Mike Birbiglia: “Sleepwalk with Me”

Comic Mike Birbiglia has stated that some years ago his therapist “suggested keeping a journal of all the crazy things” in his life in order to “keep things in perspective.”

So he did. And he decided to share it. One such sampling from 2005 he titles “Yo therapist so crazy”:

I actually had an awkward thing happen where my therapist came to one of my shows and this other comedian saw her and said to me, ‘that woman looks crazy.’ And it really hurt my feelings. It was like someone had made fun of my mom. It was like he told a ‘yo’ mama’ joke but about my therapist:

‘Yo therapist so crazy, she interpretin’ her own dreams!’

‘Yo therapist so cheap, she already spent yo co-pay!’

Standup routines were then created out of these entries and were subsequently recorded.

Birbiglia, who’s transitioned from standup routines to storytelling, had a big hit with his more recent one-man theatrical show “Sleepwalk With Me,” which led later to a book called Sleepwalk With Me and Other Painfully True Stories. States Booklist: “…(T)he lengthy title story, of his struggle with a sleep disorder, is as fascinating as it is hilarious.”

Mike Birbiglia explains his sleep disorder in an interview (NPR):

I was diagnosed a few years ago with what’s called REM behavior disorder, where people have a dopamine deficiency. Dopamine is the chemical that is released from your brain into your body when you fall asleep that paralyzes your body so you don’t act out your dreams. And people who have this [disorder] are typically running away from some type of demon or wild animal — and people who have this, in rare instances, have actually killed people while remaining asleep.

Reportedly, his condition has now become pretty well controlled with the use of medication and some “behavioral changes.”

The whole enterprise of Sleepwalk With Me-related products has now culminated in the making of a feature film which won the NEXT Audience Award at Sundance Film Festival this year and which will come to movie theaters this fall.

Below is the trailer to his upcoming film:

Update upon the movie’s release. Leah Rozen, thewrap.com: “Birbiglia is…a milquetoast Everyman, more than a little confused by life but still hoping for the best. As he slowly sorts out his personal life, his medical woes and his career, he and this modest comedy win you over as surely as he does the on-screen audiences hearing his stand-up routines.”

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