When I sat down for a screening of Don’t Think Twice, the new comedy from Mike Birbiglia, I was in a mood. It had been a long day at work, I had just booked it across midtown in a most unfavorable pair of heels, and, frankly, I wasn’t all that excited about the film I was about to see. Many indie films are a slow burn, sure, but a feature length film about improv comedy subculture? I didn’t have the highest expectations. An hour-and-a-half later, discreetly trying to wipe my tears with my sleeve, I had zero desire to leave the theatre.
Don’t Think Twice, actor, writer, and comedian Mike Birbiglia’s sophomore feature film, is the story of an improv group known as The Commune working in a dingy New York theatre. The six of them work for small crowds and for even smaller sums, are often on the prowl for a modicum of something that can be deemed as success. They also seem totally blissed out in one other’s company, a series of friendships that have clearly withstood the test of time and some awful jokes. They’re led by Miles (Birbiglia), a 30-something improv teacher with an affinity for sleeping with his younger students and claiming he’s always inches, just inches away from making it big. Then there’s spunky but spoiled Lindsay (Tami Sagher), whimsical Allison (Kate Micucci), and slightly pathetic Bill (Chris Gerhard). Gillian Jacobs and Keegan-Michael Key round out The Commune as Jack and Samantha, the romantic couple of the group. Although most of them live together in a crappy loft and pretty much all of the group suffers through a series of mundane day jobs, they’re happiest when doing what they’re best at: getting on a stage a few nights a week and fearlessly shooting the shit. (more…)
There is a lot to love about October, whose major holiday asks its revelers to hand out candy and dress up as someone else, nothing more. Even if you can’t get into the spirit, it’s impossible not to admire the folks who do. And there is plenty to admire this month—21 events in fact, to pencil in using our October Fun Map. Open House New York is a chance to see the city from a different perspective, inside landmarks and futuristic buildings like the Urban Post Disaster House; registration is already open so save your spots or pony up for a pass that gives you access to sold-out tours. The 1981 cult classic film, Stations of the Elevated, which BAM screens mid-month, portrays another side of New York, back when graffitied subways roamed, and the 1,300 bands that will be in town for CMJ Music Marathon will bring fresh music to your stale playlists. We’re very excited about the chance to gorge on oysters during Brooklyn Crab’s Fall Oyster Fest, and the release of the anthology, Never Can Say Goodbye, will remind us all why we love this city. But really, it’s all about the costumes, so start brainstorming something more viral than Ebola, HallowMEME is coming up.
Eugene Mirman, holding court outside the Bell House. Photo: Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival
Famous people are great and all, but what I have really come to appreciate about Eugene Mirman after attending a few EMCFs is his ability to identify and give a stage to relatively unknown comedians who are clearly on their way to the big time.
The end of summer is here, and while that means less daylight, cooler temps, and not being able to phone it in at work anymore, it’s also time to get excited for the annual Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival
, which returns to The Bell House and Union Hall for five nights starting September 18. Now in its 7th year, the festival is an unfussy, intimate series of shows, panels, and events featuring top-notch talent, mostly culled from Mirman’s own list of comedian friends he’s collected over two decades in the biz.
A lot of the shows with big-name headliners are already sold out, but don’t despair if you didn’t snap those tickets up–the secret to the festival is that the less star-studded line-ups are where you’ll see tomorrow’s new favorite funny person. And everyone loves an opportunity to say, “Oh yeah, I saw her just before she got hired by SNL-The Daily Show-The John Oliver Show-moved to LA and got super famous.”