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September 12, 2014 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Friday, September 12, 2014 - 5A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Friday, September12, 2014 - SA

'I just came back for the Pizza House.
Birbiglia brings
'19 The Jokes to AA

I wish I could swear in this show'
The Thirteenth Doctor:
A more mature 'Who'

Comedian to
display classic,

personable style
Daily Arts Writer
In 2008, Mike Birbiglia's one-
man show, "Sleepwalk With
Me", opened
off-Broadway Mike Birbi-
to stellar
reviews, The glia: Thank
New York God For
Times call-
ing it "simply The Jokes
perfect" and Sunday, Sept.14
Time Out New The Michigan
York naming
it the "show Theater
of the year." 8p.m.
Four years
later, Birbiglia
directed the
film version, which premiered
at the Sundance Film Festival -
winning an Audience Award and
becoming one of the year's top
three most critically-acclaimed
comedies on Rotten Tomatoes.
In 2011, his second one-man
show, "My Girlfriend's Boy-
friend," opened off-Broadway,
ran for four months and won the
Lucille Lortel Award for Out-
standing Solo Show. Following
the run, Birbiglia has performed
the show in more than 70 cit-
ies worldwide, including per-
formances at the Sydney Opera
House, London's Soho Theatre
and Carnegie Hall.
Most notably though, when
filming in Ann Arbor several
years ago, Birbiglia ate at Pizza

House for the first time and now
says, "It was one of my greatest
food memories of my life."
On Sunday, Mike Birbiglia
willcome to The Michigan The-
ater for his brand new show,
"Thank God For Jokes," and he
believes this could be his best
stand-up yet.
"My goal was to set out to
write the funniest show I could
possibly write," Birbiglia says.
"So it's extremely dense with
stories and jokes and lines about
how sometimes jokes can get
you in trouble, but ultimately,
they make you feel closer to
people and, in my opinion, are
worth it."
Past shows of his have been
driven by a single story or event
that encapsulates the entire act,
but Birbiglia says "Thank God
For Jokes" diverges from this
"After "Sleepwalk With Me"
and "My Girlfriend's Boyfriend,"
which are both very story-driv-
en things, I wanted to make a
show that was just the funniest
show I could create ... In the pro-
cess of doing that, what emerged
was this through-line about
jokes and basically how much
jokes mean to me."
"In some ways, jokes are like
a language." Birbiglia contin-
ued. "They're like a way that
people communicate with other
people who have a good sense of
humor. In some ways, my shows
are kind of like a series of inside
jokes between me and the audi-
It's this intimate, personable
style that distinguishes Birbiglia
from other comedians. "TIME

Magazine" calls him a "master
of the personal, embarrassing
tale," and "The New York Times"
describes him as a "supremely
enjoyable monologist." Birbiglia
insists it's all about honesty.
"(The style)'s not something
that comes to my mind as much
... I'm just trying to be true to
myself when I write. I'm trying
to get to the bottom of what's
under every story ... I follow the
muse of'Why."'
Obviously, Birbiglia's style has
turned some heads and captured
audiences' attention. In the past
few years, he's made more than
40 network television appear-
ances, including interviews on
Letterman, Conan, Kimmel,
Seth Meyers and "The Tonight
Show Starring Jimmy Fallon."
He's featured on the New York
Times Bestseller List and, just
this past year, played Patrick in
the much-beloved "The Fault in
Our Stars."
In August, Birbiglia even
secured a role on season three of
the hit Netflix show, "Orange Is
the New Black."
Yet he insists that the added
attention hasn't changed his
day-to-day life, especially his
interactions with strangers.
"A lot of times, I'll meet some-
one and they'll say 'You're a
comedian?' And I'll say, 'Yeah.'
And they'll say, 'You think
you're gonna make it?' And then
I'm like, 'Well, I think I already
have."' Tickets are still available,
so reach into your wallets, grab
your parents' credit card and
come on down to see a rising tal-
ent and one of the most unique
voices in comedy today.

Daily Arts Writer
He emerges from the TARDIS,
a little blue box we're all more
than familiar with ... but some-
thing's changed. Who is this bit-
ter old Scottish man with "attack
eyebrows" and a haggard face?
This isn't the Doctor we know and
love? Where's the fez and the flirt-
ing with companions? Where's
the wacky sense of wonder? What
happened to "Doctor Who?"
The answer is simple, brilliant
and found ina move that is really
making me miss Steven Moffat
already: "Doctor Who" got old.
Fifty to be precise, making him
the oldest science-fiction fran-
chise of all time - beating out
both "Star Trek" and "Star Wars."
For the first time in the series'
history, the actor and the show
itself are the same age. Actually,
Peter Capaldi, number thirteen of
the Doctors (but Malcolm Tucker
in the hearts of any fans of "The
Thick of It") is fifty-six but the
specificity isn't what's important
Most of the time, the Doctor's
"regeneration" protocol is an easy
ploy (to those non-Whovians, the
Doctor never dies, but rather is
mortally injured and regenerates
himself to have a new physical
form; in other words, same guy,
different face). Oftentimes, the
executives of "Doctor Who" sim-
ply used it as a way for the show,
and character, to outlast the
actors. But now, it actually means
something: the Doctor, after fifty
years on screen, is finally showing
his age.
Not to say he's not the same
Doctor. The wit, wonder, genius
and personality is still all there.
But now, with Moffat almost done
with "Doctor Who," it seems
he's leaving his final dent in the

