It's Mike Birbiglia's birthday today. Happy birthday, Birbigs!
It's also the final weekend for his successful one-man show, Mike Birbiglia's My Girlfriend's Boyfriend, enjoying an off-Broadway run at the Barrow Street Theatre. Here's ticket info for the final weekend of shows June 24-25, 2011. Birbigs won the Lucille Lortel Award this spring for outstanding one-person show, and deservedly so.
Even more emotionally engaging than his previous one-man show, Sleepwalk With Me, Birbiglia explores his path love, happiness and marriage -- despite his long-seated misgivings about the latter and his struggles to find the former. You may have heard some chapters of this story as Birbiglia told them on radio's This American Life or late-night TV spots. This, for instance, is Birbiglia's story about his first girlfriend, as told on This American Life episode #374. And on Jimmy Kimmel Live last fall, Birbiglia talked about an even earlier experience with a girl and a ride on the Scrambler. There's plenty of humor in these stories, but they're also counterbalanced by a weight that hits close to every heart.
When he recently appeared on Late Show with David Letterman, Birbiglia performed a piece of his pre-show routine, in which he lets audience members to know to turn off their cell phones by joking about his own experiences with the phone company. It's a nice touch, and allows Birbiglia to warm up the audience while giving them a chance to get used to his presence onstage as the storyteller.
Roll the clip!
Mike Birbiglia worked out his first one-man show, Sleepwalk With Me, as stand-up comedy bits, then as short stories for public radio, and eventually a successful Off-Broadway run, book and CD. Now Birbigs is looking to turn it into a feature film.
On June 1, you'll be able to get a sense of what that, at least, might sound like, as the Sundance Institute Screenplay Reading Series of Works-in-Progress presents a free reading of Sleepwalk With Me's screenplay. Birbiglia has written and will direct the movie.
The reading takes place at 7:30 p.m. June 1, 2011, at The Barrow Street Theatre in New York City's West Village, where Birbigs is wrapping up a successful run of his second Off-Broadway show, My Girlfriend's Boyfriend.
Though the event is free, seating is first-come, first-served, and an RSVP is required. Email: email@example.com
One of the greatest comedy films of my life arrived in the summer of 1985. I'm speaking, of course, about Real Genius.
What. You thought I was going to say 1985's box-office champ, Back to the Future? The Goonies? Fletch? Pee-wee's Big Adventure? Weird Science? Spies Like Us? Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment? Of course not that last one. Sorry, Bobcat.
While I did watch Back to the Future several times and am known to sing "The Power of Love" in my head at any given time (likely to my crush Lea Thompson), and while I did watch Fletch enough times to quote it with my best friend, Real Genius held a special place in the hearts of me and my partner in academic crime through high school, as the two of us were the genius nerds of our class. My friend was the Chris Knight, while I was unfortunately more of a Mitch Taylor. But a cute Mitch Taylor. My God, I make myself sound like a Todd Glass bit. Anyhow. Enough about me. I'd rather have that dream "where I'm standing in sort of Sun God robes, on a pyramid, with a thousand naked women screaming and throwing little pickles at me."
Let's watch some clips of the movie, and let Mike Birbiglia and his wife, Jenny, talk about their common love of Real Genius with John Murray and Matt Fisher. It's part of the Splitsider webseries, Low Standards with John and Matt. Roll it!
If you've seen the recent Sprint mobile phone ads voiced by the spirit wolf of Andy Samberg, then you're aware of this Double Dream Feet guy.
What are the odds that somebody was a big enough fan of comedian Mike Birbiglia to remix him with Double Dream Feet and Crookers? Sorry, no odds. Not taking bets. Somebody already did done that. Roll the clip! REMIX!
Several comedians have done Broadway and off-Broadway this season, and the Drama Desk Awards took notice, with three earning nominations today for "Outstanding Solo Performance" for their one-man shows.
Mike Birbiglia, for Mike Birbiglia's My Girlfriend's Boyfriend; John Leguizamo, for Ghetto Klown; and Colin Quinn, for Colin Quinn Long Story Short, all are up for the prize, competing with Daniel Beaty, Juliette Jeffers and Joanna Tope.
The Book of Mormon received the most Drama Desk Award nominations, 12, for team South Park (Trey Parker and Matt Stone), while Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, starring Robin Williams, received 7 nods, and The Motherfucker in the Hat, featuring Chris Rock in his Broadway debut, earned three nods.
The 56th annual Drama Desk Awards will be held May 23, 2011, hosted by Harvey Fierstein, and broadcasted on cable via Ovation in June.
Annual Tony Awards nominations, meanwhile, will be announced May 3.
Tickets have gone on sale for Mike Birbiglia's next off-Broadway production, My Girlfriend's Boyfriend.
Here's the official blurb:
In Mike Birbiglia’s My Girlfriend's Boyfriend, Mike shares a lifetime of romantic blunders and miscues that most adults would spend a lifetime trying to forget. On this painfully honest journey, Birbiglia struggles to find reason in an area where it may be impossible to find -- love.
