Birbiglia is funny
Most of you probably know him from his one joke on the Comedy Central promo: "I think I like Tom Cruise a little too much " but Mike Birbiglia demonstrated a surprising depth and maturity in his comedic set last Friday that extended beyond the ambiguously gay jokes. Performing to a packed Jack McGee's Pub, first his opener, Ed Harot and then Birbiglia made note of the three tiers of seating surrounding them on all sides. "Its like I'm in the Thunderdome," he noted in a reference few understood. While a few of his jokes failed to get much of his response, overall he was very well received.
The opening act was Ed Harot, a young comic with an observational and anecdotal style and material that mainly pandered to the college crowd with jokes on hip hop music, being poor, the gym, and video games. In one of his better jokes that combined three of these, he observed that sneaking around was harder than in games; being too poor to afford a gym membership, he attempted to sneak in using his virtual skills, but unfortunately hitting the crouch button in real life didn't render him invisible to the guard. He got a good amount of laughs and after warming up the crowd introduced the headliner Birbiglia.
While he too occasionally dipped into observational humor, his sheer quirkiness made it fresh. He purposed white people take the word cracker for their own like African Americans claimed "the N word." He wanted to give vomiting on your friends house a sports themed name, like "thirty love." He pondered how he would fare as a comedian under the Nazi regime in Roman Polanski's The Pianist if he were to replace the hero.
While Birbiglia is fairly new to the comedic world (he only graduated
from Georgetown University in 2000), his style is already receiving notice.
Backstage Magazine says "It's quite impressive how he covers such
a wide range of topics while still working totally clean, providing a
set that's juicy for adults, yet family friendly." His act was funny
enough and deep enough to entertain for the full hour. However, this "clean-enough-for-television"
brand of comedy is about as far as one can get from the aggressive humor
of the last comic to visit Bowdoin, Patrice O'Neil, who while hilarious
managed to alienate large parts of the audience in all of five minutes,
including some potential students. One wonders if this played a role in
the choice of this comic.