Mike Birbiglia - Quotes

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It sounds so nerdy and pathetic, but what I always do on Sunday afternoon is bring my inbox down to zero, which is so sad. But e-mail has become like homework for adults. I'll have 141 messages from people who will be offended if I don't write back.

It sounds so nerdy and pathetic, but what I always do on Sunday afternoon is bring my inbox down to zero, which is so sad. But e-mail has become like homework for adults. I'll have 141 messages from people who will be offended if I don't write back.

Creepy people do the things that decent people want to do, but have decided are not a great idea.

Creepy people do the things that decent people want to do, but have decided are not a great idea.

Starbucks is the last public space with chairs. It's a shower for homeless people. And it's a place you can write all day. The baristas don't glare at you. They don't even look at you. ---->>>

Directing a movie is a little bit like being back in student government and putting on the homecoming dance. You're like, 'You put up the streamers, and you hire the DJ, and you get the punch bowl.' Some people are just like, 'This dance sucks.' And you're like, 'No no, this dance is awesome!' You have to be really positive.

Directing a movie is a little bit like being back in student government and putting on the homecoming dance. You're like, 'You put up the streamers, and you hire the DJ, and you get the punch bowl.' Some people are just like, 'This dance sucks.' And you're like, 'No no, this dance is awesome!' You have to be really positive.

I love pizza. I want to marry it, but it would just be to eat her family at the wedding.

I love pizza. I want to marry it, but it would just be to eat her family at the wedding.

Directing your first film is like showing up to the field trip in seventh grade, getting on the bus, and making an announcement, 'So today I'm driving the bus.' And everybody's like, 'What?' And you're like, 'I'm gonna drive the bus.' And they're like, 'But you don't know how to drive the bus.' ---->>>

I just don't give off a great first impression. ---->>>

I think that my regrets mostly have to do with my relationship with my ex-girlfriend. Every once in a while, you get those flashback memories of conversations you had with your exes, and you just, like, wince when you're walking down the street. Something occurs to you, 'Oh, no, I said that.'

I think that my regrets mostly have to do with my relationship with my ex-girlfriend. Every once in a while, you get those flashback memories of conversations you had with your exes, and you just, like, wince when you're walking down the street. Something occurs to you, 'Oh, no, I said that.'

Growing up, I was discouraged from telling personal stories. My dad often used the phrase 'Don't tell anyone.' But not about creepy things. I don't want to lead you down the wrong path. It would be about insignificant things. Like, I wouldn't make the soccer team, and my father would say, 'Don't tell anyone.' ---->>>

The ability to workshop in stand-up comedy is incomparable to any art form, in my opinion. ---->>>

Alienation, I suppose, can't be hackneyed because it will always exist. ---->>>

How many people do you know who have thrown up on the Scrambler or a carnival ride? A lot of people, is the answer. ---->>>

I think serious situations actually make for the best kind of belly laughs. But they're also the hardest to convert into comedy at the outset. ---->>>

What I always studied in screenwriting from my mentor John Glavin was that the most interesting characters are characters with shades of gray. ---->>>

You can't go to medical school and come out and be like, 'I'm going to be a dog catcher.' That would be so pointless.

You can't go to medical school and come out and be like, 'I'm going to be a dog catcher.' That would be so pointless.

Someone said to me at a party once, 'Oh, yeah, you're a comedian? Then how come you're not funny now?' And I just wanted to say, 'Well, I'm just going to take this conversation we're having and then repeat that to strangers, and then that's the joke. You're the joke later.' ---->>>

Louis C.K. directs his show, which is very much like a series of short films. ---->>>

When you're in high school, you can't even imagine the concept of what the rest of your life even means. ---->>>

With a monologue, you can be unendingly elliptical. ---->>>

I would say that I love pizza so much that sometimes I eat pizza while I'm eating pizza. Like, I'm so content with myself with how it's going that I'm like, 'I should do this more,' not realizing that the mouth is full. I'm just cramming pizza into my mouth. ---->>>

As a comedian, you want people to like you. That's part of why you're there in the first place: You have this unquenchable need to be liked, and then when you divert from that and take a chance at doing something that has moments of fierce unlikeability, you can hit some real low points. ---->>>

Every comedian comes to a fork in the road where they have to decide if they're going to make jokes about other people or make jokes about themselves. I chose myself. ---->>>