About 24 hours ago, comedian/storyteller Mike Birbiglia walked inside a display window of the Macy's flagship location on 34th Street in Manhattan, wearing a blue robe, pajamas and slippers, and laid down in a bed. Where he would spend the next seven days.
It's all a promotion for Downy fabric softener to prove that you'll still have clean sheets after a week. Wait. As bloggers around the world wonder simultaneously: Has that not been the case before? Also: We'd totally do this. We totally already are doing this.
Before getting into his bed on display, Birbiglia explained that he does have access to a nearby hotel room to use the facilities and freshen up whenever the need arises. There's also a collection of people in a makeshift control room directly behind the display window, monitoring him as well as operating at least three cameras so you don't need to be on the sidewalk of 34th Street to see what's going on. Although if you're visiting the special #mikeinwindow Facebook page and don't see live streaming video -- or more to the point, don't see Birbiglia himself -- that's because one of the cameras is above his bed looking out toward the sidewalk.
The promotional stunt began at 10 a.m. Wednesday, and for the first hour, Birbiglia spent most of his time posing for photos and giving interviews. Here is what he had to tell me. Roll it!
From now through the following Wednesday, he'll be interacting not just with the gawkers passing by the window, but also with fans on Twitter via #mikeinwindow and @birbigs, on the aforementioned Facebook page, as well as with selected guests for special events. Last night, Mike and his brother Joe held an interactive Q&A. As you can see in my video, he has his laptop computer with him, as well as a couple of books and newspapers. I know other people already have offered him gifts to waste time and/or amuse his audience.
Here's footage of Birbigs and Joe Bags from last night:
More than a foot of snow fell on NYC overnight. I'll be interested to see what it looked like from his perspective. As well as how he holds up at the end of the week.
In our interview, Birbigs also told me that he's preparing an off-Broadway run of "My Girlfriend's Boyfriend" in March at the Barrow Street Theater. So you have that to look forward to, too!
On Wednesday morning, Mike Birbiglia will step into the display window of Macy's department store -- the flagship Macy's in New York City's Herald Square -- and spend the next week sleeping (and not sleeping) there in the window.
Here's a short video for Downy (the stunt is promotion for their "Clean Sheet Week") in which Birbiglia talks about prepping for the little big gig. Roll the clip!
Michael Showalter has a new thing he's tumbling on Tumblr called Lost in Plot, in which he talks to other creative types about the writing process.
Today Showalter questions comedian Mike Birbiglia about it, which is timely since Birbigs has a new book out called "Sleepwalk With Me: And Other Painfully True Stories."
A couple of excerpts from the beginning and end of Showalter's chat with Birbiglia:
Do you ever get writer’s block? If yes, please elaborate.
I don’t call it that, but sure. I feel like I’m in a constant state of tricking myself into writing. I have to block out like 6-7 hours where there is no agenda except writing. Blocking that time is hard for me to do b/c there are so many distractions, like the Internet and also the Internet.
What’s your favorite movie cliché? (Eg: The montage where the guy/girl practices introducing himself to the love interest in the mirror.)
Tough one. I could make a joke but I kind of hate movie clichés because they remind me that there’s a studio executive somewhere doing a rewrite with the artistic intention of “How can this make more MONEY?”
The Just For Laughs people haven't listed this on their schedules yet, but Mike Birbiglia announced (as did David Letterman last night) that he'll be debuting his new one-man show, "My Girlfriend's Boyfriend," at the Montreal festival this July (followed by JFL Toronto).
Birbiglia is hard at work reworking old jokes and developing new bits, and we got our first peek at such last night on Letterman. Roll the clip.
Birbiglia is playing several dates at Union Hall in Brooklyn this month (already sold out for May 10-11 and May 24-25) to work out the new hour. In between, he'll be performing weekends in Tampa and Cincinnati, so you kids in Florida and Ohio also have a chance to check out his work in progress.
Here's something you don't see every day, or night. Comedian Mike Birbiglia was performing at the Royal Oak Music Theatre in Michigan when stagehands interrupted him to warn that a fire had broken out...in the theater! Birbiglia handles the entire situation quite humorously. But I'm not sure what's funnier about this: 1) The reaction of the theater's staff and audience; 2) The fact that we never really get a good look at, well, fire; or 3) That all of this was caught on film. Roll the clip!
Related: Catch the hottest tour in comedy? Mike Birbiglia's tour continues here and when.
The tour begins Aug. 15 in Newport, R.I. It'll be a nice change of pace back to the road for Mike, who recently wrapped up a successful off-Broadway run of his one-man show, Sleepwalk With Me. Now enjoy this video with Mike and Joe:
Ready for the weekend? Me, too. But first, a few things to mention and link to that people are reading and talking about in comedy circles...
