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Mike Birbiglia: The New One (Off-Broadway)

From 22 critic and 24 member reviews
Members say: Funny, Entertaining, Absorbing, Clever, Hilarious

About the show

Acclaimed comedian and storyteller Mike Birbiglia ('Thank God For Jokes,' 'My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend') returns to Off Broadway with a brand new solo show. More…

In 'The New One,' the award-winning comedian approaches an entirely new subject in a new way with the same heart and humor we’ve come to expect.

Front Row Center

“One of those shows that, when it concludes you automatically think back to where it started and trace the path. You don’t notice the path...because you are having so good a time...Birbiglia sends us into the stratosphere howling at his observations, and brings us to a full stop when he wants to drop deeper into what it means to be a man on the verge of changing his life forever. He examines all of it. And going along for the ride is an experience not to be missed.” Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"One of the two best one-man shows I’ve seen in my longer-than-I-prefer-to-admit life...Birbiglia’s an amazingly honest and truthful storyteller...He’s mastered the creation of humorous concepts along with a nuanced, good natured unhurried delivery...Birbiglia’s smart. He has stage presence. His measured pacing is honed to get the biggest response from the stories he tells. He covers all the bases in his very precise commentary." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

“The latest chapter of Birbiglia's life inventory...This time Birbiglia digs more deeply, subjecting his flaws to hilariously ruthless examination and getting to the heart of marriage and fatherhood and what they mean to him. As always, he is the most elusive of targets, defying categorization even as he lands laugh after laugh...‘The New One’ treads nimbly on more profound matters...This time he has an epiphany that can bring a tear to your eye” Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"His comedic observational skills are sharp as a tack...Birbiglia seems deeply sincere in his lack of self-regard. It makes him all the funnier and more relatable...By the end of the evening, you feel less like an audience member than an old friend. Which is not to downplay the performer's incredibly sharp wit and gift for wordplay...It takes tremendous skill to come across in such an unskilled manner....That the show is being staged in such intimate confines only makes it all the more special." Full Review


"Birbiglia's grin is infectious, and after each and every punchline while the audience is still laughing, he delivers that bemused look as though he is enjoying the recollection as much as we are. This always seems to keep the laughter going longer. He also knows how to milk the most mundane material for a seemingly endless series of one-liners, a never ending stream of humor on one of life's many absurdities which he has lived through - and survived." Full Review

Gotham Playgoer

"Ever since seeing 'Sleepwalk with Me,' I have been hooked on his brand of humor: good-natured, self-deprecating, unflinchingly honest and thoroughly grounded in life...His usual director Seth Barrish once again shows his flair for the material. Each time I see a new Birbiglia show, I am fearful that it could not possibly be as good as the previous one. Each time I am happy to find that my worries were groundless." Full Review


"It's all very funny and bracing, because Birbiglia is a nuanced storyteller with a gift for teasing out the absurdity of contemporary American life, as well as sending up his own anxieties and neuroses...'The New One' is grounded in an intimate emotional honesty. That's not to say the show is a downer; it hums along on the strength of Birbiglia's warm-hearted wit...Just try to score a ticket. 'The New One' may be his best one yet." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"Dazzling...In this seemingly freewheeling, but exquisitely crafted monologue, Birbiglia charts his emotional, psychological, and medical passage to parenthood...'The New One' is a deft combination of stand-up comedy, autobiographical performance, and one-person play...Birbiglia weaves personal narrative with droll observations and discursive tangents that morph into new and even more discursive tangents...Miraculously, it all works, and the comic payoff is substantial." Full Review

Entertainment Weekly

"It’s kind of a medical miracle, what Mike Birbiglia has done. No, not fathering a child after fertility doctors informed him 'my boys don’t swim.' Rather, he has miraculously breathed life into a catalogue of ancient comedy targets...His take on these subjects is frequently hilarious, and fresh nearly to the point of innocence, as Birbiglia encounters each awful reality for himself...An affecting story is at first funny, then sad, and finally profound." Full Review

Theater Life

"It's hard to call [it] a play; although carefully scripted…with a distinct, if pleasantly meandering, beginning, middle, and end, it's more like an extended standup routine…He tells honest-seeming, if slightly exaggerated, stories about his own life, larded with humor that's often sexual or scatological; rarity of rarities, however, he keeps the profanity to a minimum…His biggest drawback is a habit of slipping from a clearly articulated conversational tone into mumbling and whispers." Full Review

New York Theater

"His fans, won over by his previous shows seemed to have a blind faith that I didn’t share. And I felt my skepticism rewarded when for the first fifteen minutes or so he seemed to ramble...'The New One' winds up a fresh, funny, subversive and even occasionally moving account of becoming and then being a father...He recounts with annoyance how people say to him 'Is it the most joy you’ve ever experienced.’ And you have to say ‘It’s the most joy’ – his expression priceless." Full Review

