Letter: Birbiglia coming, whether we like it or not

To the Editor:

The first couple weeks of touring have been amazing. My new CD is ranked no. 4 on Amazon, no. 3 on iTunes and 200 hundred and dizzle-bizzle on the hip hop charts. The reviews for the CD have been great, but this morning someone e-mailed me an a preview article for the show I’m doing at Yale and it reminded me of one of my favorite journal entries when I showed up at a celebrity golf tournament with my brother Joe and the guys we were paired with for golf said, “Who do you think our celebrity is going to be?” And for a moment I got excited. I was like, “Yea! Who do you think our celebrity is going to be?” And then I was like, “Oh no, I think it might be me.” And then I had to spend the rest of the day apologizing for being their celebrity. I was like, “If you think this is disappointing for you. You can’t imagine how disappointing it is for me.”

So the article in the Yale Daily News (9/28) opens by saying, “Stand-up comedian Mike Birbiglia will perform at this year’s Fall Show on Oct. 12th…Students had mixed reactions to the news of this year’s performer, as many students said they were not familiar with Birbiglia.”

So at first I thought, thanks Yale Daily News! As though my self-esteem isn’t low enough, I’ve been invited to your school and now there’s an article dedicated to the fact that you’ve never heard of me. Suddenly, I felt like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – invited to speak and then introduced with a list of reasons why I’m a jackass.

I thought surely there must be someone who’s heard of me, otherwise why would they have invited me? Then I read: “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.” “Phew,” I thought. Dan may not be attending the show but at least he’s not ruling out the prospect of my show being awesome. Of course, it’s hard to be awesome when no one attends your show, so there’s kind of a catch 22 there.

As I read further, there was a ray of hope: “Though he had never heard of Birbiglia, Austin Shiner ’11 said he will likely attend. But higher-profile comedians…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.”

Finally, I thought. A voice of reason. Austin Shiner has this great idea about purchasing a time machine to revisit 1979 when Robin Williams was coked up to the point of exuding humor. While we’re at it, why don’t we have Jimi Hendrix open the show and just play the hits? Then at commencement we’ll have FDR give a speech, not about the boring New Deal stuff, just the kick-ass Pearl Harbor speech and throw in some “Fear itself” catch phrases. After all, we go to Yale. We deserve it.

The article ends with a quote from Maddy Blount ‘08 saying she did not know of Birbiglia but is glad that “the Fall Show will actually take place during the fall this year.” Glad to be of some help, Maddy. If there’s one thing Mike Birbiglia knows it’s when the fall is.

After I finish writing, I’m sending this secret journal entry to the Yale newspaper. I’m still planning to come to your school and I’m going to put on the best show I can. A great man once said, “Just because you don’t know who I am doesn’t mean I’m not awesome.” I’m just trying to stay positive. After all, my first choice was to perform at Harvard but you were my safety school.

Mike Birbiglia

October 8

Birbiglia will be performing tonight at the Fall Show.

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