Mike Birbiglia Preaches the Gospel of Humor On His Ambitious "Thank God for Jokes" Tour

Sep 18, 2014 at 4:07 am
Mike Birbiglia - Brian Friedman
Brian Friedman
Mike Birbiglia

Humor can be expressed in many ways, be it a one-liner, a story, a picture or simply a physical action. It is a unique art form, dependent as much on the performer as it is on the audience. It can exist as an individual entity or take small roles in different forms. A funny character can pop up in a dramatic film, just as a wisecrack can stand alone as a single quip between two individuals.

It doesn't take a comedian to tell a joke, but it does take one to properly deliver that joke. And what separates the comedians from the joke-tellers is the knowledge of how to include their audience as opposed to isolating them.

"I have a binder of my present show, and I'm always revising it with a pen and a highlighter, and crossing things out and writing things in," standup comic Mike Birbiglia tells RFT Music. "Every night is different incrementally. I'm always changing it, at least a little bit."

The Shrewsbury, Massachusetts-based Birbiglia began his "Thank God for Jokes" tour in January of this year. The show will make its way to St. Louis this Friday, September 19, at the Pageant.

"The times in my life when I felt closest with people were when I shared a joke with my wife or my brother or my parents, and that's why live comedy shows, in a way, are sort of a religious experience," Birbiglia contends. "I hear a group of people, how they come together in a room, and they're all laughing at the same kind of borderline insane ruminations, all at the same time, and the attempt to connect on a human level -- that's the religious experience. And that's why I gave the tour its title."

The ambitious outing spans over 100 cities and has taken Birbiglia all across the country. His career has brought him overseas and around the world as well, presenting the unique challenge of a language barrier. But while humor can be restricted by and dependent on the dialect of a region, it is also able to transcend it.

Continue to page two for more.