Mike Birbiglia Brings ‘Sleepwalk’ Around the World – First Stop: Australia


Thanks for all the support you’ve given to my little film, Sleepwalk With Me. We played in 350 theaters across America, broke the IFC Center’s weekend box office record, and hopefully made a lot of audiences happy/sad/more happy. If you still haven’t caught the movie, you can order a signed copy from my online store, watch it on Netflix or get it on iTunes in the US and Canada.

But what about in Europe? Or Australia? Or other places where they speak English?

I’m working on it!

First up I’m heading to Melbourne and Sydney, which is kind of ridiculous because those places are not so close to each other. It’s like if someone came to the US and said, “First up I’m hitting Seattle and Atlanta.”

I love Australia. I love the people. I love the beaches. I love the accent – it’s INSANE and everyone has it. I even get it a little when I visit.

I also found out there are a lot of people from China who live in Australia. If you’ve never been there it kind of takes you by surprise.

A few years ago my wife and I were in Sydney and one day we hopped in the cab of this tiny, old Chinese man, and I said, “We’d like to go to Bondai Beach, please.”

And he turned around and with the thickest Australian accent he said, “Ya’ goin’ to Bondai Beach?!”

We were just like, “Um…you’re not supposed to talk like that. Are we in The Matrix?”

One thing that’s strange about performing in Australia is that it’s so far from where we are that when you’re performing on stage, some of the stuff doesn’t make sense to the people in the audience. Their life experiences are entirely different. So when you’re bombing there, you completely understand. You’re like, “You people are right. This is not relatable to you. You are 100% correct in not laughing.”

I have this one joke about cotton candy, where I say, “They invented it by taking sugar, which everyone knows is bad, but then they dressed it up, like insulation,” and I’m like, “I’m not sure what the selling point is there. Is it the sugar, or the insulation?”

And that’s a line that NO ONE laughed at in Australia.

So one night I asked the stage manager, “How come that cotton candy joke doesn’t work?”

And the stage manager said, “What’s cotton candy?”

And I was like, “Well, it’s this food at a carnival, it looks like pink insulation, but it’s made of sugar.”

And then he said, “Ah, you’re talking about fairy floss!”

It turns out they are conjuring up dental analogies in Australia to sell a product that is the worst dental product in the history of the world. It’s like if we decided to call cigarettes ‘lung vitamins.’

So the next night, and for all of my remaining shows, I would say, “I was at the carnival eating fairy floss,” and IT KILLED. I was just like a local comic.

So now I’m heading back to Australia with my movie, and I’m hoping the word for “pizza pillow” in Australia is “pizza pillow” and not “mozzarella head cushion.”

Thanks again for all your support, everybody. If you have friends in Melbourne or Sydney, PLEASE forward this email to them. I’m performing “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend” as part of the Melbourne Comedy Festival (Pete Holmes will be there too!!) and also for one night at the Sydney Opera House! Also, Sleepwalk With Me is being released by Sharmill Films in 15 movie theaters across Australia!

I’m doing a live Q & A after 2 Melbourne screenings on March 31st and after 2 Sydney Screening on April 5th. Details below. Love you guys. And maybe I’ll see you across the world.

Pope Mike Birbiglia

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