CultureSunday 04.24.22

Mike Birbiglia On His Comedic Influences

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John Heilemann talks with comedians Mike Birbiglia, best known for his acclaimed one-man shows Sleepwalk With Me, Thank God for Jokes, and The New One, and Alex Edelman, whose buzzy new monologue Just For Us, produced by Birbiglia, is one of New York’s hottest tickets. Heilemann and the two performers discuss Birbiglia’s biggest comedic influences and idols, including Mitch Hedberg; why it took him years to become himself on stage; and the various personal experiences that have inspired him to be vulnerable in front of audiences and take emotional risks. Tune in to the full episode to hear why Birbiglia took Edelman under his wing and how their mentor-pupil relationship works; what Just for Us says about broader questions of identity in American culture; and why Birbiglia encouraged Edelman to focus the show on his Judaism, which has long been central to his sense of self but not his comedy.

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