Sleepwalk with Me: and Other Painfully True Stories

( 82 )

Overview


Based on his sensational hit one-man show, comedian Mike Birbiglia’s charming, laugh-out-loud funny memoir is a story about first love, denial, and the perils and pitfalls of being…and released in time to accompany his new show, My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend .

Despite growing up in seemingly normal circumstances—four kids, two parents, a middle-class home in the suburbs with summer camp and church—early on Mike Birbiglia recognized the hilarity of life. He discovered his talent for...

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Sleepwalk with Me: And Other Painfully True Stories

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Overview


Based on his sensational hit one-man show, comedian Mike Birbiglia’s charming, laugh-out-loud funny memoir is a story about first love, denial, and the perils and pitfalls of being…and released in time to accompany his new show, My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend .

Despite growing up in seemingly normal circumstances—four kids, two parents, a middle-class home in the suburbs with summer camp and church—early on Mike Birbiglia recognized the hilarity of life. He discovered his talent for mini-golf and piggybacked on his brother’s entrepreneurial genius in starting a golf-ball resale business from their backyard. He did chores for an older sister in return for pizza, while planning a career as a rapper, break dancer, and priest.

At the heart of Sleepwalk With Me is Mike’s absurdly funny and frustrating battle with anxiety and insomnia, which results in hallucinatory fights with Brad Pitt, midnight visits from a jackal, and a fall from a second story hotel room in Walla Walla, Washington.

In the tradition of David Sedaris’s Me Talk Pretty One Day, this is a laugh-out-loud, often mortifyingly funny collection of stories, from the mundane to the sublime, and they are all beautifully told. Sleepwalk With Me is a window into Birbiglia’s life…and will make you wonder how normal “normal” really is.

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  • Sleepwalk with Me
    Sleepwalk with Me  

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Mike Birbiglia was always a very funny guy who told stories onstage. But in the last two years it's been inspiring to see the stories get bigger and more complicated and emotional as he turned himself into a real storyteller and—with this book—a real author as well. These are deeply relatable, totally engaging stories. They're as moving and amusing as they come.” —Ira Glass, host and producer of “This American Life”

“Mike Birbiglia can write an entertaining yet soulful story in his sleep—that and jump out of motel windows.” —Sarah Vowell, author of The Wordy Shipmates and Assassination Vacation

“First, know that this book is well written and funny. Now, know that I hate cynicism. Hate it. This book is the opposite of cynicism. I love Sleepwalk With Me.” —Jeff Garlin, Co-creator and Co-star of Curb Your Enthusiasm

“Mike Birbiglia is a good friend of mine but I'm still really happy when weird, bad things happen to him because I love hearing the stories.” —Seth Meyers, head writer and host of Weekend Update, Saturday Night Live

“Funny. Very funny. Birbiglia is the child Woody Allen and Bob Newhart never had—please don't try to picture that 'encounter.' Smart and self-aware, with just enough perspective on his quirks and issues that you don't have to feel too sorry for him...as you laugh at and/or with him.” —Bob Odenkirk, creator and star of HBO's Mr. Show with Bob and David

“Mike Birbiglia has always made me laugh and so did this book. No one explains their insanity as sanely or as honestly or is as funny as Mike. If you think you’re crazy, this is the book for you. It’s a good thing the kid is a talented writer and comic or he’d be screwed.” —Lewis Black

Sleepwalk with Me is so funny, inspired, and jealous-makingly well written, I am beginning to suspect that Mike Birbiglia MAY ACTUALLY HAVE BEEN AWAKE WHILE HE WROTE IT. This changes my whole worldview.” —John Hodgman, author of More Information Than You Require

“Insightful, heartfelt, and comedic—what more could you want from a book? Mike Birbiglia is a unique and wonderful new voice in American theater and letters.” —Jonathan Ames, creator of HBO's "Bored to Death" and author of The Extra Man and Wake Up, Sir!

Sleepwalk With Me is about the things that keep us all up at night: love, family and growing up. In equal parts hilarious and moving, this book should cement Mike Birbiglia’s status as a national treasure.” —Andy Borowitz, author of Who Moved My Soap: The CEO's Guide to Surviving Prison; The Bernie Madoff Edition

“Mike Birbiglia is a great storyteller, just as funny on the page as on the stage. These comic gems strung together create a hilarious and touching memoir of growing up awkwardly and finding his way in the cruel world of stand-up. An original wit who raises self-deprecation to an art form, and always leaves you thinking and laughing." —Nathan Lane

Kirkus Reviews

Popular comedian Birbiglia reminisces about his wacky childhood pipe dreams, sleep disorders and occupational and social failures.

