Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Mike Birbiglia records his new album in Columbus, Ohio this week!
It’s been a real busy week!
• I’m having a great time on tour with The Format in Phoenix, Dallas, and tonight in Austin.
• I’m recording my new album, “My Secret Public Journal Live,” at The Columbus Funnybone – there’s still time to get tickets, Ohio!
• We’re announcing college and theater dates for my Comedy Central Secret Public Tour very soon
• And there’s a new Birbigshirt out today, which brings me to the subject of my new Journal…
I’ve been keeping a secret from you for a little while now. My brother Joe, or “America’s Guest” as I call him, is now a full time employee, or a full time guest.
For a while now, Joe has been tagging along on whatever trip or perk that I might be given as a result of being a comedian: trips to the Bahamas, free golf, a ticket to the MVP awards. And what’s sad is that he isn’t even a good entourage member; he never says, “You da’ man, Mike.” He says stuff like, “Do you think they have any more shrimp?”
The truth is, Journal, all that time I was letting America’s Guest mooch off of me is because Joe is part of the reason I got into comedy. Growing up I always followed in Joe’s footsteps: he wore overalls; I wore overalls. He lit off fireworks in the attic; I was hit by the fireworks and rushed to the hospital. Joe and I started writing comedy together but when it came time to become an adult, Joe got married and got a job. I decided to drive my mom’s station wagon to every Chuckle Hut in America.
As I worked on becoming a comedian, Joe helped me put together my act, defended me from my parents, and lent me cash at 6.1% to purchase extravagances like air mattresses, single serving Beefaroni, and rent. Yes, those were the days.
Well, about 6 months ago, Joe came to me with an idea. He said: “What if I sold t-shirts based on your jokes?”
“Well, America’s Guest,” I responded. That sounds right up your alley- and by alley I mean one of those alleys where you cash in on your semi-famous brother’s comedy.”
At first there were objections in the family. My father was concerned that family business leads to family feuds. I pointed out that “Family Feud” is a great show and that he should also look at “The Sopranos.” That was a family business and when Tony killed Christopher it was only as a precaution so that Christopher wouldn’t squeal to the feds.
Well, this week it turned out my father was right. I have a joke where I say, “The reason cell phone companies can screw us over is that there’s only like three companies- there’s no mom and pop cell phone company like “Jack & Irma’s magic phones! I like Jack & Irma because they know a lot about phones and they’re old! Last week, I couldn’t pay my bill and Jack said, ‘No probs, birbigs- can you baby-sit on Tuesday?’”
Well Joe decided that he was going to make a shirt that says Jack and Irma’s magic phones. The only problem is- I don’t always tell that joke in my shows. So after those shows I’m selling an obscure cell phone tee shirt, and doing a lot of explaining.
So Joe Bags got mad. He said, “You have to do the jokes that go with the shirts.” And I said, “I didn’t get into comedy to tell jokes that make shirts that make me tell the jokes that are on the shirts.” That’s when Joe got even madder. And then like we always do in the Birbiglia family, we had a sit down. And by sit down, I mean we sat down at The Olive Garden and worked things out over a bottle of white zinf and unlimited pasta and breadsticks.
And when we were totally full, Joe turned to our waitress and said, “Do you have any more shrimp?”
And that concludes this week’s entry in my Secret Public Journal.