Tonight, as an extended birthday celebration, I’m heading to NYC to see one of my favorite comedians, Mike Birbiglia.
My cousin Matt first recommended checking out Mike’s comedy, and after I bought and listened to Two Drink Mike, I was an instant fan. “Wiffle Ball Tony” was one of my favorite bits, and you can check it out here:
After getting a copy and memorizing most of What I Should Have Said Was Nothing, I knew I wanted to see Mike live the next time he was in my area.
I took my sister Megan to see The Daily Show on her birthday in 2008, and was psyched to find out that Mike had some Sleepwalk with Me Shows that weekend. He put on a great show and I found out that we had a lot more in common that I knew. We both are from Central Massachusetts (he’s from Shrewsbury, I’m from Westboro), were raised Catholic, went to Catholic school (including college – “I did the whole program” as Mike says), were altar boys, and are cancer survivors. We also have “conditions” that we have been dealing with for most of our lives – he has issues with sleeping, and I have Crohn’s Disease (both definitely play a role in relationships with the opposite sex).
My sister and I hung out by the merch table after the show to see if we could meet Mike, and we did. It was great meeting and talking to Mike, and he signed some things for me and posed for a picture. I told him about the things we had in common, and he said something like “And we’re just now meeting each other?” It was an awesome night and one I know I’ll remember for a long time.
I saw Mike again in late 2009 in Boston, and gave my cousin Matt and his wife tickets as a wedding gift (I really didn’t want to get them that blender). It was definitely different seeing a Boston show compared to a New York show, but Mike’s storytelling still killed. I think the reason I enjoy listening to and watching Mike’s material so much as that it all comes from his personal experiences. His stories are true, and he has taken pain from his life and turned it into laughs. In this respect, it’s easy for me to call Mike Birbiglia one of my heroes.
I know one day (most likely in book form) I will tell all of my drinking, cancer, drug, women, Crohn’s, family, and friend stories. Some of them are sad, some are funny, and some are both. I don’t think I’ll be able to tell them as funny as Mike told his stories in his Sleepwalk with Me book, but I will certainly use it as a guide. Thanks for all the laughs, Mike. Looking forward to seeing the show tonight at the Barrow Street Theatre!