Mike Birbiglia

Mike Birbiglia

Born in the town of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, Mike Birbiglia developed an interest in writing and clever wordplay at an early age. Poetry and hip-hop were his earliest forms of expression, but after seeing Steven Wright perform on his 16th birthday, Birbiglia was convinced that comedy was his proper outlet. He began writing and performing in a quirky, non-sequitur-driven style like that of Wright while attending college at Georgetown University, but eventually hewed his act along more personal and biographical lines. Birbiglia moved to New York City after graduating from Georgetown in 2000; there, he was introduced to Lucien Hold, general manager and talent coordinator for the Comic Strip Live club. Hold set up a string of showcase performances that introduced Birbiglia to talent scouts, who in turn helped him land an appearance on "The Late Show with David Letterman" (CBS 1993-2015). From there, Birbiglia began touring on the national stand-up circuit while also appearing his own specials as part of "Comedy Central Presents" (Comedy Central 1998-) in 2004, 2006 and 2008. In 2004, Birbiglia also released his first stand-up album, Dog Years, which made him a favorite among alternative comedy fans. A second release, Two Drink Mike, followed in 2006, while My Secret Public Journal Live (2007), a compilation of his guest spots on "The Bob and Tom Radio Show," was issued in 2007. His popularity allowed him to craft a one-man show, "Sleepwalk With Me," which opened Off-Broadway in 2008. The show centered around Birbiglia's real-life travails with rapid eye movement disorder, which causes the sufferer to undergo speech and even movement while asleep. In Birbiglia's case, the condition caused him to fall out of a second-story window, but also provided him with a canvas to explore his past, including his distant relationship with parents who were unable to cope with his disorder. "Sleepwalk" received rave reviews, and was followed by a non-fiction book, Sleepwalk with Me & Other Painfully True Stories (2011), which made Birbiglia a best-selling author and a finalist for the James Thurber Prize for American Humor. The success of "Sleepwalk" and its related projects made Birbiglia one of the busiest figures on the comedy circuit. A second one-man show, "My Girlfriend's Boyfriend," opened in 2011 before Birbiglia wrote, directed and starred in a film version of "Sleepwalk With Me" (2012), which won the NEXT Audience Award at that year's edition of the Sundance Film Festival. He also found time to act in a variety of independent film efforts, including the comedies "Cedar Rapids" (2011) and "Your Sister's Sister" (2011). A comedy film and album version of "My Girlfriend's Boyfriend" was released in 2013, after which Birbiglia became a regular panelist on the popular NPR radio series "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me!"