There's something about small venues that's amazing for developing material. It's almost like you can not only hear people's response, but you can understand it. In bigger venues you lose that, but you gain this sense of camaraderie in the audience. ---->>>

I think the thing I had to be careful about while writing a book was not to say anything that was revealing about other people that they would be uncomfortable with. I didn't want to make people angry - that's a real risk. ---->>>

I was a screenwriting major at Georgetown, and I was in class with some really strong writers like Jonathan Nolan, who co-wrote 'The Dark Knight' with Chris, his brother. He wrote 'The Prestige,' the story for 'Memento.' ---->>>

I was completely unqualified to get into Harvard. But then I went to my interview for Harvard, and the woman asked, 'Why do you want to go here?' And I took out all of my comedy writing samples that I had done. I couldn't have been more delusional in terms of what I thought they wanted in a candidate for college. ---->>>

The Hollywood model is to develop scripts for 10 years, sell them, transfer them, attach this actor, then attach a director. This isn't what I'm about. I'm much more of a creator and a doer. ---->>>

When I was starting out, I thought I would go into comedy and there would be a mentor, like the Philip Seymour Hoffman character in 'Almost Famous,' in my life, and there just wasn't. It was really frustrating for me because I desired that so much.

When I was starting out, I thought I would go into comedy and there would be a mentor, like the Philip Seymour Hoffman character in 'Almost Famous,' in my life, and there just wasn't. It was really frustrating for me because I desired that so much.

You don't really see sleepwalking in films that often. It's weird; I feel like in popular culture we have the perception of sitcom, arms-in-front-of-your-body sleepwalking, and then maybe Olive Oil and Popeye when she sleepwalks through the construction site. But it's all very cartoonish, in some cases literally. ---->>>

I majored in screenwriting and playwriting in school - and wanted to make films as a career. But when I directed my first short in college - which was called 'Extras' - I lost thousands of dollars and made an unsatisfying and incomplete film. ---->>>

I've actually always wanted to write like a one-person show that was sort of a romantic comedy - a show that was kind of cynical about romance and marriage but ultimately embraced it. Because I feel like comedy is always cynical, inherently, because it's contrarian.

I've actually always wanted to write like a one-person show that was sort of a romantic comedy - a show that was kind of cynical about romance and marriage but ultimately embraced it. Because I feel like comedy is always cynical, inherently, because it's contrarian.

I am diagnosed with what's called 'REM behavior disorder.' As far as the disorder goes, there's no cure, but it's going pretty well as far as these things go. I see a sleep doctor, take medication, etc. ---->>>

I feel like people have more in common than the news reports. People getting along doesn't sell very well in the news. I find that to be deeply depressing. ---->>>

I got out of school in 2000, and I always wanted to be on 'This American Life,' since I first started telling stories. And that, I mean, that show is a little bit of a fortress. It's really hard to get stuff on that show. ---->>>

I have a following, but it's small. I have this level of fame where people spot me in the airport, consistently, but they always think they're the only one who ever has. People will think they win a prize when they recognize me. ---->>>

My first car was, as depicted in 'Sleepwalk with Me,' my mother's '92 Volvo station wagon that had 80,000 miles on it, and I had put 40,000 miles on it, so by the time it retired it had 120,000, and I basically killed it. It served me well, and my mechanic was always very angry with me because I just didn't properly care for it.

My first car was, as depicted in 'Sleepwalk with Me,' my mother's '92 Volvo station wagon that had 80,000 miles on it, and I had put 40,000 miles on it, so by the time it retired it had 120,000, and I basically killed it. It served me well, and my mechanic was always very angry with me because I just didn't properly care for it.

I was very much a late bloomer. That's not to say that girls didn't express interest in me from time to time, but I just, I did not know how to respond to that. ---->>>

I find my fans are really funny people. Most comedians can't say that about their fans. ---->>>

You know the quickest way to get comedians to hate you? Do Letterman at age 24. ---->>>

Backup dancers are completely respectable. They're the studio musicians of dance. ---->>>

Comedy is tragedy plus time, but the time is different for everybody. ---->>>

Dopamine is a chemical released in your brain and your body when you sleep that paralyzes your body so you don't act out your dreams. ---->>>

I grew up in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts and went to college in Washington D.C. ---->>>

One of my favorite comedies of all time is 'Terms of Endearment;' that's my pace. ---->>>