In the Comedy Central regular's first foray into the book business, the author engages in plenty of self-deprecating put-downs, non sequiturs and underdog-loser stories. However, other than some typical bits of social unease during childhood and a late start in dating women, Birbiglia isn't quite the loser he makes himself out to be. His father, a successful doctor, sent him to a posh private Catholic high school, and he eventually gained admission to Georgetown University. Birbiglia takes the reader through his mildly humorous failures as an adolescent break dancer, schoolboy basketball player, womanizer, rapper and science student. He also delivers predictable material on gluttony, bodily functions and sleepwalking, and he milks his parents' inability to cope with the Internet for some reliable parents-are-so-out-of-touch collegiate humor. The most entertaining parts of the book focus on his lean years as a struggling comic in New York, complete with crappy temp jobs, absurd focus-group gigs, a chronically low bank balance and failed early gigs in college lunchrooms. When the author tries to cover more serious matters such as love and relationships, he seems unsure whether to approach these personal issues with ironic distance or to break character and attempt to cast an air of pathos. On the whole, Birbiglia ably caters to a straight-male, frat-boy audience, keeping the humor light, snappy and chock full of references to junk food, cable TV, Internet porn and general lowbrow pop culture.

Average comedian-writes-a-book career padding.This same material is more enjoyable in Birbiglia's stage act.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781476705767
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 8/21/2012
  • Edition description: Media Tie-In
  • Pages: 191
  • Sales rank: 499,533
  • Product dimensions: 5.62 (w) x 8.22 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Meet the Author

Mike Birbiglia

In 10 years, MIKE BIRBIGLIA has grown from struggling comic to a popular talk show guest to a groundbreaking, original storyteller. The results? Two critically-acclaimed CDs, three Comedy Central specials and a Nathan Lane-produced Off-Broadway show called "Sleepwalk with Me" that was recently nominated for both a Drama Desk Award and an Outer Circle Critics Award for “Best Solo Performance.” Birbiglia’s comedy built him a cult following in colleges, then clubs, then concert halls nationwide and has made him one of the most popular touring acts to audiences of all ages. In 2008, Birbiglia teamed up with award-winning director Seth Barrish and Broadway legend Nathan Lane on "Sleepwalk with Me,” a painfully-funny one-man show about first love, denial and how the sleepwalking disorder that nearly killed Birbiglia might have saved his life. Due to popular demand the show was extended twice. The New York Times called the show, “simply perfect.” Birbliglia lives in New York City with his wife. SLEEPWALK WITH ME, grown out of the hit one-man show, marks his literary debut.
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Read an Excerpt


DON’T TELL ANYONE

I’m sitting at a Starbucks in Manhattan. Starbucks is the last public space with chairs. It’s a shower for homeless people. And it’s a place you can write all day. The baristas don’t glare at you. They don’t even look at you. Every once in a while they walk around with free samples of banana-chocolate something. “No thanks. Just the two-dollar coffee”—cheapest rent in New York. Plus, they sell CDs and even Christmas gifts. If this place sold toilet paper, I probably wouldn’t have to shop anywhere else.

Well, the reason I’m writing is that I want to tell you some stories. And they’re true. I always have to point this out because whenever I tell stories, people ask me, “Was that true?”

And I say, “Yeah.”

And they say, “Was it?”

And I don’t know how to respond to that. I guess I could say it louder. “Yeah!”

“It’s probably true. He said it louder.”

Growing up, I was discouraged from telling personal stories. My dad often used the phrase “Don’t tell anyone.” But not about creepy things. I don’t want to lead you down the wrong path. It would be about insignificant things. Like I wouldn’t make the soccer team and my father would say, “Don’t tell anyone.” And I would say, “They’re gonna know when they show up to the games and I’m not on the team and I’m crying.”

One time I built up the courage to ask him about this, which was tough because my dad is a very serious man. He’s a doctor—a neurologist. When he’s home, he spends most of his time in this one armchair reading these thick war novels. My dad goes through war novels like I go through boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

So I built up the courage to ask, “How come you play everything so close to the vest?”

My dad said, “The more people know about you, the more they can use it against you.”

This sent shivers down my spine because it had that kind of open-ended fear to it—like that feeling you get when you’re driving and you see a cop. And you’re not speeding. You don’t have drugs. But you’re just thinking, I hope he doesn’t notice I’m driving.

Once in a while I told personal stories at the dinner table and my father would say, “Hush!” I’ll give you an example. In grade school, I was a terrible reader. We used to do these things at school called Student Reading Assignments, and the teacher would post on the wall a list of how many everyone had done—which is a great way to squash a child’s self-esteem. I remember there was this girl in my class named Jamie Burson who finished 146 of these things before I finished 2. And I distinctly remember thinking, I might be retarded. And then I looked at the wall and thought, Oh yeah, I am.

So one night, I sat at the dinner table and said to my dad, “I think I might be retarded.” And he said, “Hush!” Which is one way to address a problem—just keep it under wraps.

That’s what my father would say whenever anyone told uncomfortable stories. So I developed this habit of telling uncomfortable stories.

