Mike Birbiglia's maturation from joke-slinging stand-up comedian to consummate one-man performer has been on periodic view here over the past 13-odd years. Here's the trajectory:
August 2004, IWU Hansen Student Center: Birbiglia's first pass through town is a free show for returning IWU students in Hansen Student Center on campus. Though he's not a household name, he's recently made his network TV debut guesting in "Late Night with David Letterman" and taped his own half-hour Comedy Central special. "You probably heard lots of one- and two-minute bits," he says of that first encounter.
October 2006, BCPA: Next time through, people have to pay. But Birbiglia is now only one of five performers on stage as part of the "Five-Hour Energy Drink Friends of Bob & Tom Tour," reflecting his current niche as one of the "B&T" radio shows stable of regulars. "Now I was telling stories instead of jokes, running between 5 and 10 minutes," he notes.
November 2012, Normal Theater: Birbiglia's first film as writer-director-star, "Sleepwalk with Me," based on his off-Broadway hit, plays the Normal in advance of his impending BCPA return. "I was very uncertain about directing. It's a huge task ... doing it was like going to grad school," he says.
December 2012, BCPA: In his BCPA return, which sells out, he's the marquee-commanding headliner of his own one-man show, "My Girlfriend's Boyfriend," the acclaimed follow-up to "Sleepwalk with Me." "This time, I'm telling one single story with each show," he says. "And it's better than it's ever been."