Dreaming Across Forms: Mike Birbiglia’s Sleepwalk With Me

img 0972 Dreaming Across Forms: Mike Birbiglias Sleepwalk With Me

Mike Birbiglia can tell a mean story. He has built an impressive comedic career based on his mostly autobiographical vignettes of growth, duty, fear and love, shared in an engaging yet conversational tone. Most of all, his pieces and performances have a concept that run throughout, as opposed to the typical ad hoc musings of which most stand up comedians are guilty. His marquee piece is Sleepwalk With Me, the story of how his REM behavior disorder came to a sharp point (literally) as it mixed with his increasing anxiety over his relationships and career. First performed as an off-Broadway “one-man show” in 2008, Sleepwalk With Me has been reproduced as a comedy album, a memoir, and most recently, a feature film produced by This American Life’s Ira Glass. Talk about getting mileage out of an idea.

It helps that Sleepwalk With Me is a fantastic narrative, no matter the form. Stop me if you’ve heard this one: a comedian/bartender/slacker is essentially forced to take the reins of his life, something he worked to avoid. This isn’t a typical slacker flick, however. As you have likely inferred, this slacker suffers from a severe sleepwalking disorder in which he acts out his most vivid, strange and, at times, destructive dreams.