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Mike Birbiglia (born June 20, 1978) is an American comedian, actor, and filmmaker. He is a frequent contributor to This American Life and The Moth, and has released several comedy albums and television specials. His feature-length directorial debut Sleepwalk with Me (2012), based on his one-man show of the same name and in which he also starred, won awards at the Sundance and Nantucket film festivals. He also wrote, directed, and starred in the comedy-drama Don't Think Twice (2016). His 2010 book Sleepwalk with Me and Other Painfully True Stories was a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the 2011 Thurber Prize for American Humor. Birbiglia has appeared in films such as Your Sister's Sister (2011), Cedar Rapids (2011), and Trainwreck (2015), played a recurring role in Orange Is the New Black, and has guest starred in episodes of Girls, Inside Amy Schumer, and Broad City.

Mike Birbiglia
Mike Birbiglia.jpg
Born (1978-06-20) June 20, 1978 (age 39)[1]
Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, United States[1]
Medium Stand-up, theatre, radio, television, film
Nationality American
Years active 2004-present
Spouse Jen Stein (m. 2007)
Children 1
Website www.birbigs.com

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Birbiglia was born in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, the son of Mary Jean (née McKenzie) and Vincent Paul Birbiglia. He is the youngest of four children.[2] He is of part Italian descent.[3] Birbiglia attended St. John's High School, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts for one year, and graduated from St. Mark's School, Southborough, Massachusetts in 1996.[4][5] He says seeing comedian Steven Wright perform inspired him to begin writing jokes at age 16.[6] He subsequently attended Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., graduating in 2000.[7] During college he performed as a member of the Georgetown Players Improv Troupe, worked as a server in a comedy club, and began performing at The Improv in Washington, D.C.[8][6]

Early career (2000–2008)Edit

Birbiglia moved to New York in 2000,[9] and appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman in 2002.[8] He told his first story on stage at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, in 2003, and eventually became a semi-regular contributor to The Moth storytelling series.[10] He released his first album, Dog Years, in 2004,[11] followed by My Secret Public Album, Volume 1a (2005) a compilation of his appearances on The Bob and Tom Show. His next two albums, Two Drink Mike (2006), and My Secret Public Journal Live (2007) were released on Comedy Central Records. My Secret Public Journal Live was named one of the best comedy albums of the decade by The A.V. Club[12]

In 2007 Birbiglia starred in the independent feature film Stanley Cuba, which debuted at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and played in the Brooklyn and Milan film festivals.[13][14][15] In 2008 CBS picked up a sitcom pilot loosely based on Birbiglia's life and featuring himself, Bob Odenkirk and Frances Conroy that ultimately never aired.[16][9] He later called the failure of his pilot "the luckiest thing that ever happened to me."[17]

Sleepwalk and beyond (2008–present)Edit

In 2008, Birbiglia opened Sleepwalk with Me, a one-man show that straddled standup comedy and theater, off-Broadway at the Bleecker Street Theater.[18][19] The show was presented by Nathan Lane, and the New York Times called it "simply perfect".[20] Time Out New York named it their "Show of the Year" in 2009.[21]

Birbiglia adapted his material into the 2010 book Sleepwalk with Me, and Other Painfully True Stories and the 2011 album Sleepwalk With Me Live. The book debuted at #29 on the hardcover nonfiction New York Times Bestseller List[22][23] and number four on the hardcover nonfiction section of the Washington Post Political Bookworm Best Sellers.[24] The book was also a finalist for the 2011 Thurber Prize for American Humor.[25] Sleepwalk With Me Live debuted at #1 on the Billboard Comedy Charts.[26]

 
Birbiglia performing in 2016

Birbiglia made his directorial debut with Sleepwalk with Me, based on his one-man show and which he wrote, directed, and starred in. The film premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and won the NEXT Audience Award.[27] It was selected in the "Festival Favorites" category at the South by Southwest film festival in Austin, Texas [28] and also appeared in the Nantucket Film Festival where it won the award for best writer/director.[29] The film was produced by Jacob Jaffke and This American Life's Ira Glass and stars Birbiglia, Lauren Ambrose, Carol Kane, James Rebhorn, and Cristin Milioti and has cameos by Glass, Kristen Schaal, Wyatt Cenac, David Wain, Jessi Klein, John Lutz and Marc Maron.[30]

In addition to starring in Sleepwalk with Me, Birbiglia has appeared in films such as Trainwreck, Going the Distance, Cedar Rapids, Your Sister's Sister and The Fault in Our Stars. He has also guest-starred in episodes of Girls, Inside Amy Schumer, and Broad City.[31] He played the role of Danny Pearson on the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black in its third and fourth season, with which he shared the 2016 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series.[32]

Birbiglia and Aidy Bryant at the 2015 Del Close Marathon discuss comedy, the Upright Citizens Brigade, and comedian Amy Poehler

