Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sleepwalk With Me

Mike Birbiglia in Sleepwalk With Me
***1/2 out of ****

Mike Berbiglia comes off like a soft comedian that public radio and hipsters may embrace, but he always wins me over. He's just a naturally funny person.  His material is easy to relate to. While I've only sleepwalked a couple of times in my life. His rare condition, which he talks about, is something I can connect with when I feel frustration over the lack of control of my life.

He is a stand-up comedian, but given more of a spoken-word or monologue context, when appearing on NPR's This American Life or stage shows like one I saw last year. 

Here's a Fresh Air episode Interviewing Ira Glass and Birbiglia along with clips of Birbiglia's stand-up.

Birbiglia gained the most fame with the Sleepwalk With Me story which revolved around a critical point in his relationship with a girlfriend as his stand-up career started to progress. If you think this sounds like he is trying to follow in the footsteps of Woody Allen, you're right. The thing is, Birbiglia's transition from stand-up to cinematic auteur is just as natural as Allen's. Will Birbiglia be making a movie-a-year for the rest of his life? I doubt it. I'm just saying that this is unexpectedly good work considering how many comedians in his position have tried the same thing and failed. It also helps that Ira Glass helped produce and co-write the film. 

The movie reminded me a lot of High Fidelity for it's charm and a little of the Howard Stern vehicle, Private Parts for it's autobiographical nature. Lets hope Birbiglia's future personal life doesn't contradict the affirmations made by this film Like Stern's movie did. 

Check out Nathan Rabin's Review on AV Club.

...and an important message from Joss Whedon

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