Birbiglia to head Fall Show

Stand-up comedian and Comedy Central contributor Mike Birbiglia will perform at this year’s Fall Show on Oct. 12th, according to a schedule posted on Birbiglia’s Web site.

Officials for the Yale Student Activities Committee and the Yale College Council said they cannot confirm that Birbiglia is coming to the University because they have not yet finalized the contract with this year’s performer.

Comedy Central’s Mike Birbiglia will be featured in the Yale College Council’s Fall Show.
Comedy Central’s Mike Birbiglia will be featured in the Yale College Council’s Fall Show.

Birbiglia has recorded two half-hour comedy routines for the “Comedy Central Presents” series, contributes regularly to radio’s “The Bob and Tom Show” and has released two CDs, including “Two Drink Mike” in 2006.

Students had mixed reactions to the news of this year’s performer, as many students said they were not familiar with Birbiglia.

Dan Nagler ’08 said he has never heard of the comedian and is unsure whether he will attend the show.

“[I’m] not disappointed necessarily,” he said. “Just because I don’t know him doesn’t mean he’s not awesome.”

Last year’s Fall Show, originally scheduled for October 2006, was moved to February to accommodate the schedule of the main act, stand-up comedian and “Daily Show” contributor Lewis Black DRA ’77. The event was incorporated into the Winter Arts Festival.

Black’s February performance was a hit with many Yalies, particularly in contrast with the 2005 show. That year, comedian Ed Helms and an improv group led by “Saturday Night Live” cast member Horatio Sanz garnered lukewarm reviews. A number of students stood up and left Woolsey Hall during Sanz’s performance.

Alex Harding ’08 said he did not attend last year’s February show but thinks a stand-up comedian like Black is the kind of comedian YSAC should be trying to bring to campus.

Birbiglia’s stand-up comedy, as opposed to a less structured improvisational-comedy routine like Sanz’, should be an improvement over the 2005 show, he said.

“The last time they had an improv guy, it didn’t work out at all,” Harding said. “[But] it’s not like there’s one specific person I’d like to see.”

Harding, who is not familiar with Birbiglia’s work, said he probably will not attend the show.

Though he had never heard of Birbiglia, Austin Shiner ’11 said he will likely attend. But higher-profile comedians, such as Black, Dane Cook or Sarah Silverman, would make for a more exciting event, Shiner said.

“I suppose at the end of the day, I think Robin Williams when he’s on his game is just about unbeatable,” he said. “If they had found a way to get Robin Williams to come, it would have been unbelievable.”

Maddy Blount ’08 said she did not know of Birbiglia but is glad that the Fall Show will actually take place during the fall this year.

YSAC will hold tryouts this weekend to choose one undergraduate comedian who will open for Birbiglia. Last year, professional comedian John Bowman opened with a 35-minute stand-up routine.

Last February’s show drew a total of about 2,000 students to Woolsey Hall and earned YSAC around $22,000. Black charged YSAC $42,500 for his hour-long performance.

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