WHAT: The second album from the comedian and This American Life contributor
LABEL: Comedy Central Records, 2006
GOOD IF YOU LIKE: Likeable, awkward funny dudes
WHERE TO FIND IT: iTunes, Amazon, some record shops
LENGTH: 60 minutes
You may know Mike Birbiglia from his many comedy specials or from his numerous appearances on PRI's This American Life, often discussing his terrifying bout with sleepwalking. Which involves window-jumping and bleeding unintentionally. This resulted in a one-man show called "Sleepwalk With Me", where he relates his horrifying medical condition for your amusement. This is a man who truly knows how to make art out of misery and do a great job.
Birbiglia's persona on Two Drink Mike is that of a likeable, somewhat troubled guy. His comedy is mostly completely clean, going so far as to bleep a couple of curses on his albums over the years. (This is a stark contrast to, say, the entire recorded comedy album industry.)
Most of the stuff we review here is comedy for generally die-hard comedy fans, and Birbiglia is comedy for die-hard comedy fans and their parents. It's not easy to make a totally clean album with both jokes about rape and how much fun you become after a lot of drinks, but this is it.
It almost sounds like a slam to call the album nice or good-natured, but it really is both funny and very inoffensive. There's a routine on the phrase "No, But I Heard About It" that tells you everything you need to know about this comic, which is that he's funny and wants to be liked. You can totally hand this to mom and/or dad as the anti-Jeff Dunham and odds are they'll really enjoy it, and you don't have to hang your head in shame if you're not into comedians with acts that come on sticks. (No offense if you're a Dunham fan. Well, maybe a little offense.)
The album provides an ideal driving companion, as Birbiglia's voice carries despite not exactly being the highest-energy guy. You'll laugh a lot, most likely, so give this one a whirl over the coming Thanksgiving holiday. It should make the travel go down slightly easier.
A note if you're looking to buy this: it's on CD, and on multiple digital formats. Amazon sells an "Audible" version for $12 and a standard MP3 version for $10. It's the same thing, so buyer be aware!