08/23/2012 09:36 pm ET Updated Oct 23, 2012

Mike Birbiglia: Talking Sleepwalk

The great thing about doing a one-man-show-length monologue, like Sleepwalk With Me, Mike Birbiglia says, is that you can go anywhere you want with it, almost as quickly as you can say it.

"I can be talking about considering going to the doctor about my sleepwalking -- and then say, 'Let me tell you about this thing that happened to me when I was 19,'" Birbiglia explains, sitting in the Thalia Café at Manhattan's Symphony Space, where he recently screened the film of the one-man show (which opens in limited release Aug. 24). "I'm able to go leap-frogging around in an extremely elliptical way. With a monologue, you can be unendingly elliptical.

"Sometimes people say, 'You're the best at digressions.' And that's actually a real compliment to me."

In a movie? Not so much: "Film is so immersive," he says. Also expensive.

"I tell a story in the stage show about going to Alaska with my sister, and we saw a bear -- like, up close -- with our fishing guide. Now it's a nice story. But you can't rent a bear and fly the production to Alaska for such a low-budget film."

This interview continues on my website.