All it took was for the word to get out that Mike Birbiglia would be filming something for Sundance at The Comic Strip and the place was packed, even on a Monday night.
Mike came in with a small crew and filmed a 90 minute show performing as a character named Matt Pentamiglio for the filmed version of his hit show Sleepwalk With Me, that will be shown in Sundance later this month.
Back in 2008, Mike had a hit show with Sleepwalk With Me, about his experiences with his sleepwalking problem. It opened at Cal Wynter’s Bleecker Street Theatre, and enjoyed a very successful run there. I attended the opening and knew right away that it would be a hit!
Mike is not only a funny comedian, he’s a world-class story-teller, which of course is an art form in itself! Very different from stand-up. I can’t picture Mike doing a five minute set. I’m sure he could do it, but his material lends itself to longer pieces, so he can build his story in layers!
So he came to The Strip to film because that’s where he got his start. He feels at home there with Richie Tienken the owner and founder of the club, which Richie opened on June 1, 1976. On June 17th, 1976, a young Jerry Seinfeld came in to audition, and stayed there using that as his home club until he left for LA four years later.
Richie managed Eddie Murphy for 11 years and also discovered Chris Rock there, when Chris was only 19 years old, and setting up tables in exchange for stage time.
Chris’ brother Tony also came out of that club, and now their youngest brother Jordan, almost 21, is appearing there almost nightly.
Mike is a visual artist who paints pictures with his words. When he describes the jackal that appears in his bedroom, during one of his sleep malfunctions, you feel like the jackal is in your own bedroom!
I caught up with Mike, … or Matt, …backstage at The Strip and did a little exclusive video interview for Comedy Matters! You can see that right here!