CultureSaturday 04.23.22

Why Comedian Mike Birbiglia Wants To Pay It Forward

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. Edelman explains why Birbiglia is such a great mentor; Birbiglia reflects on his own entry into the New York theatre scene, with Nathan Lane presenting his show, Sleepwalk With Me, back in 2008 — and why he believes it’s important to pay it forward by taking Edelman and other young comics under his wing. Tune in to the full episode to hear about the arc of Birbiglia’s career from stand-up to storytelling; his biggest influences, including Mitch Hedberg; the personal experiences that have inspired him to be vulnerable on stage and take emotional risks; and why, for both Birbiglia and Edelman, a pair of comics who readily and repeatedly land killer jokes, there’s a lot more to comedy than making people laugh.

Hell & High Water