The first time I heard Mike Birbiglia's voice was during a long drive to New York City. It was 2006, and I was moving there from Savannah, Ga., where I'd just graduated from film school a few months earlier. A friend sent me off with a series of mix CDs to listen to on the drive, and Mike's Two Drink Mike comedy album was one of them. I laughed so hard listening to it that I didn't notice when my dog knocked the car's stick shift from drive into neutral while going 70 MPH on the highway. As the car quickly began to lose speed, the drivers behind me jacked on their brakes to avoid crashing into me. Horns blared and middle fingers flew as I frantically pumped the gas pedal, oblivious as to why the engine was making a strange whirring sound as the car slowed even more. I finally glanced down at the stick and noticed that it was in neutral. I quickly threw it back into drive as Mike's voice finished singing "The Oatmeal Song."
Mike's comedy was so good it nearly killed me.
Earlier this year, I saw his semi-autobiographical film Sleepwalk with Me, and once again, experienced everything I've loved about Mike's comedy and storytelling over the years. His character was funny, honest and completely relatable, especially for fellow comedy performers. "I think to be a comedian you have to be a little bit delusional, particularly starting out," he says in the film. "There's just so much failure, and amidst that failure you have to tell yourself it's going quite nicely. Because if you didn't, you would just never get onstage again."
I loved the film so much that during our Geeking Out interview, I asked Mike if I could pre-audition for a role in his next film, an adaptation of his current one-man show, My Girlfriend's Boyfriend. I performed an emotional monologue from the 1985 adventure film The Goonies and, as you'll see in the interview, I think it went quite nicely.
Kerri Doherty is the creator and host of a web series for Official Comedy called Geeking Out - a fanatic and often awkward celebrity interview series hosted by everyone's #1 FAN. Catch new episodes every Thursday!