Four years ago, Brooklyn alt-comedian Eugene Mirman launched his super low-budget Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival basically as an inside joke between him and his fans, advertising VIP rooms made of cardboard and “a fake awards show.” This year, “the world’s first sincere and ironic comedy festival” raised more than $18,000 on Kickstarter with promises of a science day, a petting zoo, and an “awkward party bus.” (According to Mirman, when you get on the bus, you’re supposed to think: “Oh, this is weird. I kind of like it, but I’m not totally having fun.”) Tonight, the four-day event kicks off with a live broadcast of the radio show StarTalk, featuring comics Kristen Schaal (Flight of the Conchords), John Oliver (The Daily Show), and Mirman in conversation with Neil deGrasse Tyson, the director of the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium. Upcoming shows include John Mulaney, Jena Friedman, Hannibal Buress, Jon Glaser, and Tom Shillue.

Sept. 15-18, 2011