ALBUM REVIEW: Mike Birbiglia
Mike Birbiglia is a sleepwalker, though not the family friendly kind. You won’t find the comedian mid-dream, peeing in laundry baskets and not the toilet. Instead you’ll find him jumping through motel room windows in an attempt to escape from military grade rockets. While running and screaming through the front lawn of the motel in his underwear, Birbiglia realized that he was bleeding profusely from the shards of glass still stuck in his legs and drove himself to the hospital. Cue laugh track.
Sleepwalk With Me is Birbiglia’s one man show about his sleep disorder, his childhood, and his realization once and for all that he was finally growing up. In a note to his listeners, Birbiglia writes that this album came from an Off-Broadway one man show of the same title that he spent eight months performing and six years writing, and it shows. While the stories are funny, the laughs are never cheap. Even when the jokes don’t end in compulsive laughter from the raucous crowd, the abundance in cheers and applause breaks sound as if they are also fully committed to the protagonist featured in them. After revealing that at age 19 he urinated blood due to a malignant tumor in his bladder, he follows immediately with, “But it’s funny – stay with me!”
Birbiglia’s delivery is like that of a young man on a nervous first date, where every sentence sounds like the beginning of a neurotic ramble. This works perfectly for his darker material about experiencing true anger, heartbreak, and even existentialism. From breaking up with a girlfriend for fear of commitment, to his childhood feelings of underachievement when compared to his neurologist father, the jokes are all about relating to the moments in his life that mattered. With a run-time of an hour and 10 minutes, Sleepwalk With Me is a quick but profound trip into the thoughts of a funny mind, and the reasons that made it so. (Comedy Central Records)