New Yorker

"The show is a sustained demonstration of effective comic writing and acting—Birbiglia is brilliant at weaponizing the conspiratorial stage whisper...Birbiglia hits peak funny when riffing on his frailties, medical and otherwise, and his self-deprecation comes across not as an underhanded cry for unearned 'helpless dad' sympathy but as an expression of genuine doubt about his role in the new family unit." Full Review


"Directed by Seth Barrish, 'The New One' is original perspective on a familiar situation. Birbiglia is at the height of his powers as a storyteller, and his innate drollness earns laughs from particularly embarrassing subjects...Really, the laughs are nonstop. There's not a single lull. But it's also surprisingly tender, particularly in the later section." Full Review


"Is there anyone out there in either the comedy world or the theatrical scene capable of delivering more laughs per minute than Mike Birbiglia? I don't think so. And in the case of his hilarious new solo show, 'The New One,' now at the Cherry Lane Theatre, 'delivering' is the key word. As one might have guessed, the ultimate focus of this rollicking 80-minute diversion (smoothly directed by Seth Barrish) is Birbiglia's not completely willing entry into parenthood." Full Review

Time Out New York

"About his reluctant journey to fatherhood and how it has changed his life. That may sound about as scintillating as potato salad, but Birbiglia isn't some generic straight white guy whining about domesticity. He is raw, self-deprecating and painfully aware of both his privilege and his failings...The show isn't groundbreaking in structure, style or substance...But the meticulous and evocative way he expresses himself makes 'The New One'—like a newborn baby—special, unique and lovable." Full Review


"Mike Birbiglia is a terrific story teller, comedian, author, filmmaker, director...How Jen actually gets pregnant is a good portion of his story as told with jokes that spring so naturally from his narrative that we are hardly aware of the set-up. Under the unobtrusive direction of Seth Barrish, Birbiglia ambles with ease about the stage...His inevitable epiphany comes as a wonderful surprise and a heartwarming conclusion to another unique chapter in this very talented man's life." Full Review


"Birbiglia has a down-to-earth, good-guy vibe...He’s not normcore, he’s just normal...It’s a cozy pleasure to be in his company...It seems silly to say that a comic has 'found their subject,' but there is something about the process of becoming a dad that seems to have opened up a new and wonderful exploration for Birbiglia...This is a life-affirming piece of work, for fathers, mothers, and all of us who have them." Full Review

New York Stage Review

"Don’t ask me for specific laugh lines, of which there are scores. For me, they evaporate as they pass. Yet they are commendably effective when Birbiglia spouts them and then, just as often as not, follows them with one of those sunbeam grins...Regularly, Birbiglia has the knack of topping a gag with another line and then another...While I rarely laughed out loud but sat throughout with my own appreciative grin, the audience of Birbiglia fans giggled and guffawed from start to finish." Full Review

AM New York

"Parenthood is well-worn territory for comedians, but Birbligia makes the show fresh and revealing through direct storytelling, precise pacing and his trademark nice guy persona, in which he presents himself in a casual, affable and excited manner. He interweaves observational humor, personal anecdotes (such as his clueless experience in Amsterdam’s Red Light District), sentimental touches and physical bits." Full Review

Village Voice

“Engaging one-man show...Birbiglia is a soothing presence...Birbiglia is a seasoned storyteller, and he plays the audience like they’re an old acoustic guitar he’s been noodling on since childhood...Birbiglia is not the kind of comic who aims to shock. He appears more eager to put his audience at ease, to assure us that all will be well. He ends the show on a positive, heartwarming note, so that we’re literally applauding him for not leaving his wife and baby." Full Review


"An observational everyman, he speaks fairly gently—sometimes in a whisper—and at times smiles and laughs along with the audience, giving the sense of a very accessible guy who happens to be wonderfully out of step with normalcy...This having-a-baby-is-challenging routine is something we’ve heard a million times from comics, especially since it leads to some reluctant joy over the situation, but fortunately, Birbiglia’s wit, timing, and personal approach make the show well worth birthing." Full Review

The New York Times

"At first excruciatingly funny and then just kind of excruciating. The first hour, about his wife and cat and brother and vascular repair, is gorgeous, just the right amount of wrong...But once Mr. Birbiglia actually has a kid, most of what makes him so immensely appealing — his acuity, his empathy — goes down for a nap...The jokes don’t really stop, but they take a brakes-stripping turn toward self-pity ...After the birth Mr. Birbiglia seems awful. " Full Review

Funny, Clever, Delightful, Edgy

See it if you appreciate someone telling the truth about himself and his life, and if you love astonishing sets

Don't see it if You don't enjoy hearing an entire audience burst into peals of laughter

Funny, Intelligent, Must see, Refreshing, Resonant

See it if you're a fan of Birbiglia or you just want to see a really poignant and funny narrative about the transition into fatherhood.

Don't see it if you're not into one-man shows or you're thin-skinned (a la the NY Times critic) - his view of fatherhood isn't all rainbows and sunshine.

Also But it sure is honest.

Funny, Absorbing, Clever, Thought-provoking, Refreshing

See it if you're looking for an engaging one-man performance filled with hilarious and poignant observations on love, life, and sacrifice.

