COMEDIAN MIKE BIRBIGLIA ON HIS NEW MOVIE, SLEEPWALK WITH ME
The movie Sleepwalk with Me tells a more-or-less loyal story of how a critical nap commotion has influenced a relations as good as career of stand up comic Mike Birbiglia. It’s a story which he’s told before—as a stand-up bit, a one-man play constructed by Nathan Lane, a story told during The Moth storytelling series, a shred on This American Life, a book and right divided a feature-length movie, in theaters starting Aug. 24, for which Birbiglia served as star, co-director as good as co-writer. He sat down with TIME to speak about a destiny of comedy, what not to contend during a glow as good as how creation your initial film is similar to pushing a propagandize bus.
TIME: Your story went by a lot of opposite variations. Besides a viewable changes to length, were there any specific sum which worked or didn’t work in a single format contra another?
Mike Birbiglia: If you wish to, you can attend to a one-man show. Sleepwalk with Me Live was an album. It’s upon iTunes; it’s upon Spotify. You can listen to which certain things only had to go. There’s a story about how my sister as good as you went to Alaska as good as you had a bear encounter. And that’s a flattering costly thing to shoot. And there’s this story about how you had a growth in my bladder when you was nineteen as good as it went divided as good as any 6 months after which you had to go for a cystoscopy, which is a unequivocally unpleasant procession where they cling to a rod, essentially, by your urethra to demeanour in your bladder. It fundamentally establishes which you didn’t unequivocally wish to see a doctor. In a play, it serves which purpose. In a movie, it didn’t fit with a flow. That’s a thing about movies. There’s a certain movement as good as there’s a certain conduct to buy to them.
Did a story in all pierce divided from your genuine hold up as it went from a single form to another?
For sure. That’s since you altered [my character's] name to Matt Pandamiglio. It’s not my parents. It’s not Vincent Birbiglia as good as Mary Jean Birbiglia; it’s Linda Pandamiglio as good as Frank Pandamiglio. Once [cast members] James Rebhorn as good as Carol Kane have been celebration of a mass a difference which you’ve written, they’re putting a turn upon it that’s so most improved than you could presumably consider of.
You altered a character’s name, though that’s not unequivocally subtle.
It’s utterly a blink to a audience, in a approach which Alvy Singer is a blink to a assembly in Annie Hall. We longed for to shift a name though not shift it in a approach which people go, “Wait, have been you perplexing to avoid a actuality which this is formed upon a loyal events of your sleepwalking?” Matt Pandamiglio in a small ways is a undiluted embellishment for what you did. We took something which was loyal as good as afterwards altered a small of a things so which it was a small some-more convenient.
(MORE: 10 Questions for Ira Glass)
And it’s set in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
The star of a film! Park Slope!
You can’t go anywhere in Park Slope though using in to a storytelling event. Every bar has them. And you’re partial of this total storytelling moment, even a messenger of it…
When you started, there were no storytelling events!
What do you consider is during a back of a recognition of storytelling as a format?
I consider which what’s happened in enlightenment is dual things. In conditions of comedy, there was a Seinfeldian epoch of humerous entertainment which you adore though got played out. Seinfeld was great though afterwards after him it was people behaving similar to Seinfeld as good as creation observations which you felt similar to we’d kind of listened before, as good as afterwards you’re observant Seinfeldian humerous entertainment in commercials. Suddenly all is observational funniness. From a stand up comic perspective, in between me, Louis C.K., Doug Stanhope, Maria Bamford as good as a lot of comedians who do autobiographical work, it wasn’t a conspiracy, similar to “we’re all starting to discuss it stories from right divided on,” though comedians of course curve divided from what alternative people have been doing.
From an inventive perspective, a record has finished cunning so immersive as good as strenuous as good as all feels similar to it can be fictionalized as good as artificial as good as gaudy. Everything’s IMAX as good as 3D. Everything’s so large as good as grand as good as arrange of fake. The thing about storytelling is it’s unequivocally nude down, it’s unequivocally most during a core of “I’m a chairman as good as I’m only revelation you this thing as good as you need you to certitude me as good as hold which what I’m observant is true, as good as if you hold which what I’m observant is loyal afterwards you have been continuous to any other.” you consider there’s something unequivocally pleasing about that. And you consider which it will finish soon. [laughs] The same approach which a humerous entertainment bang finished in a ’80s since humerous entertainment clubs became so ubiquitous—like any highway house loll became a humerous entertainment bar as good as in a future sealed down in a ’90s—storytelling is in a bang right now.