The one thing you're most reluctant to tell. That's where the comedy is. ---->>>

You know the expression, 'You're only as sick as your secrets?' I believe that, and I think I try to have my work live by that to a degree. ---->>>

I always try to attack the most honest issues I can in my comedy. ---->>>

I like 'Donnie Darko;' it's a cool take on dreams and sleep. ---->>>

I'm going to end up making twenty films if people let me. ---->>>

I've read that Steven Wright's style was born out of genuine nervousness. ---->>>

If you tried to sell Mike Birbiglia as a concept, no one would buy it. ---->>>

My last name has the word 'big' in it. It seems like a logical progression that if you shed away the Bir and the lia, I'll just be Big. ---->>>

Nothing that you want ever is what you think it is. ---->>>

One of my favourite movies is 'Annie Hall' because it's about the silver lining of the break-up. ---->>>

Sometimes people say, 'You're the best at digressions.' And that's actually a real compliment to me. ---->>>

'Terminator 2' is so good. I love it. ---->>>

The moment I walk into a room, I have kind of like the Terminator's tracking system for where the food is, and I can get there immediately. ---->>>

When I was in college, I wanted to write for 'Late Night With Conan O'Brien,' and I was an intern there. ---->>>

After I perform 'My Girlfriend's Boyfriend,' it takes a lot out of me emotionally; and, at the end of it, I feel like I know the audience and the audience knows me. It's this weird unspoken bond that we'll kind of always have with each other. ---->>>

Every sleep doctor I've talked to said it was an urban legend that you shouldn't wake up a sleepwalker. All that will happen is that you will get condescended to. ---->>>

I actually wasn't really the class clown growing up. The class clown was always the mean guy who walked up and was like, 'You're fat. You're gay. I'm outta here!' I was always more kind of awkward and introspective. ---->>>

I always have the best story at the party. Anyone telling a story at a party is like, 'No, no, you've got to listen to my story!' I'm like, 'Step aside, everybody. I'm going to blow the doors off this place.' ---->>>

I just like, when you look at people who have long careers in film, they're able to make films that are far away from themselves, because they're metaphorical. It creates more opportunities, I think. ---->>>

I'm generally so disoriented during the week about what I'm doing and where I am - I travel a lot - that when I'm home on a Sunday, I typically try to sleep in as much as I can. ---->>>

I'm unable to do the thing that Broadway actors do in plays, sometimes for years. The same exact blocking, the same exact lines. I'm a little bit uncomfortable with that. Every night I'm looking for ways to try something else. ---->>>

If I dream that I'm directing, it's not a film, it's like a commercial for cotton candy, and I've got four feet of cotton candy all around me that I've got to break through, like a brick wall or a fortress. ---->>>

If you're asked something on a movie set and you say 'I don't know,' you lose confidence in every department. What you need to say is 'I'll have that for you in five minutes.' ---->>>

In real life, I first started sleep walking in high school because that was when this concept of getting into college first appeared. I had this moment of, 'Oh! This is going to affect the rest of my life.' ---->>>

It used to be that if you got on 'The Tonight Show,' your career was made. Now, if you're on 'The Tonight Show,' maybe 14 more people show up to your gig in Tulsa. ---->>>

Random people, celebrities of note come to your shows over the years, and I've had some really strange ones. Like the guy from Kiss. Gene Simmons has literally been in the audience at my shows, like, four times. I don't know if he knows me; he's just a big fan of comedy. ---->>>

Someone gave me a piece of advice once, my first manager Lucien Hold. He said, 'If you do stand-up about your own life, no one can steal it.' I always thought that was the best piece of advice. ---->>>

Sometimes I'll go to the grocery store and buy a bunch of groceries as though I knew how to cook, which I don't, and as though I was going to be home for the next six days, which I won't. ---->>>

Sometimes, occasionally, people will make out in the audience, completely not aware that there's a human being onstage just yards away from them, who can see them. Sometimes people think that you're on television while you're onstage, so you're not even a person. ---->>>

Ultimately, jokes are this really special thing that we can all share. It's exciting to have basically a thousand people in a room together that can laugh at the same time, but I think of it almost as, like, a religious experience. ---->>>

When I was in high school I saw Steven Wright, a brilliant one-liner comedian, and I thought: 'That's what I should do; I should write one-liners.' And I did. My first album is mostly one-liners. ---->>>

I always live tweet 'SNL.' ---->>>

I feel that marriage can lead to the ultimate rejection and failure and divorce and things we all fear. ---->>>

