Day: July 10, 2006

Mike Birbiglia, Sleepwalk With Me

Mike Birbiglia spent most of the past week at the Comedy Studio in Cambridge, Mass., workshopping a new one-man show that he’s calling "Sleepwalk With Me." On Saturday, he even took an hour before the club opened to meet with any and all local comedians who had questions for him about comedy and show business. It was a nice gesture on his part. Closing out the lineup on Saturday, Birbiglia brought out 34 minutes of material, noted his time was up, then skipped ahead to a 12-minute section of material dealing with his real-life odysseys in sleepwalking. A lot of this falls under the category of strange but true. Even stranger, yet just as interesting to me, was seeing how Birbiglia took his closing bit from his Comedy Central Presents and made it the opening routine for his one-man show — it’s his childhood Valentine’s Day bear card he drew up for his parents. Consider this as evidence how moving material around in your setlist can open completely different avenues for humorous storytelling. He’d show off his efforts the following month in Montreal at Just For Laughs, and told me he expected to have the full show ready for viewing in a few...

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Joe Rogan in transition

I think I know why Joe Rogan’s publicist wanted me to see his stand-up last weekend at the Comedy Connection. For those of you who haven’t seen Rogan perform before, know that he has a reputation for being one of the bluest of blue comics, coming out of the gate with raunchy material and never letting up. But on Friday night, at least, that wasn’t the Joe Rogan I saw and heard. This time, he opened with a bit about how much shock and awe he felt as the host of NBC’s Fear Factor. Sure, there is some profane language. But for close to an hour, Rogan’s act really was much more about the rise of stupid people — which reflects our interview from the year before — with his own takes on Noah’s Ark and the Egyptian Pyramids. Rogan also gave a shoutout to Newton South High School and showed off a hilarious impersonation of his longtime opening act, Joey Diaz. On this weekend, Diaz and Ari Shaffir (who’d show up in Rogan’s infamous video accusing Carlos Mencia of joke theft later), traded opening and middle slots. Diaz told the audience he’d gotten stoned right before his first-show set, and well, it showed. Ari, aka "The Amazing Racist," turned in some OK stuff for someone who bills himself as "The Amazing...

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