“That’s what happens with these cabaret shows…this started off as a spill on your half moon table and now its on MY STAGE!”
I think a good bellow is always a good way to start off a comedy show. This, clearly, was no different. Mike Birbiglia, most recently talked about for sleeping in a Macy’s window for a week, debuted his new show My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend last night at Joe’s Pub. After being a fan for a few years, I was excited to see what Mike had been working on recently after hearing small snippets of this material on NPR’s This American Life and on storytelling podcast The Moth.
So here’s what shocked me about this brand new show – there wasn’t a single joke about bears. Or sleepwalking, or sleeping or anything along those lines at all. Instead, Birbiglia crafted an intricate storyline about (wait for it…) LOVE. No worries, though; its not like he took the whole thing seriously.
Pulling a Tarintino-like move and beginning at the end, Birbiglia took us through the journey of his relationship with his wife, Jenny. Along the way, we met 12 year old Mike, the member of the “non-makeout club,” and 16 year old Mike, head-first in love and the secondary boyfriend to a high school badass. We meet parents, go on terrible (yet beautifully re-enacted) carnival rides, get frustrated about car accidents with ridiculous police reports, take flights, get drunk, and experience the highs and lows of crushes. Birbiglia really tells the whole story, bumps and all, and it is what makes this show so enjoyable.
What it really comes down to though, is that every person in the room understood exactly what Birbiglia was talking about – every kiss (or lack there-of), every argument, every silly prepubescent thought and every single animal analogy. watching someone making out IS kinda like watching a dog eat spaghetti – think about it. This show was awesome, and it had a lot to do with how Mike made us feel like he was telling our own stories – you know, just…funnier.
Mike Birbiglia is a good dude. Most of the times a gentleman, not necessarily always a woman’s first choice, or someone who makes the classiest decisions (any story that even goes NEAR a bachelorette party is bound to end a little shady), but a good dude – a “good guy,” if you will. And he made me believe it. It was made known at the very beginning of the show that he didn’t believe in the institution of marriage. After piecing together the reasons, going through the show and witnessing him explain the many instances in which he was proven totally right; he ends with saying that nothing has changed, that he still doesn’t believe in marriage. But instead, Birbiglia tells us “…I believe in her.” Well shit, man. Now you’ve got everyone wrapped around your ring finger.