The 50 Funniest People In Brooklyn

Photo courtesy Mike Birbiglia
Photo courtesy Mike Birbiglia

Mike Birbiglia @birbigs:

This comedian and storyteller hit it big with Sleepwalk With Me, an autobiographical one-man show about developing a sleeping disorder while planning to marry his girlfriend; it began Off-Broadway and later became a book, an album and a feature film. His show My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend is following a similar route; it won a Lucille Lortel Award, and a live recording will be released on DVD on November 26.

Why are you so funny?
I think it’s different for everyone, but for me I just got introduced to live comedy at a very young age, and it was the only thing that made sense.

What neighborhood do you live in? And how’d you wind up there?
I think it’s the border of Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill and Carroll Gardens. I can’t get a straight answer out of anyone. The point is, I live near Zaytoons. My wife and I found [the apartment] through one of those sites where they rent and sell things.

Do you remember the first show you performed in Brooklyn?
I do. In 2002 or so my ex-girlfriend and I moved to Union and Smith and I used to do a show at a little hole-in-the-wall that’s not around anymore; I called the show “Comedy and Pizza.” Simple concept. There was comedy and pizza. It’s something of a theme in my life.

What’s your favorite venue for comedy in Brooklyn?
I love Union Hall. I shot a lot of scenes from Sleepwalk With Me there. My character in the movie is a bartender there. And now I do a semi-regular show there called “Working it Out,” where I work out new material. It’s typically on Monday. I love the room for comedy because there are low ceilings and the staff is cool and the audiences are just kind of game for anything. They’ve been trained by years of Eugene Mirman.

How do you resist the pull to just cave in and move to LA?
It’s not hard. I just think about what it’s like to live in Los Angeles.

How annoying is it that people expect you to be funny all the time?
I’m kind of over it. I don’t feel a lot of pressure. I mean, sometimes I’ll be at a party, and someone will say something like, “you’re a comedian. How come you’re not funny now?” And I have to be like, “I’m just gonna take this conversation and repeat it to strangers and then that’s the joke. You’re the joke… later.” That’s the thing about comedy. Usually you’re just collecting material and letting it incubate.

[Insert joke here.]
Ha. Now you’re doing it to me!!! You’ll have to visit me at Union Hall.



  1. You forgot Sara Schaefer. She is the fucking greatest. I hope this mistake haunts you for the rest of your yuppie existence.

  2. This list is way too dude-heavy! Are there really so few women in Brooklyn who count as funny enough? The article should be called “The 42 Funniest Men in Brooklyn.” And no, I don’t have a sense of humor about this.

  3. Oh, please. Catie Lazarus is sort of funny, but she’s mostly exhausting with neurotic energy, endlessly complaining about being poor – while wearing designer clothing, traveling around the country, and living on a trust fund, and acting like she’s somehow entitled to earn a living from comedy.

    • So happy Catie Lazarus is on the list! She’s hilarious comedian and writer. Nedster, however, sounds like a bitter, uninformed douche.


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