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Arts, Theatre

Beyond The Hook: Mike Birbiglia

Posted by Luc / January 3, 2011

MikeBirbiglia.jpg Beyond the Hook is a series of Question & Answers with theatrical artists from Montreal or gracing our fair city with their presence. All questions are meticulously concocted by the Midnight Poutine team to truly reveal the subject's true character and desires.

Aaaaalright, here's the scoop! Mike Birbiglia, a wicked comedian with bits like this, has a show that is going to broadway in February, but lucky for us he's stopping off in Montreal first. This weekend to boot! Here's the press schpiel*:

Just For Laughs is thrilled to announce the return of Mike Birbiglia to Montreal following his hit run this summer at the Just For Laughs Festival. Mike returns with his solo performance of "My Girlfriend's Boyfriend," January 6, 7 & 8 at 7:30 PM at Gesù Centre de Créativité.

In My Girlfriend's Boyfriend, besides deconstructing marriage, he dives in the story behind the title. It's about the pain and heartbreak of relationships. In this case, it goes back to Birbiglia's high-school years. He finally had his first girlfriend, but there was a slight hitch: She had another boyfriend in her hometown.

Oh situational comedy, what will you think of next! Seriously though, Birbiglia has a great rep and this show should be pretty solid, especially if it's hitting Broadway next. And anyone who's sole press shot is them with ice cream cones is bound to get 4 stars in my books. I recently sat down with Mike via email via a publicist via his manager, and he had this to say:

Q: Besides family, friends, other artists, and Mr Mistoffolees, what influenced you to get involved in Theater?
A: I did theater in high school because, of course, it's easier to read plays than novels. Then I did theater and improv in college and it quickly became all i did, much to my parents' chagrin. I skipped most of my classes, except playwriting and screenwriting.
When I couldn't find a job as a playwright out of college (not sure they post those on i went on the road as a standup comedian, did that for about 10 years, and made my way through the circuit playing clubs and colleges. then i circled back to theater by writing "Sleepwalk with Me," my first one man play. and now we're on number 2, "My Girlfriend's Boyfriend."

Q: What do you love most about Montreal?
A: I love the Just For Laughs festival. I love that the city supports it, and that every year they put on these wild parades and spectacles and bring in great comedians from around the world. It's where i got my first big break in new faces in 2001 so it's a bit sentimental for me every time i return.

Q:If there's any person out there that should hail from Montreal but actually doesn't, who is it?
A: Anyone in the United States named Gerard or Pierre might be better off if they were from Montreal.

Q: What set of emotions do you go through after eating Poutine?

A: There's the great joy that comes with eating poutine, the fear that I may be running out of poutine, the anger that other people are judging me for eating three bowls of poutine, and the regret that I will later need to call for an intermission during my show.

Q: If you had to be part of any historical event, which would you choose and who would you be?
A: I think I would like to be present at the first flight of Orville and Wilbur Wright. I would have liked to have been their third brother, Jenkins, and I would have asked if I could get a first-class upgrade. That would have been a good joke, but way ahead of its time.

Q: What is the dumbest thing you could buy with a million dollars?

A: I think a gold-plated waterbed filled with champagne would not be smart.

Q: If you live to be 150 years old, how will you spend your birthday?

A: When I'm 150 I'll probably just be a floating brain in a jar with a speaker that allows me to yell at people. I'd probably yell at someone to take my jar (head) to Bermuda.

Q: What did you do this morning? Why did you do that?
A: I had my shoulder x-rayed because I fell down some subway stairs in New York City. It was not part of a comedy routine, just something that happened when I wasn't watching where I was going. I trust there are no slippery surfaces in Montreal in January.

*schpiel is not a word



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