‘Bob’s Burgers’ cast heads to IMU

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CAB will present standup comedy featuring voice actors from the animated sitcom “Bob’s Burgers”. The CAB comedy director describes what he hopes they’ll provide for Iowa City.

By Sarah Stortz
sarah-stortz@uiowa.edu

Comedians H. Jon Benjamin, Eugene Mirman, and Dan Mintz are not typically recognized. However, their voices will immediately resonate for fans of one the most popular animated shows in recent years. They play the characters Bob Belcher, Gene Belcher, and Tina Belcher in the comedic animated sitcom “Bob’s Burgers.”

In a sold-out event hosted by CAB, the three comedians will stray away from their animated personas to perform a standup routine at the IMU at 8 p.m. tonight. Following their performance, there will also be a Q&A session in which the cast will answer a few questions submitted by local fans.

Since its début on Fox in 2011 “Bob’s Burgers” has garnered tremendous success, recently winning an Emmy in “Outstanding Animated Program.”

The show follows the life and times of the eccentric Belcher family running a restaurant, Bob’s Burgers. The show continues to run strong, with the first episode of its eighth season airing last week.

Creator Loren Bouchard stated in a 2016 interview with the magazine, Backstage, that he selects his voice actors based on their experience with improv and standup.

“Standup is a crucible in which you bake your voice,” Bouchard said in the interview. “You need to spend time in front of a live audience living and dying by your voice. What you’re really doing is getting instant feedback on whether or not you can turn a phrase that captures people’s attention.”

According to the article, Bouchard tries to have the actors recording sessions intertwined so they can work with each other.

“It’s hard; I get it,” Bouchard said. “Nobody wants to try to coordinate two, or three, or five, or six people’s schedules. But if you commit to that, if you decide we’re going to do this no matter how hard it is, even for a show that has to crank out 22 episodes a season, the reward is so great because those actors are now looking forward to seeing each other and making each other laugh.”

UI junior Evan Hood, the CAB director of comedy, is responsible for booking, planning, and managing all of the organization’s comedy shows. He said the process of recruiting the three cast members began in late June.

Hood said he’s worked with several comedians from standup, such as Amy Schumer and Jesse Eisenberg, but he wanted to try delving into television. As soon as he heard the cast was possibly interested in visiting, he immediately jumped at the opportunity.

Hood said CAB’s comedy shows normally appeal to college students, but he wanted to bring out the whole community for this particular performance.

“I felt they catered to many different audiences,” he said. “Even when I was at the ticket center, I saw ranges of people in college, people with their kids, and older people. It really is just bringing out a lot of people, which is what I was going for.”

Hood said he enjoys “Bob’s Burgers” mainly because of its “fresh” humor.

“Nothing feels repeated; nothing feels too jargony,” Hood said. “ ‘Bob’s Burgers’ is still in a really good state where it’s in its eighth season, and it’s still making really good television and really providing the crowd with actual, good animated television.”

While the comedians spend their time in Iowa City, Hood said, he wants to know how the actors differ from their characters as well as how they’ve developed their characters.

Tickets are sold-out, but fans can still submit questions through CAB’s website.

What: “Bob’s Burgers” cast: H. Jon Benjamin, Eugene Mirman, and Dan Mintz

When: 8 p.m. today

Where: IMU Main Lounge

Cost: Sold out; $10

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