we don
no one
the got
moral c
no mat
tor in:
not en
it's hat
tle anx
ish cul
tional p
there a
who m
and I'n
he's go
eral la
are less
tor Wh
fat has
work a
ing on

long-running history. Yep, are richly drawn, doing much
't know how he did it with more than providing target prac-
else noticing, but he made tice for the Doctor's witticisms.
od Doctor a wisecracking, Moffat has often been reviled
atured and brilliant mid- for some of his female characters,
d Scotsman with a bit of something I find just ridiculous.
utrage and a love of truth, I can't think of a better subver-
ter how much it hurts. sion of a classically subordinate
en Moffat made the Doc- character than the recent rev-
to himself. Okay, that's elation of Mary Moorston's past
tirely accurate. But still, on "Sherlock." Nor can I think
rd to imagine whoever's of a more fitting "Doctor Who"
ng the Moffnot to feel a lit- spin-off than lizard humanoid
ious. The man has stirred Lady Vastra, her wife Jenny and
versy no doubt for truly their butler Strax solving crimes
ng the Doctor from a Brit- in Victorian London together as
t favorite into an interna- was seen in "Deep Breath" (and
phenomenon, and of course major props for the kiss scene
ire some people out there between Vastra and Jenny; a
scene which has unfortunately
been censored in several coun-
=kter Capaldi tries). Clara as well, a character
some might have thought a tad
too conventional for the Doctor's
lovely assistant, is seen growing
out of her shell and into someone
almost tragic in her affection for
a man who aged from twenty to
fifty in the span of a day.
iss the days of shaky sets "Doctor Who" is the best kind
d graphics. of science-fiction. Sure, it involves
the Moff did something an alien dinosaur rampaging
ingly important as well: through Victorian London, but it
reaffirmed the literary does so in a way that's about who
al of the series. Steven we are. This season asks the ques-
is easily one of the best tion "If you were to continuously
on writers in the business rearrange yourself for an eternity,
anxiously awaiting what would you even still remember
ing to do after he's left the who you were at the beginning?"
IS for good. Some of his The Doctor, Clara, friends and
ors have complained that finally Moffat, himself, all bring
's storylines have been their A-game in delving into such
complex or that the gen- ideas and questions in a way that,
ck of week-by-week plots quite frankly,.has simply never
sening the quality of "Doc- been done to such an extent and
1o." These claims are rub- on a program as big as "Doctor
swith "Sherlock" (Moffat's Who." Doctors might change,
television creation), Mof- writers go and time might be
succeeded in taking the forever in flux; as of right now,
ch of a serial novel or prose though, I'm very much enjoy-
nd applying it to storytell- ing the present state of "Doctor
the screen. His characters Who."

Bey's HBO takeover

Daily Arts Writer
What is it about Queen B that
commands the world's attention?
She's got the package no doubt;
beauty, poise, talent and charisma.
But there's something beyond the
average celebrity checklist that
has taken her to superhuman sta-
tus on a global scale, blowing away
audiences both up close and at a
This summer, Beyonce expand-
ed her reach even further into
daily life. On June 29th, "Beyon-
ce: X10" premiered on HBO, a
ten-episode series of four-minute
concert videos. The videos are all
from her most recent Mrs. Carter
Show World Tour. For those of
us who don't get the pleasure of
being there in person, the videos
can feel like a backstage pass. It's
striking to observe how even at the
most minute level, no detail goes
Several of the videos show the
faces of crying fans. I wouldn't pin
myself as a diehard fan; however, I
was surprised to find myself blown
away by her VMA performance.
The X10 videos are a little taste of
the same magic, the rising action to
her VMA climactic finish, which
caused Twitter to explode with
praise. Beyonce's concerts are a
spectacle. The dancers alone war-
rant a stage of their own. Her con-
fidence is a tight wrapping paper to
the little gift of each performance.
And we are equally wrapped up in
her. Shemakessure we can't forget
her when she leaves the stage, and
how could we anyway?
Beyoncd has become more
than an artist at this point. She is


Who wearing a bike helmet? Beyonce
a cultural icon, dominating social
media, fashion, news, lunch-break
discussions, and even politics. She
has grown into a symbol of any-
thing and everything pop culture.
Minus the important questions
regarding the feminist nature of
her work and general discourse
around female artists, Beyonc6
has left essentially zero room for
controversy or criticism in her
work. And should you have criti-
cisms and choose to make them
known, you would be faced with
a violent army of fans commit-
ted to showing you the error of
your ways. I made the mistake of
sharing with my coworkers that
"I didn't love 'Drunk in Love.'"
After being scolded, they directed
me to "The Beygency" SNL skit, in
which people expressing the same

ambivalence about the song are
punishedby a 1984- like, all know-
ing police. Whoops. Point being,
and jokes aside, to slander Beyonce
is an offense to most, such is her
standing in the world today.
The woman is a model of hard
work. In her last short episode,
her ethic comes through beyond
the glamour and the glitz: "Real-
ize the things that make you pas-
sionate, that you stay up for, that
you work for." I don't know about
you, but I'm still working on that
one. Watching someone get it right
might be where the tears come
The X10 HBO series helps us
see why she's more than just the
package. Fortunately, or unfortu-
nately, I'm not sure if I can put it
into words.

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