani, John Hodgman, Ira Glass, Mike Birbiglia, Jon Glaser, Kristen Schaal, Bobcat Goldthwait, Michael Showalter, Michael Che and Bridget Everett are among the many names who played the festival, which had its final event in 2018.