Comic Mike Birbiglia, a Georgetown University graduate, will take his act to UR during Yellowjacket Weekend. He was one of the youngest comedians ever to perform on the The Late Show with David Letterman, recently released a CD called “Two Drink Mike,” and signed a deal with NBC for a sitcom. He has performed on Comedy Central, is currently touring and has another CD, “Sleepwalk with Me,” in the works.

How did you get started in comedy?

I entered a contest when I was in college, actually. I went to Georgetown University, which is not the funniest place. There was a funniest man on campus contest and I entered and won, and, by winning, I won the opportunity to perform at the DC Improv, which is the comedy club there.

I actually opened for Dave Chappelle about 10 years ago, before the show and all that stuff. I loved it and I said to the owner, “how can I get on stage again?” And they basically handed me a mop. I worked the door and was a waiter and sold tickets at the club all through college and I got a little bit of stage time. I got out of college, moved to New York and just pursued it full throttle.

Has having to work your way up influenced your routine at all?

I think so. When I got out of college I was always on the road, working out new bits and trying to tell stories and jokes and workshop stuff in the right way, and I write a thing called My Secret Public Journal which is a blog on the Internet about life on the road. I’m always embarrassed to tell people I have a blog. Everybody has a blog, and they’ll be like “Today I went to JC Penney” and there’s always one comment, like “JC Penney, eh?” and that’s not really a blog. That’s a text message.

You seem to draw a lot of your material from awkward situations in your daily life. We’re in college and we’re awkward. Any advice on making our awkward lives more entertaining?

I think a lot of the best comedy is tragedy, and comedy is tragedy plus time. I tell people that they should write in a journal, or write in a blog because sometimes when you put things on paper it puts things into perspective. In my new album, which comes out in stores September 25, which is called My Secret Public Journal Live, I have a song called “Put it on Paper” and that’s what it’s about.

I went to my therapist and she said “Your time is up.” I was like “No, I have many more problems,” so she advised me to write some of my painful experiences down to put it into perspective. So I put it down for strangers, and that’s how I started writing My Secret Public Journal. It’s funny, on MySpace I have like 40,000 friends and 30,000-40,000 people subscribing to My Secret Public Journal so it’s kind of like I share my diary with them.

You make it look easy. Do you ever get stage fright?

Not so much during the show, but sometimes before. There could always be a problem with the lighting and you kind of have to make do. Over the years, I’ve been put in situations that haven’t been that conducive to comedy. For example, at one college show I was the host of a lip-sync competition.

Besides the new CD and the college tour, do you have any more projects in the works?

Yeah, actually. Right now we’re actually working on turning My Secret Public Journal into an NBC pilot. It’s going to be a half-hour comedy about life and I’m really excited to see what happens.

Doot is a member of the class of 2008.



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