Review: Mike Birbiglia’s The New One at National Theatre


Last night, Levi and I went to Mike Birbiglia’s The New One at National Theatre. I was invited to see the show in exchange for doing a review, so here we are.

I wasn’t very familiar with Mike Birbiglia before this, but when I learned more about him and his comedy, it seemed like it would make for a fun date night. The show was mostly a story about his parenting journey, from his pre-kids perspective to becoming a dad. From the get-go, it was evident that Mike is a talented storyteller. In fact, much of the audience was laughing for the entire show.

However, Levi and I were not among them. I’m not sure exactly what it was (though reading this over, it seems that maybe I do), but I just wasn’t super into it. Perhaps it’s that I’m a more seasoned parent and my head is in a totally different phase of parenthood. Hearing the pre-kids view of how children take away all the joy bothered me, even if he was being facetious; I was especially annoyed at younger people in the audience who clapped vigorously at that part. And the jokes about how the house becomes such a mess, and there’s so much baby stuff everywhere are kind of tired and cliché. As was the stereotype that dads don’t help at all…a bit about his wife wanting to have sex with him because he did the dishes once was like a meme that keeps popping up, but wasn’t even funny the first time.

As Levi said afterward, “Louis CK did all that years ago, but it was funnier and raunchier.” [And here I must be clear that by mentioning LCK, I in no way condone his “Me Too” actions, I’m just relaying what Levi said.] Hey, maybe Levi and I are just old and boring. (I don’t think we are, but I could be too old and boring to be a good judge of that.)

But as I mentioned, Mike Birbiglia is a good storyteller, and I appreciated the structure of his show. Loads of audience members seemed to love it. This is just my review.

Mike Birbiglia’s The New One is running at National Theatre through September 29. Tickets are $39-114, and run time is approximately 1 hour, 20 minutes with no intermission. The official description says it’s recommended for ages 13 and up, but I’d recommend this for adults.


Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to see the show, but all views expressed here are quite obviously my own.


6 Comments

Filed under 2019, Date Night, DC, Fall, Live Entertainment, Parents, Theatre, Weekdays, Weekend

6 Responses to Review: Mike Birbiglia’s The New One at National Theatre

  1. Rachel Levinson-Waldman

    Love this – I haven’t seen him, so I don’t have an opinion one way or the other, but I really appreciate you giving your honest opinion!

  2. Doug

    I’d just like to chime in with a different opinion. I am a big fan of Mike Birbiglia and stand up comedy in general. I have seen all of his specials and movies. I saw this show last year, before it had its run on Broadway. I thought it was one of his best yet. I’m also a 40-something year old parent and I didn’t think his point of view or jokes were cliche. I think the comparison to Louis CK is pretty off base. If you’re a fan of comedians like Patton Oswalt and John Mulaney then you will like Mike Birbiglia. Louis CK goes for more shock value than earnestness in his comedy. Also, if you’re a fan of the public radio show This American Life you should check out Mike Birbiglia’s work. Ira Glass is a frequent collaborator with Birbiglia.

    • Linda @ KidFriendly DC

      Thanks for this. As I said, lots of people seemed to love the show; it just didn’t resonate with me. And I do listen to This American Life — as I also said, I appreciate his storytelling style, the content just wasn’t funny to me. As for being cliche… jokes about people with kids being boring and joyless and how babies make us tired, are more work than we realized, and require so much gear aren’t original in my experience. I wish he’d done more about his sleep disorder. That was interesting and original!

      • Annette

        Just FYI he did a whole stand up and then movie about his sleep disorder and it was fun! Sleepwalk with Me is what it’s called. I can totally see how if you’re in the stage of life it might not be funny. I do love him but I could see how it would be hard to listen to a parenting show. Check out his other stuff though. His Netflix specials are funny! Enjoy!

  3. Jennifer

    Thanks for honest review! Most “sponsored content” these days miss out on the honest part. I’m going to check out some youtube videos of him first now 🙂

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