Sleepwalk With Me: Comic Mike Birbiglia Adapts His Stage Show

Smart, funny stand-up comic Mike Birbiglia has already based a book and a touring show on his biographical woes, some of which you may also have heard on This American Life. (Look! There's Ira Glass in a cameo; he helped write the Sleepwalk script.) Here calling himself Matt, Birbiglia plays a mediocre Brooklyn comic pushing 30 with a wonderful girlfriend (Lauren Ambrose) and some very impatient parents (Carol Kane and James Rebhorn). Lacking confidence or compellingly personal material onstage, Matt also has a sleeping disorder and an aversion to marriage. Sleepwalk is studded with Birbiglia's standup buddies, including Wyatt Cenac, Kristen Schaal, Amy Schumer, and Marc Maron, who tells Matt to use his own life for joke material. Bingo! Soon he's piloting a hand-me-down Volvo on the Northeastern college comedy circuit, neglecting his health and girlfriend—whom, oops, he's promised to marry! The best parts of Sleepwalk come from Birbiglia's direct-address narration as he circles for a parking space in his wagon. He's a flawed yet sympathetic fellow reflecting on his youth during the flip-phone '90s. But the mature comic is more compelling than the tyro, and you'd rather see Birbiglia onstage today than Matt way back when.

 
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