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Mike Birbiglia’s ‘Don’t Think Twice’ Looks At Improv Comedy

The writer-director-comedian says trust is key

Mike Birbiglia (center) wrote and directed

Credit: The Film Arcade

Above: Mike Birbiglia (center) wrote and directed "Don't Think Twice." He also stars as one member of an improv collective and he has a hard time hiding his jealousy when a fellow member gets a big audition.

GUESTS:

Mike Birbiglia, writer, director and star, "Don't Think Twice"

Beth Accomando, arts and culture reporter, KPBS News

Transcript

Mike Birbiglia's "Don't Think Twice" opened in New York last month and now expands to more cities, including San Diego for a two-week run at Landmark's Ken Cinema beginning Friday.

Writer-director-comedian Mike Birbiglia has been contributing to "This American Life" since 2008. He made his feature film debut in 2012 with "Sleepwalk With Me."

Last month, Birbiglia came to San Diego to hold a preview screening of his new film, "Don't Think Twice," and to meet with the folks at Finest City Improv.

Birbiglia performs stand up and improv comedy. He said both find "humor in truth," but they are very different beasts. Stand up is a solitary profession, whereas improv is all about working as a team. But the team of comedians at the center of "Don't Think Twice" are suffering from some growing pains as two members of the group get auditions for a Saturday Night Live sketch comedy show.

The film serves up a bit of a history lesson about improv and lays out some rules. Key to making improv work is "don't think." It's all about going with your instincts and building on what your fellow comedians give you.

While the ads for the film emphasize the comedy, Birbiglia insisted that it is a drama with comedy in it. What audiences may be most surprised by is how much you will come to care for the characters he creates and how real and truthful the relationships are.

You can hear more of my interview with Birbiglia on the KPBS Cinema Junkie Podcast Episode 85.

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