Friday, March 07, 2014

Mike Birbiglia; March 7, 2014; Capital Theater

I hate comedy.  I say that a lot, I don’t really mean it of course, a good laugh is the best thing ever, several in a row is nirvana.  But much of what is labeled as comedy isn’t.  Of the gazillion sitcoms ever produced only a handful have been funny, and even fewer stay funny,  The fact that I still want to watch “The Big Bang Theory” after seven seasons blows my mind.  The same holds true for standup.  Amateur standup is painful, the only thing worse is amateur improv, and there’s only a few of the nationally known comedians that I find funny.  I recently binge watched three seasons of “Louie,” starring and loosely based on the life of Louis CK, and featuring some of his standup.  The latter is quite good, if offensive, but truthfully it’s the crazy people surrounding him that made the show so funny.  I also really enjoyed Mike Birbiglia’s similar based-on-his-life movie “Sleepwalk with Me,” which made his serious sleep disorder kinda hilarious.  So when my sister wanted to go see him in Madison I said sure.

Apparently there aren’t openers in comedy, which seems odd.  You would think all those up and coming comedians would want exposure on a bigger stage, much like smaller bands open for bigger ones.  I also found out that you want to be on time, especially if you are seated in the first dozen rows, because if you are late, you will be made fun of.  Mercilessly.  And it started right on time.  He talked for over an hour, about being married, growing up Catholic, and other funny things, but unfortunately not about the time he sleepwalked out a second story hotel window.   I found it entertaining, though maybe not $35 worth.  The woman behind us, now she got her money’s worth, she laughed at everything he said, except for the things that were the funniest.  You know, the really smart funny stuff.  I always wondered who those reflexive laughers on the laugh tracks of comedies were. 

He did mention that he had his movie for sale in the lobby.  “Or you can watch it for free on Netflix,” he bemoaned, before lamenting that was what was wrong with entertainment today, “you spend all this time and money making something and then give it away for free.”  I felt a little bad, but I am pretty sure that Netflix paid him something.   Besides, I think maybe he owes me something since I won’t be able to go to church ever again without thinking, “Christ has lied, Christ’s in prison, Christ will come at ten” during the profession of faith.

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