what a goof!
Mike Birbiglia: Two Drink Mike/Dog Years
Mike Birbiglia is a name that, while a tongue-twister, is rapidly becoming more and more prominent in stand-up. Born in Massachusetts, Birbiglia, attended Georgetown University, where he was voted “The Funniest Person On Campus”, which started his career as a professional funny-man. His first two CD’s, Dog years and Two Drink Mike, are the subject for this blog.
Now, I don’t plan on using one entry for two albums very often, but in this case it seemed to be the smartest way to do it. Dog Years was first, debuting in 2004, and Two Drink Mike came two years later. In those two years, Birbiglia clearly came into his own in terms of delivery and style. In Dog Years, he sounds noticeably uncomfortable and awkward, and it doesn’t work. His next album, however, he still has the awkward demeanor, but he uses it to his advantage. His material is largely centered around him being awkward in social situations, and using a delivery that embraces that lack of grace makes his set exponentially better.
Now, most comedians take a while to come into their own as a performer. So what? If there is a noticeable difference in how he presents himself in two CD’s, why not mention that as I review each CD? Well, the biggest reason is that the jokes in the two CD’s are the same! It took me until the seventh track of Dog Years to hear him tell a joke that I hadn’t heard in Two Drink Mike! And even after the new joke, most of the rest of the CD is still the same material. After Dog Years came out and Birbiglia developed his style, he was offered another chance to make a CD. I can only imagine that he either A) hadn’t written enough material to make a new CD, or B) he decided that he wanted this CD to be a do-over with his new and improved style. I want to believe its the latter, since in just a year after Two Drink Mike he had compiled enough material to release a third album. Now, for the rest of this review, I will be judging strictly Two Drink Mike, as I’ve marked Dog Years in the category of a warm-up. Now, on with the show!
Two Drink Mike is quite simply, hilarious. Birbiglia’s material takes a wide range, from awkward situations, to rap, to gay cats, and that’s just in the first half of the album! Because of this range, and the fact that he rarely uses expletives or foul humor, he appeals to a wide range of audiences. But even for those who enjoy comedians who talk about sex, he is very capable of taking the subject and give it an absurd twist, in the aptly titled track “Sex, Tennis, and Pandas”.
Birbiglia is not one to center his act around politics either, but he always tries to fit in a little bit somewhere. Now, as a conservative, I don’t often laugh at cheap George Bush jokes (see, Saturday Night Live from 2005-2008), but a good one can have me rolling on the floor, and that’s what he delivers. He compares Bush to a hypothetical Whiffle Ball Tony, a guy that you want to invite to the picnic to start the Whiffle ball game, but not one you want RUNNING the picnic. The analogy is both accurate and hysterical. Props to you, Mike, it’s my favorite Bush joke yet.
Birbiglia even uses music in his set. He plays some simple guitar tunes to mimic the style of certain people/music to a tee. Like everything else on the CD, this too is incredibly entertaining. He even finishes his set with a nice re-cap song where he throws in several of the show’s punchlines into one last song, which is more amusing than hysterical, but it works as an excellent cap to a great album.
To sum up, you do NOT need to have both of these CD’s, and of the two, I HIGHLY recommend Two Drink Mike over Dog Years. To be honest, I recommend Two Drink Mike over most albums. Funny from start to finish, Two Drink Mike appeals to just about everybody, and is a must have for any stand-up lover.
Best Tracks: Whiffle Ball Tony, Cracka
Worst Track: Whatever You Are, Be A Good One
Dog Years: 3/10
Two Drink Mike: 10/10
refreshing to see a contemporary, who doesn’t suck! this guy is a breath of fresh air in a stale, old room from the late 90s.
Mike Birbiglia is a pretty entertaining comic with some excellent delivery and decent material. My pet peeves on him are that he plays the humble card too much. He also likes to use the phrase “I’m not a very political comic” right before ripping on George W. Bush. Come on Mike you don’t have to stoop that low. Otherwise a funny and enjoyable comic.