Even if you don't know Dan Mintz's comedy, you may well have heard his distinctive monotone, which he's used to voice Tina Belcher, the breakout star character of Bob's Burgers, for the last five years.
With that knowledge in mind, it can be shocking to hear the stand-up work on Mintz's first comedy album The Stranger, out from Comedy Central Records last week. With one-liner after one-liner, he plumbs controversial subjects and works to surprise the listener with every punchline. "When I die, I'd like to leave my money to homeless people," he says during one characteristically surreal moment. "My wife and kids."
Between Bob's Burgers and writing for the Fox sitcom Mulaney and the Comedy Central reality spoof Nathan for You, Mintz is helping to shape some of the most talked-about comedies of the moment. Over the phone, I spoke with him about his stand-up, acting, and writing.
David Sims: How does it work to decide what's going to go on the album? Some of the jokes on The Stranger I've been hearing for a long time, some I didn't really know. What's your process considering you have to pack so many jokes into the album?
Dan Mintz: I've been doing standup for 15 years; usually you wouldn't take this much time to release your first album. I think my oldest joke I wrote in 1999 or 2000, so I felt a little bad for people who have been following me to do old jokes. But it felt like my first album is the first thing I've done where I had total control over how it was put together, so I just wanted it to be the set that I could be the most happy with. It wasn't hard to pick, the hard thing was getting enough jokes that I was happy enough with, because my jokes are like 15 seconds. You'd think 15 years is a long time, but it's really easy to go for years, especially if you're doing other stuff like writing, and just forget about standup. It was basically when I finally decided I had 45 minutes I was happy with.