Thank God for Jokes: The 5 Ways Mike Birbiglia Revealed Himself to Be a #BrooklynNeck at BAM

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photo via BAM

Last Friday night, comedian Mike Birbiglia performed his show “Thank God for Jokes” at BAM, one of many stops along his current tour for the show. The event had been sold out for a while, which makes perfect sense as this was Birbiglia’s home crowd. He lives, he admitted, within walking distance of BAM, and has said before that much of the material in this show was originally tried out on audiences at nearby Union Hall. However high expectations were, though, Birbiglia surpassed them. The audience rarely stopped laughing once he reached the stage. Also of note was the opening act, comedian Jessi Klein, who appeared in Birbiglia’s film Sleepwalk with Me and is currently the head writer on Inside Amy Schumer. Klein had what was the always unenviable task of being an unexpected opener for the bigger name, but she was spot-on in her commentary on everything from what a compliment actually is (hint: it’s not when someone is surprised you look so good) to what it was like to have Diet Coke (or something like that) shot up into her uterus. 

It was Birbiglia, though, who really made the night, but since it feels a little bit strange to recap an evening of comedy that none of you will see (unless you head up to Purchase on October 2), I’ve decided not to do a recap per se, but rather point out all the ways in which Birbiglia betrayed himself to be a BrooklynNeck. What’s a BrooklynNeck, you ask? Well! Birbiglia invented this term and an accompanying hashtag to encompass all the people who are just… too Brooklyn to live, if you know what I mean. In other words, they might just be what you call hipsters. I wouldn’t call them hipsters and Birbiglia might not call them hipsters, but you would. Anyway, here are the 5 things that made it pretty clear that Mike Birbiglia is, in fact, a BrooklynNeck.

1) He has been wearing New Balances a long time: One of the funniest anecdotes in the show involved the time when Birbiglia was arrested in New Jersey and thrown into the Weehawken jail for driving with a suspended license. He professed amazement at his arrest because he was wearing New Balance sneakers and those are pretty much arrest-proof footwear. And because he was arrested at age 22, which was way back in 2000, this is proof that Birbiglia has been wearing New Balances for a very long time, just like all good BrooklynNecks do.

2) He shops at Union Market: Birbiglia claimed that he loved to talk and would talk to anyone and if you came up to him at Union Market, you would be the one to eventually back away, not him. The main thing that stuck out was that he shops at Union Market, which is easily the most #BrooklynNeck place to shop.

3) He’s well-versed in realtor talk: Birbiglia explained that he lived in the No Man’s Land area between Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, and Gowanus, but that because realtors are prostitutes and would say to him, “What do you want to call that area?” He was ok calling it “Cobble Hill?” (Question mark intended.) Making jokes about realtors and Brooklyn neighborhood boundaries? Very BrooklynNeck.

4) He attracted an audience that included Ira Glass and Lena Dunham: I didn’t see them in the audience, but someone else tweeted about it, so it must be true. They are the two most BrooklynNeck-y people who’ve ever BrooklynNecked.

5) He makes up puns related to his cat: Birbiglia and his wife make up tons of puns. They have a cat. They make up puns about their cat. These puns include calling Massachussets “Catsachussets.” It doesn’t get more BrooklynNeck than this, and we kind of hope it never will.

Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen




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