Mike Birbiglia's Favorite Comedian Is Arizona's Doug Stanhope

Categories: Comedy, Interviews
Photo credit: Brian Friedman
Who is your favorite comedian right now?
It's funny actually, he lives in Arizona, Doug Stanhope. People always laugh when I say he's my favorite because I think people just assume we're so different from each other. But what he's saying is actually so concise and he has such a clear world view and it's so unique and funny and strange and kind of irrational and rational simultaneously -- the way that I think the best comedy is. His recent special, Beer Hall Putsch, it's on Netflix and it's excellent. Like it's my favorite special from last year.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received as a comedian?
John Pinette watched my set once probably about 10 or 12 years ago when I was opening for him and he was like, "I like the jokes . . . just put them together." I actually think that strangely that's like the simplest piece of advice anyone's ever given me but I actually think it's very sage advice. A lot of times just having jokes in isolation isn't enough. You have to be telling a larger narrative and having every joke add up to a larger story. That was a big step I took in my career when I started going from joke, joke, joke to stories.

Is there any concern about running out of material?
People ask me that a lot. I think it's the most common question. People are very worried that I will run out of material. But I always say that comedy is really is tragedy plus time, and the tragedy, it's not going anywhere. Like I had this thing a few years ago where I was at Sundance for my movie, Sleepwalk with Me and I was on top of the world . . .

And then my brother Joe was like, "Let's go skiing in Park City." And so we go skiing and I was just flying down the mountain and I catch an edge and I go flying, and it's just a yard sale crash all up the mountain. Forty yards up the mountain are like mittens and poles and my hat and the skis and I actually broke my shoulder. So Joe was like, "Let's go get in the hot tub at the hotel." I get in the hot tub and I realize my cell is in my pocket.

And it's moments like that you realize, "Oh, comedy will never go away."

Mike Birbiglia performs Thank God for Jokes at Mesa Arts Center on Friday, May 2, at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $32 to $40. Visit www.mesaartscenter.com or call the box office at 480-644-6500.

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Location Info


Mesa Arts Center

1 E. Main St., Mesa, AZ

Category: General

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