In 2011, Birbiglia mounted his second one-man show, My Girlfriend's Boyfriend, which ran for four months off-Broadway and won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Solo Show.[33] He toured My Girlfriend's Boyfriend around the world with tour dates in the United States, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. On June 2, 2013, Birbiglia performed it for the last time at Carnegie Hall.[34][35] My Girlfriend's Boyfriend was featured as the number one stand-up special of 2013 by Vulture,[36] Paste,[37] The Laugh Button[38] and Laughspin.[39] It was also named one of Time Out New York's Best Comedy Specials of 2013.[40] Flavorwire listed the special as one of the top 20 funniest stand-up specials of all time.[41]

For his second film, Birbiglia's drew upon his early experience with improv in Don't Think Twice (2016), which centers on a fictional Manhattan improv troupe.[6][42] Birbligia also stars among an ensemble cast including Keegan-Michael Key, Gillian Jacobs, Kate Micucci, Tami Sagher, and Chris Gethard.[43] The film was nominated for several awards, including the Critics' Choice Award for Best Comedy[44] and St. Louis Film Critics Association award for Best Comedy.[45]

Birbiglia's Thank God for Jokes comedy special was released on Netflix on February 28, 2017.[46]

On This American LifeEdit

Birbiglia is a regular contributor to the Public Radio International-distributed program This American Life.[47][48]

Personal lifeEdit

Birbiglia has rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder, which once caused him to run out of a second-story window of a motel he was staying in Walla Walla, Washington, while on tour. As a result of the accident, Birbiglia received 33 stitches in his leg.[10][49][50]

Birbiglia is married to Jen Stein. They have one daughter, Oona.[51]

FilmographyEdit

FilmEdit

Year Title Role Notes
2007 Stanley Cuba Stanley
2010 Going the Distance Toby the Waiter
2011 Cedar Rapids Trent
2011 Your Sister's Sister Al
2010 Sleepwalk with Me Matt Pandamiglio Also director, writer
2014 The Fault in Our Stars Patrick
2014 Adult Beginners Braden
2014 Annie Social services inspector
2015 Digging for Fire Phil
2015 Hot Pursuit Steve
2015 Trainwreck Tom
2016 Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Blond CMZ Reporter
2016 Don't Think Twice Miles Also director, writer, producer
2016 Tramps Scott
2017 The Guardian Brothers Health inspector English version; voice[52]

TelevisionEdit

Year Title Role Notes
2012 Girls Brian Episode: "Vagina Panic"
2013–2014 Inside Amy Schumer Various 2 episodes: "Slow Your Roll" and "Wingwoman"
2015–2016 Orange Is the New Black Danny Pearson 12 episodes
2017 Broad City Richard Miller Episode: "House-Sitting"
2018 Billions Oscar Langstraat 3 episodes: "Hell of a Ride," "The Flaw in the Death Star," "The Third Ortolan"

Standup specialsEdit

  • What I Should Have Said Was Nothing: Tales From My Secret Public Journal (2008)
  • My Girlfriend's Boyfriend (2013) - also released as a comedy album
  • Thank God for Jokes (2017) - Netflix Originals special

DiscographyEdit

  • 2004: Dog Years (out of print) (self-produced, winner of the "Just Plain Folks" comedy album of the year)
  • 2005: Invite Them Up (Comedy Central Records compilation CD of NYC indie comics)
  • 2005: My Secret Public Album, Volume 1a (weekly guest spots on The Bob and Tom Show)
  • 2006: Two Drink Mike
  • 2007: My Secret Public Journal Live
  • 2011: Sleepwalk with Me Live
  • 2013: My Girlfriend's Boyfriend
  • 2017: Thank God for Jokes

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Title Category Result
2003 ECNY Award Stand-up comedy Best Male Stand-up Won
2009 Nightlife Awards Sleepwalk with Me Outstanding Comedian in a Major Engagement Won
Outer Critics Circle Outstanding Solo Show Nominated
Lucille Lortel Outstanding Solo Show Nominated
Drama Desk Outstanding Solo Performance Nominated
2011 Outer Critics Circle My Girlfriend's Boyfriend Outstanding Solo Show Nominated
Drama Desk Outstanding Solo Performance Nominated
Lucille Lortel Outstanding Solo Show Won
Thurber Prize for American Humor Sleepwalk with Me and Other Painfully True Stories N/A Finalist
2012 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award Sleepwalk with Me (Film) Best of NEXT Won
Gotham Awards Breakthrough Actor[53] Nominated
2016 Screen Actors Guild Award Orange is the New Black Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Won
Lucille Lortel Mike Birbiglia: Thank God For Jokes[54] Outstanding Solo Show Nominated
2017 Just For Laughs Awards Stand-up comedy Stand-Up Comedian of the Year[55] Won
Kurt Vonnegut Humor Award[56] N/A N/A Won

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit