DVD review: What I Should Have Said Was Nothing

Mike Birbiglia’s latest special, What I Should Have Said Was Nothing: Tales From My Secret Public Journal, released today. You’ve seen some of it already on Comedy Central (which broadcast about 44 minutes of it in February, and video clips plus my interview with Birbiglia then can be found here). The DVD includes the full 56-minute performance and 26-minute encore, along with another 26-minute documentary called "Strictly For Fans," which would be pretty much anyone who buys the DVD.

I’ve gone on record before applauding Birbiglia’s talents as an engaging and sincere storyteller, and that’s all on display on this DVD. For me, the true extras on his "extras" track arrive when the comedian isn’t telling jokes but in between, when he’s taking requests, recounting an incident on tour last year with his "A-Team Van," and talking about the show itself. At one point, he acknowledges after a laugh line: "That’s a callback to a joke I didn’t do! How about that for a show?!" At another, he wonders aloud if the audience could hear him talking while they were laughing. The result: More laughter. Don’t worry. As a viewer, you can hear it all just fine. There’s also more guitar, not only in his encore at the NYU performance, but also on the documentary, shot in the spring of 2006 on his "Medium Man on Campus" tour. Though it shares a common premise of documenting a college tour, this is no Tourgasm. Not exactly. You get to see older brother Joe Birbiglia (he’s real! he exists! of course he does) as well as featured act John Mulaney, who gets his laughs in offstage. Fan interactions range from the obvious highs (crushes and homemade T-shirts) to lows (hecklers) and the drunks (highs and lows?). We learn how Birbiglia got his first club headlining gig, based on a booker seeing his seven-minute Premium Blend performance on Comedy Central. If you’re a fan of any of Birbiglia’s past work, you’ll want to pick up this DVD.

Fun fact #1: Andrew Secunda, show runner for Birbiglia’s CBS sitcom pilot, co-edited the documentary.
Fun fact #2: The DVD from Shout! Factory includes a trailer for Zach Galifianakis: Live from The Purple Onion.

P.S. Just noticed that Comedy Central is rebroadcasting the edited version of this special at 10 p.m. tonight!

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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One thought on “DVD review: What I Should Have Said Was Nothing

  1. I was this that night. You’re review has enticed me to pick up the DVD for the extras. I completely agree about his mad storytelling skills.

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