Ira Glass is hosting a live edition of his radio program, This American Life, that will happen before a sold-out audience at NYU's Skirball Center and broadcast on 400 movie screens across the country, with stories from Mike Birbiglia, Dan Savage and Starlee Kine, a "special investigation" by Dave Hill and David Rakoff, a new cartoon from Chris Ware, visuals from Arthur Jones, and an appearance by Joss Whedon. It happens at 8 p.m. Eastern, 7 p.m. Central, 6 p.m. Mountain -- then tape-delayed for 8 p.m. Pacific. You can check for tickets at a cinema near you. If you cannot make it tonight but still would like to enjoy this show in a movie theater, some cinemas will rebroadcast tonight's show on May 7.
Location, location, location. That's the mantra in real estate, and perhaps the folks at Adult Swim followed it by choosing Bleecker and Lafayette as the setting for their larger-than-life advertisement for Delcoated, the very funny new short series that airs on Thursday nights. (Thanks, Aziz)
You can catch up with Delocated here.
But about that location. The billboard looms large over 45 Bleecker, which is home not only to Mike Birbiglia's successful off-Broadway run of Sleepwalk With Me, but also Lizz Winstead's Shoot the Messenger satire of the morning news, as well as the new one-man show by Marc Maron, Scorching the Earth, which will play Sunday nights at the theater in March.
Coincidentally, Maron sat down with his show producer/comedy blogger Dylan P. Gadino for "A Tight Five."
If you live near New York City, or even in New England, you see the TV ad for the New York Times Weekender subscription a lot. A lot, a lot. Perhaps this ad even runs nationally? Regardless, the new 92YTribeca facility, which has been booking lots of great comedy shows (thank you, Bart Coleman), just released this new advertisement written and directed by Michael Showalter and featuring Paul Rudd and many funny stand-up comedians. How many do you recognize? If you need a hint, just look at my category tags below. Related: The 92YTribeca's comedy schedule. Enjoy!
To Do Thursday: See Wayne Federman host Todd Barry, Dave Hill, Jessi Klein and others in 92YTribeca's weekly Comedy Below Canal series (tickets and info).
Via Playbill, news is good for Mike Birbiglia's Off-Broadway one-man show, Sleepwalk With Me, good enough that he'll continue telling his uncomfortable stories through March 22, 2009. So if you want to see Birbiglia, you'll know where to find him. Also, a reminder that tonight, Ira Glass joins Birbiglia for a post-show segment called "An Awkward 10 Minutes with Mike."
Some quick hits and links of comedians and comedy making news around the Internets...
In Rob Corddry's interview with Defamer today, Corddry announces that he has sold a sitcom to HBO about an unlikely political candidate, and that the show, once pitched in a Bush world, has adapted to the new Obama Nation reality. Corddry: "At first it was a really cynical story about how we’re told growing up how anybody can become president. And the last eight years that’s been proven to pretty much be more terrifying than it is inspiring. So that was sort of our tagline before we even had a show: “Anybody can become President. Anyone.” But now we are burdened—burdened!—by hope and optimism. So the character has changed into one who feels the weight of other people’s hope, and is just a little too hungover to deal with it on most occasions."
The second Detroit International Comedy Festival continues to seek submissions for 2009 performers. You have until Dec. 31 to get considered for the March 16-21 fest, which shall include: Best of Detroit, Best of the Midwest, Best of the East Coast, Best of the West Coast and International showcases, plus a national headliner for the weekend at Mark Ridley's Comedy Castle. Note: There is a $25 fee, which you'd include with your DVD, bio, and headshot to Aspen Talent, 11385 Shaffer Road, Davisburg MI, 48350. Questions? firstname.lastname@example.org
If you're looking for even more reasons to attend Mike Birbiglia's winning Off-Broadway production, Sleepwalk with Me, then try catching a new weekly post-show segment called "An Awkward Ten Minutes With Mike" in which a special guest shares a "previously untold uncomfortable story" to fit with the theme of Birbiglia's one-man show. Birbiglia's celebrity producer, Nathan Lane, chatted it up last week. This Thursday, it's Zach Galifianakis, and on Dec. 17, radio host Ira Glass sits in for a quick story. And if ticket prices are a concern, and you're young and broke, consider asking for one of a limited amount of 50% discounted tix ($25) at the box office an hour before showtime, and be prepared to show student ID or proof of your poverty.
Hunter Stephenson over at /film went down to North Carolina to visit the set of the upcoming HBO comedy, East Bound and Down, which stars Danny McBride and is brought to the cable network by Adam McKay and Will Ferrell. McBride plays a former big league pitcher who's not as big as he used to be, and he tells Stephenson: "When we wrote this, we really just wanted to do our take on a weird American epic modern hero. He has all the qualities that an epic hero should, but they’re only the worst qualities. It’s completely ass backwards. He’s sort of the current state of the modern American hero."
Speaking of Will Ferrell, the Funny or Die guy is doing a special promotion for the site's newsletter, because if you sign up to get the FOD emails, you may win a personalized voicemail message recorded by Ferrell (this sounds like something NPR does already, doesn't it?).
The Dec. 8, 2008, issue of The New Yorker features a review of 30 Rock, the TV show. The sitcom is in its third season. Third. I'm waiting for next week's critical review of Seinfeld, and whether they think that star surrounded himself with better talent, and whether that's going to work out for him.