Birbigs ‘Working It Out’ In Prov

If you were lucky enough to get into Mike Birbiglia‘s sold out “residency” last summer at the Columbus Theatre, you might be in the new show “Good One: A Show About Jokes” now streaming on Peacock. Birbiglia has family in Rhode Island, including brother Joe with whom he works on his various comedy projects. That creative process is what this 46-minute show is about and aspiring stand-up comedians and writers could learn a lot watching this. (First: Be smart and funny.) This is familiar territory to fans of his “Working It Out” podcast.

Regulars will recognize the carpeted stage in what Birbiglia calls “the strange attic” of the Columbus Theatre (great place to see comedy by the way) where Mike is seen work-shopping new material for his next tour. The show includes other local points of interest including Joe’s office and Hope Street Pizza where Mike, Joe, and older sister Gina are seen sharing a pie. The family hails from Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, and I would like to be invited to their Thanksgivings from now if that is possible; these people are good company.

Tickets for Birbiglia’s new show, “Please Stop the Ride,” are selling out but that doesn’t matter because there are no stops near here anyway.

In 2016 I saw Birbiglia in this same strange attic, performing “Thank God for Jokes” just before he took it to New York where it was a boffo smash hit. The next day my face hurt from laughing.

Do yourself a favor and check out “The New One” and last year’s “The Old Man and the Swimming Pool” on Netflix.

I just pulled up a map of Shrewsbury and there are only two places on it: a Dunkin Donuts and Mike’s old high school. And yet, Mr. Birbiglia begins the Columbus show with a dig at his Providence audience: “You’re probably thinking, ‘How come we don’t get the final product? We just get the first draft,’” he teases the small audience. “I feel like Providence is a first-draft town. I feel like maybe that’s who you are.”

I know there’s a compliment in there somewhere.



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