After performing “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend” more than 300 times on 3 continents and in 70 cities, I’m hanging up the collared shirt.
“The one in New York that’s so famous and you’re still Mike Birbiglia, right?”
“Are you sure there’s not another tiny Carnegie Hall?”
The idea came up 6 months ago when I was on tour in Santa Fe and my agent Mike called and said, “I think we might be able to do a final performance at Carnegie Hall.”
This made me very uncomfortable.
When I moved to New York City in June of 2000, my sister Gina took me to see Jon Stewart play Carnegie Hall. It was the first show I saw in New York. It was incredible. I laughed my ass off, but I really never thought, “That should be me.” I thought, “Maybe one day I could be the opening act,” And that actually happened. In 2006 I got to open for Jon Stewart at Merriweather Post Pavilion in front of 10,000 people. I remember thinking, “I do not deserve this, but I will take it.” And that’s how I feel about this: I do not deserve this, but I will take it.
When my agent called me in Santa Fe I was having a post show drink with my lighting designer Aaron and I expressed my trepidation. And he said, “You don’t do Carnegie Hall for yourself. You do it for your parents.” And he’s right. Incidentally my parents didn’t make it to my recent show in Worcester, Massachusetts, which is my hometown. I’m not angry, but I did think it was odd. There were no excuses, like, “We have another son performing in front of 2,000 people.” It was just, “We’re not gonna make it!” When you’re 70 years old, you can get away with excuses like that, partly because “we’re not gonna make it” could mean a lot of things.
But when I told my parents I was doing the final performance of My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend at Carnegie Hall, my mom said, “I think we can come to that.”
She thinks so.
I’ll take it.
By the way, when I told Ira Glass that I was doing this, he said, “Do you want me and the Monica Bill Barnes Dance Company to be your opening act?” I said, “That’s exactly what I want.” So Ira is going to be my special guest on the show.
So now it’s happening.
It will be a night to remember. I promise. I don’t deserve it, but I will make it seem like I do.