Mike Birbiglia is not interested in your laughter. Or at least, that’s not all he’s interested in. While most comedians shy away from long-form jokes — for fear of not getting any laughs and being stuck with a sinking ship for ten minutes — Birbiglia is all about the long-term relationship with his audience, building a report of tension and sympathy… and then wham! The joke you didn’t see coming knocks you off your perch.
Following up on the success of last year’s Sleepwalk With Me, the autobiographical film he made with This American Life producer Ira Glass, Birbiglia released his fourth comedy special, My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend, on Netflix just last week. Birbiglia took a break from his current comedy tour — which includes a five-show run at Comedy Works — to chat with us about sleep disorders, combining standup with theater, and why the horror of our lives is the best source of comedy.