“The New One” is a Good One

“The New One” is a Good One

Mike Birbiglia in “The New One.” (Joan Marcus)

Though I am not, and never will be, a husband or a new dad, I got a tremendous kick out of comedian Mike Birbiglia‘s new show, “The New One“ at the Cort Theatre. As a fan of the man for a number of years now, I have caught his show whenever he made his way into Philly (where I currently live), so it seemed like a no-brainer to drive into NYC for his Broadway debut. 

Birbiglia has that innate ability–similar in my mind to the way Sinatra does, when he sings a ballad—of creating instant intimacy, talking to the audience (or in Sinatra’s case,when he is crooning a love song) as though we were all simply sitting around his living room and listening. In this show, he shares his experiences as a novice dad, admitting from the onset that women are superior to men in a variety of ways, and even listing why he thought at first that he and his wife should not have children at all. His self-deprecating, neurotic and animated insecurities about being a male, a husband and now a new father (”being around children makes me want to be unconscious at all times”) are just some of the reasons to instantly love him. 

I had originally discovered Birbiglia from his stage and film versions of “Sleepwalk With Me,” which is the story of his sobering nights living with a sleep disorder. And maybe that is what makes Birbiglia such a distinctive comedian and actor. His life has been, admittedly, filled with hyper-neediness and a laundry list of neurotic tendencies and physical ailments. And although, as he says in “The New One,” his life has become even more crammed with issues, now that he is a new father, you do get the sense that he wouldn’t have recast one step in his journey. I, for one, am glad that his journey has taken him to exactly where he is today—onstage.

By the time I left the theater, my friend and I had that slightly exhausted feeling that comes from many a belly laugh, when you can’t just help but feel good. And that’s a really good feeling.


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