So what’s a subsequent storytelling?
It could be absurdism; it could be earthy comedy; it could be wordless film. It could be true plays. Nobody knows what a subsequent thing is starting to be.
What authorised this sold story to work in so most opposite formats?
It’s embellishment that’s literal. It’s a simplest approach to assimilate a subliminal quandary in an pretended way. And it happened. That helps. That’s since you consider during a commencement observant “I’m starting to discuss it you a story as good as it’s true” is important.
What’s it similar to to go from a middle similar to humerous entertainment that’s unequivocally self-driven to something some-more collaborative similar to film?
I’ve regularly had collaborators. That’s how you proposed in college; you was in a improv organisation during Georgetown. And you hired a director, Seth Barrish [who co-directed a movie] to approach my one-man shows. But I’m upon theatre alone utterly a bit as good as you have to conduct an audience. Managing an assembly in a lot of ways is similar to directing a film. Bill Cosby has this result about stand-up humerous entertainment where you’re similar to a commander of a plane: you have to action calm. You competence know which you’re drifting in to a charge though you have to contend to a passengers, [in a commander voice] “A integrate bumps up ahead, things have been seeking great as good as we’ll be down in about 45 mins as good as suffer your ride.” If you do that, people will feel okay. But if you begin freaking out as good as go, “I don’t know what’s starting on, it looks similar to there’s continue though a continue inform this sunrise pronounced there wasn’t starting to be weather,” a people in a seats have been like, “Oh my God, he doesn’t know! And if he doesn’t know you don’t know anything!” That’s a hint of directing as well. The word which you schooled which you can’t contend is “I don’t know.” If you contend “I don’t know,” you’re screwed.
What do you contend instead?
You say, “I’ll discuss it you in 5 minutes.” It’s droll since in drama you can contend “I don’t know” as good as it’s kind of this trippy, far-out call in to try artistically. “I don’t know” in film is similar to observant “I’m an idiot; glow me.”
Were there any moments during filming where it was unequivocally transparent which you hadn’t finished a film before?
Every second of any day. It’s similar to display up to a margin outing in seventh class as good as jumping upon a train as good as saying, “Hey everybody, I’m gonna expostulate a bus.” Everyone’s like, “What? You don’t know how to expostulate a bus.” And you’re like, “I know, though I’ve been examination a train driver. you feel similar to you have a cling to of it. I’ve been examination alternative train rides as good as you have my favorites as good as my slightest favorites, as good as you feel similar to you have a bus-driving cultured as good as you feel similar to that’s starting to lift us through.” Fortunately you arrived during a margin trip. We didn’t expostulate off a road.
Now do you have a movie-making bug?
I do. you only feel it’s similar to starting to healing school. You can’t go to healing propagandize as good as come out as good as be like, “I’m starting to be a dog catcher.” That would be so pointless. Once you know how to have a movie, you can’t not have a movie. It’s a hardest damn thing you could ever suppose as good as a skill-set is so specific. Also it’s a passion. you adore cinema as good as you desired creation a movie, as tough as it was. I’m operative upon a film instrumentation of My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend, which is a uncover I’m furloughed a universe with right now.
How do you nap these days?
I nap okay. you still nap in a sleeping bag. you don’t wear a mittens since they’re as well hot. But creation cinema is not a most appropriate thing for nap disorders. you was directing myself all day, personification myself. you would come home during night as good as you couldn’t close my brain off. you would sleepwalk as good as my mother would come in as good as you would be adjusting lamps. She’d be like, “What have been you doing?” And I’d be like, “We’re shooting.” She’d be like, “No, we’re not,” as good as I’m like, “No, I’m sorry, though you are.” Like you contend in a movie, it doesn’t go away.
And for Sleepwalk with Me, right divided which it’s been by so most lives…
How do you know?
I know which it’s finished since you don’t consider there’s any alternative media, alternative than video games as good as striking novels…
A musical, as good as additionally Ira [Glass, of This American Life, who co-produced a movie] pronounced progressing currently which may be you can do a small arrange of artisanal cheese plate.