I never looked at my parents' marriage or really anyone who had been married more than 30 years and thought, 'I gotta get me some of that!' ---->>>

I'd much rather try and fail than talk about trying. ---->>>

There's nothing funny the first time about telling a story about getting beat up and it makes you leave high school. ---->>>

When I met my wife, I was a working comic, so the first week we went out, she saw me perform, and it was very clear what I do. ---->>>

I sometimes think of not doing Twitter or Facebook anymore, but that's how people find their favorite bands and comedians. ---->>>

There are comedians who focus on everything that is external. They focus on politics and the news, what's going on in that city and that night. ---->>>

When I moved to New York, I was wide-eyed. I was nice to everyone, which comedians hate. ---->>>

Comedy unites, it doesn't divide! ---->>>

I love 'Bullets Over Broadway,' but I'm pretty sure Woody Allen hasn't killed somebody. ---->>>

I love Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel. ---->>>

I'm a comedian, and the other comedians are played by comedians, the same way that in 'Once' there are the musicians that hang out together. ---->>>

My dad goes through war novels like I go through boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. ---->>>

Essentially, retweets are like laughs. ---->>>

Everything about starting out in comedy is pride-swallowing, from handing out fliers to bombing in front of audiences. ---->>>

Film is so immersive. ---->>>

Fortunately, I don't talk about politics on stage. ---->>>

I almost can't even put to words how happy I am that I got married. ---->>>

I consider Lena Dunham a comedian. ---->>>

I couldn't recommend more that people put themselves in a situation where they can see a lot of work that they admire, and for free. ---->>>

I drank the Kool-Aid of being a network star. Once it didn't happen, I realized it wasn't the best version of my comedy.

I drank the Kool-Aid of being a network star. Once it didn't happen, I realized it wasn't the best version of my comedy.

I feel like everyone wants to make a movie that they feel passionate about watching. ---->>>

I love Broadway shows. ---->>>

I think your tendency when you play yourself is to accentuate something about you that you think is the funny thing about you. ---->>>

I was raised Catholic, and then I kind of wandered away somewhere in high-school. I never got confirmed, which is a big deal. ---->>>

I'm incapable of feeling any joy. ---->>>

I've found, being in Los Angeles, it's like living in a live-action Planet Hollywood. ---->>>

I've yet to write a stand-up show that isn't autobiographical. ---->>>

In some sense, Comedy Central has made their audience into comedy connoisseurs. ---->>>

Jokes are so personal, and they bring us together in so many ways. ---->>>

Making a film is beyond exciting. It's so exciting, it's exhausting. ---->>>

Nobody knows the life of the working comic.

Nobody knows the life of the working comic.

Pain is funnier than love.

Pain is funnier than love.

Once you know how to make a movie, you can't not make a movie. ---->>>

Once you start writing something obsessively, it's almost like someone has to rip it from your hands in order for you to put it down. ---->>>

People are making better and better small budge independent films these days. ---->>>

People come to my shows on purpose as opposed to coming to a 'comedy show.' Which was always my goal. ---->>>

Prose is all about embellishing and describing.

Prose is all about embellishing and describing.

Shooting a movie isn't good for a sleep disorder.

Shooting a movie isn't good for a sleep disorder.

Sometimes my fans are too nice. ---->>>

The economy of film forces you to make choices. ---->>>

The list of fun and easily-fixed brain diseases is very short. ---->>>

When I go to bed at night, I wear a sleeping bag. And for a long time, I wore mittens so that I couldn't open the sleeping bag. ---->>>

When I was growing up, I didn't know who Jewish people were, what it was to be Jewish. ---->>>

You have to be delusional to be a comedian. ---->>>

Sometimes you'll have a heckler who's actually attempting to be supportive, but you don't realize it. Their way of expressing it is kind of confusing. ---->>>

In terms of comedy, there was a Seinfeldian era of comedy that I love but got played out. Seinfeld was great, but then after him it was people acting like Seinfeld and making observations that we felt like we'd kind of heard before, and then you're seeing Seinfeldian comedy in commercials. Suddenly everything is observational funniness. ---->>>

It's a difficult line to tread, where sometimes you go to the movies or you watch someone do publicity for movies or TV shows, and they do all the jokes that are good in the promotion of it, and you see the movie, and you're like, 'I kind of get it already. I'm not that psyched about it.' ---->>>

