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Mike Birbiglia (multiple showtimes)

  • Capitol Theater 201 State Street Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)
Brian Friedman.

Brian Friedman.

If there's one thing that has crystallized in comedian Mike Birbiglia's approach over the years, it's a love for the slow-burning reveal. From early on, Birbiglia has made no secret of his passion for working jokes into the context of bigger stories—a style that got him on the radar of and eventually collaborating with This American Life's Ira Glass on the Public Radio International-distributed program on a handful of segments, 2012's film Sleepwalk With Me, and 2016's Don't Think Twice. His patient storytelling with an affable, self-deprecating point of view had probably its best moment so far in 2013's My Girlfriend's Boyfriend, in which Birbiglia willingly lays out all of his questionable and regrettable choices in his romantic life, going on tangents that always impressively bend their way back to serve the story as a whole. In this year's Netflix special Thank God For Jokes, Birbiglia toys with this convention even more, by opening the set with a clip of Jimmy Kimmel introducing him from the 2012 Gotham Awards—something that isn't explained or elaborated on, though it ultimately proves crucial both to a story Birbiglia eventually tells, and to the underlying theme of the entire set. Here at the Capitol Theater, Birbiglia appears on the intentionally covert and opaque "New One" tour, performing material he has workshopped and refused to speak publicly about all summer—something that mere speculation in an event preview can't possibly provide more insights into. The man wants you to be surprised. Trust him. —David Wolinsky

Earlier Event: September 22
Wizard World
Later Event: September 22
To Sleep With Anger (free)