Comedian Mike Birbiglia (COL ’00) is best known for his “Olive Garden Italian” heritage, sleep disorder and love of pizza, but he corresponded with The Guide to discuss the relationship between his comedy and his time at Georgetown. The stand-up comic will return to campus for a week long run of his latest show “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend: Unplugged” Feb. 25 to March 1.
Some of your stand-up references your time at Georgetown. What about Georgetown do you remember as particularly funny?
On My Secret Public Journal LIVE comedy album, I reference my computer science class at GU –– I had to take a science requirement for the core curriculum, so I took computer science thinking it would be easy — and it was not easy. And I barely passed, and it wasn’t funny then but it’s funny now. In terms of Georgetown being funny, I think it’s funny because there are a lot of people doing a lot of different things very seriously. So if you’re not one of those people in that very serious discipline, those people look ridiculous. I’m looking at you, SFS. (Tips cowboy hat in the direction of ICC.)
Your movie Sleepwalk with Me includes flashbacks to your character’s time in college. How did you try to represent Georgetown on screen?
I think we called it Trinity College because we didn’t want to try to get the rights to Georgetown’s name because it’s probably a legal quagmire trying to get that. So we used the name “Trinity College” because since there’s like nine of them, one of them agreed to let us use their name. It’s just like a Catholic-sounding name, obviously, and I felt like it got across the same idea.
Why did you decide to come back to campus for this week long run?
I’ve been meaning to come back for a while to visit John Glavin’s writing class and also to show the movie to Bernie Cook’s film students. Plus, I used to wait tables at the Tombs, and I worked the door at the D.C. Improv; there’s a lot of reasons I’d like to spend some time in town. Also, I saw the Davis Performing Arts Center on my last visit to Georgetown. It’s a really beautiful space. It’s sort of perfect for this show.
What advice do you have for aspiring Hoya comedians?
I think just write and perform anywhere that anyone will let you. And then work on that for about 10 years and then evaluate whether or not it’s working. Then quit or continue.
What is your favorite pizza in D.C.?
It’s a really close call because there’s not a lot of great pizza, at least when I was there. When I was there, there was Cappuccino’s and Manny and Olga’s, which my roommates and I called“Crappuccino’s” and “Manny and Butt-Hole-ga’s.” It’s amazing to me that D.C., which is (a) a college town and (b) a great city period, doesn’t have a decent game plan for pizza. Granted, I’ve heard there are a few places that have popped up recently. That said, I will look around during my visit and try to find a decent place — and if I find one, I will commission them to create a pizza pillow.