What's it about?
Mike Birbiglia: Thank God for Jokes is a stand-up show that follows comedian Mike Birbiglia as he struggles to come up with material for the Gotham Independent Film Awards in 2012.
What'd I experience?
I can't even begin to get into how excited I was about going to see this show. Mike Birbiglia is one of my favorite comedians, and I've always wanted to see him live. Add that to the fact that I was seeing him in the Lynn Redgrave Theatre, where even if I had the furthest possible seat I'd still be about 10 feet away from him, you could imagine how excited I was.
The show opened with footage of Jimmy Kimmel introducing him as the host of the Gotham awards, which felt really cool because it made the small, intimate theater feel like a little bit bigger of a show (if that makes any sense). Then Mike came out, telling a joke that I really connected with. He was saying how a bunch of us probably told people who we were going to see that night, and how they probably replied with "Who?" Almost all of the people I that I told who I was going to see replied with "That's cool... who is that?" I really like when a comedian or celebrity has the humility to recognize and joke about the extent (or lack) of their fame. If there's one thing I hate, it's when a celebrity takes themselves too seriously and has a weird sense of greatness just because they are who they are. Everyone should just be like Mike, his show was completely sold out the night I went and a few nights after, and he still acts like he's unknown.
Following this was probably my favorite moment of the show because he addressed a very important issue: people who are always late. I (and Mike, thankfully) can't stand being late, and the fact that a few people I know don't really mind being late really gets under my skin. He said they always try to justify it by saying that they like to be fashionably late, which is pretty much the equivalent of saying you're only stylishly racist. The best part, though, was that as he was going on about all of this... a couple walked in (which at this point is about 15-20 minutes late). He proceeded to take their tickets, escort them to their seats, and then asked them about their day and why they were late. Not only was this insanely funny, but their seats were right next to mine so he was standing right next to me and I was starstruck.
Throughout the rest of the show it was non-stop laughter throughout the room. I (and most of the audience) was laughing at how hilarious Mike was, and Mike was laughing too at the little interactions he was having with a few audience members. The whole vibe of the room gave the impression that we were all already friends, and just hanging out and listening to one of our friends tell this story filled with jokes. It was a really humanizing atmosphere, and rather than feeling like I was just going to watch someone perform I felt like I was really being shown his thoughts and emotions as he was going on this stressful journey. I noticed that the room wasn't completely dark on us (the audience) and that they even turned light on us at some points rather than just Mike - that really made it feel more like we were all in this together rather than just here to listen to him.
On the topic of us all being in it together, Mike ended the show with something very thought provoking. The main subject of the show is was the effect that jokes have, and that pretty much any joke is offensive since they have to be about something. Because of this fact, add on technology and the internet, and the fact that we are all closer than ever, (or how Mike put it, that we are all neighbors now) - that means what we say reaches more and more people. This has two different effects, the obvious one being that we have to watch what we say, or at least understand that what we say could potentially offend someone. The other, which I felt at least (and if it was not your intention Mike and if you're reading this I'm sorry), was that we shouldn't try to be offended by everything we see or read. Yes, there are instances where people are legitimately trying to say something in order to offend someone, but the majority of people are not trying to hurt anyone. So rather than looking into everything people say and trying to find something offensive in it, we should be more consciousness on both the saying and reading/hearing side of things.
Want to see it?
:( This show is currently not showing