So here goes . . .

© 2010 Mike BirBiglia

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Table of Contents

Don't Tell Anyone 1

I Have Something to Say! 5

Delusional 17

Please Stop the Ride 31

Goddammit 51

Like Hell 63

Patti and the Bear 75

Going Places 81

The Deal 89

I Can't Stop! 111

My Hero 127

Something in My Bladder 135

The Promise of Sleep 143

Sleepwalk with Me 155

One More Thing 183

Thank-Yous 189

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 82 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(42)

4 Star

(22)

3 Star

(11)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 82 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 11, 2010

    perfect timing

    Our dog died last night, which was heartbreaking - but this book arrived today and on a day when I thought I couldn't even smile, I read it cover to cover in one sitting and actually did LOL...not just pretending. This man is a genius...and cooler than he'll ever admit.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 12, 2010

    Sleepwalk with Me... laugh with Mike

    Sleepwalk With Me... laugh with Mike Birbiglia!!!

    I am old enough to be Mike's Mom, but sadly, I am not! I do have two children of my own that are about Mike's age. What does that have to do with Sleepwalk With Me? I'll tell you later!

    Now. about the book!

    Mike's a great storyteller. I have listened to his CD's and even seen him perform on Letterman and at Caroline's in NYC, so I know! I am absolutely delighted that he writes as well as he performs!!!

    I ride the NYC subways and reading helps me pretend I am somewhere else. So, I read SWM and while reading a story about his Catholic childhood. I had to look away because I was laughing so hard. When I looked back I thought I was going to laugh my head off.right there on the #1 train! For a moment, I was just another one of those subway-riding crazy persons.a happy crazy person!

    You find out in SWM, Mike's not only HILARIOUS, he's inspirational! Mike shares his "on the road" and "his rise to the top" stories, too.
    It seems to me that Mike's success is his, home-grown style of storytelling. AND that makes him the funny guy he is. It's his gift to us.
    AND... he works blissfully hard at his sharing his gift.and this is where my 2 kids fit into this review.

    My two children are both working artists with the vision of sharing their gifts and talents and vision with the world! They too, like Mike, work blissfully hard.

    We all work hard, but we need to laugh and be entertained. Artists do that with their lives! Hooray for artists! Hooray for, Mike!

    Mike has what it takes to be funny and share it with anyone who will listen. Now you can read it at your leisure, on the beach or like me, on your ride home to or from work.

    We all need a few good laughs!!! Read this book.

    Laughter is the cure for EVERYTHING. Mike's got the cure

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 12, 2010

    Must Read!!

    Cover to cover one of the funniest and most heartfelt reads to come along in recent memory. Always been a fan of Birbiglia's stand-up, but this piece brings his storytelling to a whole new level. Read it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2014

    Not funny

    I have read a lot of humor books and not many of them make me laugh. This book is just not funny. I smiled a few times but that is about it. I wouldn't buy this again or read it again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2012

    Birbigs!

    Such a brilliant comedian! Listen to the performance too!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2012

    Great book

    This book is very funny and surprisingly touching. I highly recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2012

    Hilarious read!

    This book is great, it will have you laughing from the first page to the last. Mike is my favorite comic and i was so happy when i found his book. I hope he wrights another!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2012

    Exceeded expectations

    Birbiglia is a personal favorite in standup comedy for me, im happy to say his book conveys his charm and awkwardness in a style only suited to him. Love mike, and the book, read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2012

    I LOVE Mike Birbiglia

    Great book. Hilarious. I was laughing out loud.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2011

    Funny light read

    Great laughs

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  • Posted August 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent writing, engaging & very funny

    A great book from beginning to end. Very well written & structured. I would recommend this to absolutely everyone.

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  • Posted November 2, 2010

    Do yourself a favor and READ THIS BOOK!

    This book is, as it says, a collection of "painfully true stories" with the subtext of something not made quite clear until the final chapters. The culmination of those final chapters pays off in a way that I can honestly say I desire from every book I read, which rarely happens. This book does it. I was caught between wanting to laugh and cry. The way in which he tells each story is brutally honest, almost painful at times, but always humorous and self aware. This book was wonderful, smart, funny, and original. I've never read anything with a story quite like his. I loved it and I hope you do as well.

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  • Posted October 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The thinking person's comedian

    I've listened to Mike Birbiglia's stories on both The Moth podcast and This American Life. I enjoy his style which is very conversational but with some big words thrown in. His writing style makes you feel like you are with a group of good friends telling embarassing stories about yourselves.

    I laughed out loud several times reading this book, and it reminded me a little bit of a cross between Brian Regan and David Sedaris. Not quite as edgy and raw as David Sedaris can be, but not as squeaky clean as Brian Regan's standup. Although there are some serious and awkward topics, this is a quick and fun read. Buy it!

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