Don't see it if one-man shows aren't your thing, or overly personal stories (including sometimes uncomfortably truthful anecdotes) make you uncomfortable.

Absorbing, Indulgent, Great writing, Hilarious, Great staging

See it if you like Mike Birbiglia and want to see his best 80 minutes yet; you've ever had a kid

Don't see it if you're sensitive about parental abuse or abandonment--those issues were handled less delicately than I thought they should have been

Absorbing, Ambitious, Intelligent, Hilarious, Touching

See it if you're a fan of Birbiglia & curious about his recent life, you enjoy his hilarious take on modern urban & family life, you want to laugh

Don't see it if funny stories about 39-ish married guy are not your thing, don't like one person shows or evenings that resemble stand up more than a play

Funny, Delightful, Hilarious

See it if You enjoy comedy about becoming a parent and/or are a MB fan.

Don't see it if You don’t want to laugh? I can’t imagine anyone going and not enjoying this show.

Funny, Clever, Intelligent, Refreshing, Entertaining

See it if You want to hear Mike Birbiglia tackle the reasons not to have kids and how it happened anyway

Don't see it if You don't like blunt honesty about feelings and opinions that aren't the "appropriate" things to feel or say

Refreshing, Great writing, Hilarious, Entertaining, Cute props

See it if you want a good laugh that does not offend. How delightful to just sit back and forget your troubles.

Don't see it if you don't like one man comedy shows no matter how funny or entertaining.

Absorbing, Clever, Great writing, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if You enjoy comedy, one man shows and masterful storytelling. You're looking for the lolz.

Don't see it if You want a large scale and flashy production, you prefer musicals, you don't enjoy standup or storytelling.

Funny, Great acting, Masterful, Must see

See it if He delivers as funny evening of laughter about family, kids. Quirky delivery but effective.

Don't see it if If you dont like comedy or its subject matter.

A very funny tale of not wanting a child

See it if Mike Birbiglia is very witty throughout this show

Don't see it if the idea of not wanting a child offends you or you dislike stand up comedy

Funny, Clever, Intelligent, Entertaining

See it if Observational intelligent shedding of singles skin on path to parenting. Self-deprecating and insightful views of this newly married papa.

Don't see it if Last time out, Amy Schumer opened for him and he was struggling through the dating scene. Time marches on and en route, one of us got old.

Delightful, Great writing, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if You would like an inside look into how a new father copes.

Don't see it if You don't like standup comedians.

Funny, Thought-provoking, Disappointing, Cliched, Entertaining

See it if It's ALL Mike, once again The funny, self-imposed defeatedness, quirky delivery & astringent observations are applied to his new fatherhood

Don't see it if After fervently assuring us of the reasons for not having kids (esp with the provocative "they spoil careers") he totally falls into cliche

Funny, Absorbing, Indulgent, Solo performance, Well staged

See it if you enjoy stand-up comedy. Birbiglia manages to tweak humor out of both mundane and unusual circumstances and also through exaggeration.

Don't see it if you don't like a solo show. I did not LMAO, but others did and I was certainly entertained.

Funny, Clever, Great writing, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if You like comedic storytelling. You will especially enjoy it if you are a parent.

Don't see it if You are bringing children.

Funny, Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Heartfelt

See it if you love to smile and laugh and like to listen to stories about people's real life situations.

Don't see it if you only laugh at comedy that has to have cursing in it

Absorbing, Clever, Edgy, Intelligent, Entertaining

See it if You like stand up

Don't see it if You are offended easily

During previews
Enchanting, Intelligent, Profound, Great writing, Hilarious

See it if you're into exquisite story-telling. Mike Birbiglia has just about mastered the art of long-form storytelling. Hilarious and insightful.

Don't see it if you don't like stand-up.

During previews
Absorbing, Clever, Masterful, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if You want to laugh. Mike describes his rather challenging life in a way that is just hilarious!

Don't see it if You are easily offended. Mike tells us all about his life, and some people may find it to be a little too much information.

During previews
Funny, Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Entertaining

See it if Mike Birbiglia is fantastic. He is so charming and funny. This show is definitely worth seeing (if you can get a ticket - it’s sold out!

Don't see it if You don’t like one person shows or comedy.

During previews
Funny, Absorbing, Masterful, Refreshing, Great writing

See it if you are a fan of Mike Birbiglia and his nice-guy, self-deprecating, unflnchingly honest brand of humor.

Don't see it if you don't like solo shows and/or have no sense of humor.

Also Birbiglia is not only a skilled comedian but a masterful storyteller.... Read more Read less

During previews
Funny, Delightful

See it if You like sweet one man shows

Don't see it if You want him to tap dance

During previews
Funny, Absorbing, Masterful, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if You are a fan of unique storytelling and standup (honestly if you know Mike's work this will help but it's so damn endearing)

Don't see it if You don't like storytelling and honesty onstage

Also I like that he wants us to go in not knowing anything but if you are a... Read more Read less

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