(WATCH FULL MIKE BIRBIGLIA VIDEO INTERVIEW ABOVE)
Mike Birbiglia has become a household name in the comedy world, despite maybe not being the easiest to pronounce. As an actor, writer, comedian, director, producer, and more, it’s safe to say he has a pretty extensive filmography. Those that love his comedy know him best for his own popular work like Sleepwalk With Me, My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend, and Mike Birbiglia’s Secret Public Journal. However he has appeared in more than just a few common television shows and movies as well, including HBO’s Girls, The Fault in Our Stars, Trainwreck, and Orange is the New Black. Although Jon and I are huge fans of his past work, we put on our fanciest attire to catch up with Mike about his most recent project Don’t Think Twice.
Don’t Think Twice, which Birbiglia both directed and starred in, follows the tagline “The spotlight’s not for everyone,” but the spotlight is definitely shining brightly on this film so far with a 100% Rotten Tomatoes score. Not to mention it got two big thumbs up from all of us at The CW Twin Cities! The movie focuses on a group of best friend’s New York City improv troupe and explores what happens to this tight-knit group when suddenly one person leaves familiarity to grow his career on an SNL type of show.
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, but most importantly you will be able to relate as each character goes through different themes of life like jealousy, love, self-doubt, loss, hope, and so on. This relatability factor took me by surprise having gone into the film expecting to see a few actors from popular shows we know and love showcasing their improv talents. However, in the end it was much more than just laughs. As it turns out this in-depth character development was a very important thing for Birbiglia to get across in the movie. During the writing process he had to ask himself, “with an ensemble film of six characters, how do I make their arcs very specific?” Without doing so, the movie may have never happened.
Speaking of characters, we commend Mike on putting together a fantastic cast composed of Keegan-Michael Key, Chris Gethard, Kate Micucci, Tami Sagher, and we here at CW were particularly happy to see Community’s Gillian Jacobs. Of course, following a show like SNL, they couldn’t have a movie without a couple celebrity and musical guest appearances as well. We won’t spoil ALL the details there.
One final thing that took me by surprise during our chat was Mike’s genuine appreciation for Minnesota and the Twin Cities comedy scene. During his time here he held two advanced screenings of the film at the Landmark Lagoon Cinema and Uptown Theatre in Minneapolis. As it turns out, the Uptown has special importance to Mike after his first film Sleepwalk With Me premiered there after its reopening in September 2012. He proved he’s definitely no stranger to other popular Twin Cities venues as he rattled off a few other favorites like the Guthrie, Brave New Workshop, and Acme Comedy Club which he encouraged fans to sign the local petition for and help keep alive. Despite having some “glass half empty” encounters with the locals, he wishes we could move the city closer to him on some sort of giant moving truck. Until we discover one of those, we love that you love Minnesota Mike, and we hope to have you back very soon!
Check out Don’t Think Twice in select theaters everywhere August 5th!