My wife and I always comment that our lives are relatively mundane. She's a writer as well, I'm a writer, we spend most of our time writing, and kind of going to yoga in Brooklyn. ---->>>

As artists, we'd all love to not be commercial - to not sell out to the full extent that we are able. But you do what you have to do to pay New York rent and continue to do what you feel strongly about. ---->>>

First time films are hard. Even with some of the greatest directors, you look back at their first film, and you are just going, 'That movie is kind of bad.' ---->>>

I am intimidating no one in America. No one feels like they are below me in any way. They feel like they are absolutely either at or above my level and 100-percent comfortable talking to me. ---->>>

I end up talking about really mundane things with my fans, and then they're kind of like, 'This is boring. I want to go talk to somebody else.' I think I bore my fans to death by over-talking to them. ---->>>

I feel like being a door person was like college in a sense. I could watch comedy on a professional level seven nights a week without paying, and they would pay me a nominal amount of money to be there. ---->>>

I gravitated toward stand-up because there's no overhead. I mean, literally, there's no overhead: Often, you're outdoors performing in front of groups of people. ---->>>

I listened to this interview once with Jerry Seinfeld that really influenced my comedy and all of my writing, which is that when you're starting out in comedy, it's the audience that tells you what's funny about you. And you need to listen to that and make a note of that. ---->>>

I think because I've been working in front of audiences for so many years, I'm able to take in the input, good or bad, and just say, 'This is the part I agree with that you're saying, and these are the parts I don't agree with.' ---->>>

I would be so mad if I saw something called a memoir, and then it was Mike Birbiglia. It would be so infuriating. It's like, 'Who is this guy, and why does he have a memoir?' David Letterman could write a memoir. Joan Rivers could. I'm just a nobody. I'm a comedian and a writer. ---->>>

I've become good friends with Lena Dunham, and the thing I had in common with Lena when I was 24 is I was as ambitious as she was. What we don't have in common is that I was not as talented. My voice was not as clearly defined. ---->>>

It's interesting how sleepwalking in a certain way becomes an accumulation of your outside stimuli that's actually there and what's happening in your brain. ---->>>

Media is so weird; everything is so accessible now. It used to be this thing where, if you did something on 'This American Life,' this predates me, but when David Sedaris did it, for example, it would just play, people who heard it heard it, and then the book would come out a year later, and people would be like, 'Ahh, I kind of remember that.' ---->>>

Once you've made your first feature, you know what you can do wrong and how hard it is to shoot a feature. Before you do it, you just don't know how hard it is. Once you've done it, when you're writing a second one, it's almost like you're preparing, and it's almost holding you back. ---->>>

Over the years, I managed to develop this comedy career, went from opening act to headliner at comedy clubs, to playing concert halls, and had an off-Broadway show with 'Sleepwalk With Me.' ---->>>

Sometimes I take this women's exercise class called Core Fusion at a place called Exhale. I shouldn't say it's a women's class. There's maybe two men. ---->>>

The Comedy Central CDs combined with the TV specials are what led to my stuff being traded and passed around, and a lot more people knowing my jokes than I thought. ---->>>

The thing about storytelling is it's very stripped down; it's very much at the core of 'I'm a person and I'm just telling you this thing, and I need you to trust me and believe that what I'm saying is true, and if you believe that what I'm saying is true then we are connected to each other.' I think there's something really beautiful about that. ---->>>

The thing with film is that it's so wide-reaching compared to comedy. When I release my comedy special, half a million people will see it. If I release a movie, five to ten million people will see it. ---->>>

The way I view comedy clubs is, people are drinking, they're ordering food, they're out for the night, and there's also a person onstage talking. And with the theater, they came to the theater, and they're waiting to hear what you say. So you'd better have something to say. ---->>>

When I started out, I really struggled as a comic because no one knew who I was, and sometimes I was telling stories, so it would take a while for people to get on board for things. ---->>>

You get to the end of something, you're laughing, you're like, 'That's funny, and that's funny,' and then you get to the end, and the credits come down, and you're like, 'That's it?! That's the whole thing?! You had me here for that?!' I just don't want to do that. ---->>>

Biography

Nationality: American
Born: 06-20, 1978
Birthplace:
Die:
Occupation: Comedian

Mike Birbiglia (born June 20, 1978) is an American comedian, actor, and filmmaker.(wikipedia)