Birbiglia shows off comedy at the MAC

Lucas Koprowski, Photography Editor

One of the biggest current comedians to hit the McAninch Arts Center stage, Mike Birbiglia, performed his show “Thank God for Jokes” twice in one night at Belushi Performance Hall. Although successful in capturing most of the crowd in a fury of laughter, I sat in the middle finding close to half of his material humorous. I would describe his humor more mainstream than awkwardly relatable, contrary from his previous material I’ve seen in his stand-up specials and his book “Sleepwalk With Me.”

Birbiglia’s opening act was Jon Fisch, a comedian who previously appeared on “The Late Show with David Letterman.” His comedy emerged from the fact that he doesn’t look like a guy who has kids or a girlfriend. To no one’s surprise, he doesn’t have either. The crowd didn’t seem familiar with him or his act, but was willing to give him a chance.

He was surprisingly funny when talking about his dating experiences in both online and face-to-face relations. Throughout his performance, he was able to pace his routine smoothly and with precision.

It was obvious that he had been doing comedy for a while, because of his impeccable timing and his confidence on stage. Overall, his act was well done and left me wanting to see more. I would more than likely go and see his solo performance because of his routine.

Birbiglia was a different story. As soon as he walked on stage, it was obvious due to the amount of cheering that this crowd had seen his previous works and was excited for the show. That’s almost always a good attribute for a live performance.

The first part of his performance falls on his politeness, and his comparison between different types of polite and rude people. He first compared early and late arriving people. He used himself and his wife as examples, him being the early person and his wife being the late person. It was obvious that he thought through his argument thoroughly, which added humor to this bit.

Throughout his performance, he showed off his impeccable timing and his well-paced story telling. Most of the stories he told were personal and showed off his humanity and wittiness.

One thing that I thought was respectable was that he went out of his way to give an innuendo that he was moving away from his non-explicit material to more crude stories about halfway through his show. He explained how he has never had an album that held an explicit label, and he was proud of that. He then explained that he thought it was weird, because many of his favorite comedians, such as George Carlin, use profanity and proudly display the label.

His more explicit material ranged from raunchy emails, to him swearing on a Canadian broadcast of the Muppets. This was a good change, because compared to his opening pieces this was faster paced and brought out his enthusiasm. I enjoyed the second half more due to that fact.

To end his show, he printed out Yelp reviews of his current tour, and showed off all of the sensitive people who didn’t appreciate his brand of humor. He then asked the crowd to please don’t take anything he said that night seriously, and that it was all a joke. I understand his frustration with overly sensitive people. It’s a comedy show. People shouldn’t be taking it so seriously.

Overall, the performance was well received by the crowd. John Fisch’s charisma and stature made the beginning of this show truly enjoyable. Birbiglia’s pacing was on point, and his story telling made the whole crowd roar in laughter. Although I thought that Fisch’s routine was more enjoyable, Birbiglia still had a wonderful performance, and I hope he comes back to the MAC in the future.