His latest show "My Boyfriend's Girlfriend" is themed around his frustrations and hard-learned lessons about love. Before launching into his elliptical narrative, he warmed up with localized shtick — as comedians are wont to do. He mentioned a tweet from one of the gals at the show who lamented that the "Straz ticket lady who didn't know who @MikeBirbliglia was."
Birbiglia also recounted about his ride from Vero Beach to Tampa (on what was most likely State Road 60). He described it as a two-lane highway with nothing but orange groves for miles and miles — with the exception of a "humongous shopping center" with a New York Nails and a shop called Christ Central.
Birbiglia also ranted a little about how call centers have placed him on hold for too long, leading to screams of "Agent!" into the receiver — a well-worn topic, for sure — but Birbiglia infused his spiel with a special kind of insanity, acting out a hypothetical scenario of five slack-jawed, stoner-like call workers leaving the phones unmanned, ignoring millions of customers — that they alone service — to call an impromptu meeting. A woeful condition he blamed on call centers replacing operators with "American robots" and "Indians ... Indian Indians."
His main act took us through the awkward early stages of his relationship, a breakup and reunion. Though he remained steadfast in his disbelief in marriage as an institution, he showed us glimmers of redemption that you don't usually get from a stand-up comic. His physical comedy was on point, especially when he ambled in circles — a clever motion with a twist (literally) once repeated: He spun around to demonstrate a nausea-inducing fair ride the first time, and the second go 'round reenacted an airport-maze mad dash while dragging a suitcase on wheels that kept flipping over. (We've all dealt with that at least once, right? I know I have.)
At the climax, he sat on the edge of the stage and enjoyed a strategic pause, showing us he's quite skilled at both comedic timing and telling a story. There was a subtle musicality to his narration, and his stories through full of dopey and hilarious gestures and/or mimicry were believable and relatable.
After the show at Ferguson Hall, Birbiglia signed autographs in the lobby of the Straz's second-largest venue. He sold limited-edition posters that I wish I could have purchased and promoted the DVD release of his movie Sleepwalk With Me.
His touring act is a sequel of sorts to his film, he told CL in our recent interview.
Look for a movie inspired by the show soon — perhaps, a good flick to watch, dare we say, on Valentine's Day 2014.