“Mike Birbiglia’s The New One,” directed by Seth Barrish and written by Mike Birbiglia with help from is wife, Jennifer Hope Stein, is on tour and making a stop at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C. until Saturday, September 29, 2019. The one-man show recently played on Broadway. It mirrors the comic’s feelings and experiences when he becomes a father for the first time. It is a comic look at parenthood from the male perspective.
Birbiglia is a comedian and has directed and starred in films. “Sleepwalk with Me” was based on his one-man show of the same name. In that show he humorously describes his almost fatal experiences with that nighttime disorder, and his book about that, “Sleepwalk with Me and Other Painfully True Stories” was a best seller. He contributes to “This American Life” and “The Moth,” has several comedy albums. He also starred and directed the comedy-drama, “Don’t Think Twice.” He has appeared in several films, most notably “Trainwreck” with Amy Schumer and also been featured in several television shows, including a recurring role in “Orange is the New Black.”
Although born in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, Birbiglia went to college in the D.C. area at Georgetown where he performed improv theatre with the Georgetown Players Improv Troupe and at The Improv in D.C.
“Mike Birbiglia’s The New One” is a singularly humorous, frank and creative slant on fatherhood.
His comedy style is a stream of consciousness. Mike tells us various stories from his life tied together by other little bits of personal information. This production follows Birbiglia from his early days of marriage to parenthood, more precisely fatherhood. Through this path he takes us to many very funny side trails. He complains about the cost of couches and what his couch means in his life. He describes a visit to his brother, a new parent, who seems to have caught that kid disease that has turned his brother and many of Birbiglia’s friends into zombies. He humorously tells us his seven reasons why he should not have kids. One of the many is his sleepwalking which was the subject of his other show. We travel along to a side-splitting tale about the Red-Light district of Amsterdam that he visited in his younger days.
When he and his wife decide to have a child, he talks wittily about sometimes taboo topics like using condoms or not using condoms, having to masturbate in a cup when his wife does not get pregnant, his testicular surgery, his wife’s not very easy pregnancy, and sex during that time. He frankly. while still keeping us laughing. talks about his unhappiness when he becomes a father, partly due to the baby’s inability to sleep for a year, and partly because he realizes the baby’s needs come before his. The climax of his troubles happening when he has the flu and also involves their cat.
This is a very funny show and everyone in the audience laugh quite loudly throughout the evening.
The set by Beowulf Boritt is minimalist, but there is one creative surprise about half way into the show.
“Mike Birbiglia’s The New One” is a singularly humorous, frank and creative slant on fatherhood. Catch it while it’s in town. If not, you can just look for a performance near an Applebee’s when you get to some little town in the middle of nowhere.
Running Time: One hour and 20 minutes, No Intermission