Monday, October 1, 2012

Sleepwalk with Me

Mike Birbiglia has been a comic I've followed since first seeing him on a Comedy Central stand-up special. He's been my own little bird that has since flown out of the nest and is now a household name. His comedy has evolved from the basic joke formula of observation plus alternative perspective equalling crowd laughter. Instead, he takes the audience on a full adventure of his life in a story-telling sequence of real-life events. He's had multiple off-broadway shows (which I've seen), many cross-country tours (which I've also seen), albums (which I've bought) and even a book, titled the same as the movie (which I own).

His story telling ways seem to have begun when he started publishing "My Secret Public Journal." He use to email his subscribers (again, me) with a weekly entry of some silly things he's been dealing with while on tour or at home with hyperlinks to funny tangentially related videos and connecting it somehow to a past memory before circling it back around with a "and that's why..." send off. As that became popular in its own right, his stand up took a similar circular pace of starting off with a premise (Sleepwalk With Me, My Girlfriend's Boyfriend, etc.) and then comedically taking a round about way to get back to the main point.

When I went to see the movie I almost asked for one ticket to "Mike Birbiglia" since it's his baby. He stars in it as well as writes and directs. Working with NPR's Ira Glass (Birbigs is a frequent guest on Glass's This American Life series), the Sundance darling has done well in a grass-roots campaign to bring it to more and more theaters across the country over the past few weeks.

Mike stars as Matt Pandamigglio. It's a little unclear as to why they changed the name and I kind of understand why they did it but was equally thrown by having to hear such a similar name to the comedian. Aside from the name change, everything else is 100% true to life-- or as true to his life as his stand-up is. I had heard literally every single joke, premise, come-back, and twist dozens of times before from his shows, tours, books, and albums.

However, considering that I'm already that familiar with the material and still audibly laughed throughout the movie, it is enough to guarantee that fresh ears will be delighted. I cannot recommend jumping on the Birbiglia bandwagon fast enough and if that means starting with Sleepwalk With Me, then you are very lucky to be in for such a treat. Feel free to stop by my house to borrow any of the other mediums.

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