IFP Gotham Independent Film Awards 2012

What can’t Mike Birbiglia do? He writes and performs his own comedy material, creating the hit one-man show “Sleepwalk With Me,” which he subsequently published as a well-reviewed memoir and adapted into his bigscreen debut of the same name, earning him a Gotham Awards nom in the breakthrough actor category. Oh, and he also happens to be hosting the show.

Birbiglia’s film career has always been in the cards. It just took longer to realize than he expected. “It was part of a five-year plan that took about 14 years,” he says. “In college, I thought very naively, ‘I’ll become a successful comedian, and then I’ll leverage that to make films like Woody Allen or Albert Brooks,’ not realizing it’s really hard to become a successful comedian, and it’s even harder to finance and put up a feature film.”

Despite the sell-out success of his latest one-man show, “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend” (which he hopes to direct next), Birbiglia hasn’t gotten too big for his britches. At this month’s Stand Up for Heroes comedy show, he performed between Jon Stewart and Ricky Gervais. “It was so quiet when I went onstage,” he says humbly. “Judging by the initial applause for my name, it was almost as if it was signaling a pee break for the room. I anticipate that same reaction from the Gothams.”

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