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His Secret World

Mike Birbiglia’s maturation as a comic is nearly complete on new CD.


Comedian Mike Birbiglia has come a long way in the past few years, to the point where he has another solid CD, released late last month, “My Secret Public Journal Live.” Birbiglia is genial, perhaps a bit spacey, but he captures moments recognizable for Gen Xers.

On the track “Like Fun!,” Birbiglia recalls his mother’s habit of saying, whenever she didn’t want him to do something, “Like fun you are…” which made him think, “Sure. Like fun! I’m going to the mall. There’s burgers, an arcade, and it’s fun!”

Perhaps this strict upbringing gave Birbiglia a bit of an inferiority complex, which he plays on in other material. The CD opens with “Celebrity Golf,” his tale of an unsuccessful attempt to follow Hall of Fame quarterback Phil Simms as entertainment at the banquet for a charity golf tournament. “And who can follow [Simms]? Of course, Mike Birbiglia.”

He delivers a lot of these anecdotes in a loopy, spacey voice, something like that of comedic performer Nick Swardson (best known as the effeminate rollerblader on “Reno 911“), only with more focus and not as the only trick in his bag. Birbiglia puts on a few other voices at times, like an enraged one proclaiming “batter up!” for ideas Birbiglia voices at the most awkward times possible.

For instance, having a bed delivered to his apartment, a woman neighbor makes a comment “a rapist wouldn’t have a bed like that.” Birbiglia recalls, “What I should have said was nothing. What I did say was ‘You’d be surprised.’”

Birbiglia has figured out just when to put in some variations on his persona, in small doses, to add dimension to his act. And so “Secret Public Journal Live” definitely will earn repeat plays in your collection.

  

   

     

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