Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mike Birbiglia at Union Hall

Annie beat me to Union Hall last night, an hour before the doors opened, greeting me with a smirk. "There are lots of girls here," she said before eyeing the room over the rim of her glasses.

It was true. The room was packed with eager looking Brooklyn females in the Brooklyn Girl Uniform of scarves and sandals and unfounded optimism. (Well, eager looking females and BILL HADER, who we ended up sitting next to and who I not-so-secretly glanced at all evening to see if he found Mike Birbiglia is as funny as I think do, and, guess what, he does.) Anyway. Birbiglia's act is kind of comedy-light. Nothing raunchy, nothing degrading, nothing base or offensive. It's comedy for girls. Well, and, we think he's cute.

The thing is... Mike Birbiglia is funny. But his stories often tend toward sad. He took the entire hour to tell the back story of how he met his wife, and asked her to marry him, very little of it actually 'funny'. The self deprecation is funny, the tone is funny, the telling hilarious-- but the story slightly cutting. She was dating someone else for most of their courtship; he didn't believe in marriage at all; neither did she. Typical New Yorkers, yessiry. But they did get married, and he gave us the happy ending we were waiting for-- we're girls, afterall.

I've seen other comedy at Union Hall, none of it even close to keeping my attention or gaining my respect. It's his humanizing nature that draws us in. We need to hear his stories in order to understand our own lives, and why not laugh while getting there. He's a storyteller above all else, but I've already given this argument, a few times, and I think we can come to a mutual agreement that this is true. If you still haven't heard him, part of this performance can be found on last week's episode of This American Life, and I know I'm a broken record by even mentioning NPR right now, my apologies.

I left the show a little bit sad, to be honest. Not because it wasn't brilliant and funny and wonderful and fresh. I guess I was more aware of his pain this time-- the stories behind the telling. Like Sloane Crosley, Birbiglia isn't unique, and he therefore hits close to home. But there is grace in the end, thank goodness. The grace lays in that doesn't have it all figured out either--- he just has a better time getting there :)

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