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#176: Mike Birbiglia, The Sleepwalking Comedy Giant
The Tim Ferriss Show

00:00 / 01:35:42

Mike Birbiglia (@birbigs) is one of the best-known and busiest working comedians in the world, both behind and in front of the camera. His standup blends elements of theater, film, storytelling, and comedy. Mike has been deliberate in studying many crafts and tying them together, which is reflected in a diverse string of successes: sold-out tours as a solo theater act, New York Times bestselling books, off-Broadway shows, feature film, TV, and more. In recent years, his work has appeared on public radio’s This American Life, where he began a meaningful collaboration with host and producer Ira Glass. Currently, he is the creator, writer, and star of the new film Don’t Think Twice, which was just released. I loved it, which I do not say lightly. Check it out. So…how the hell does he do it all? I aimed to find out. In this conversation, we cover a ton, including: His writing process and schedule Favorite books, documentaries, and TV shows Morning routines Stories and lessons from Oliver Stone, Ron Howard, and others How he “workshops” and develops material Hilarious interactions with POTUS The best pizza joints in NYC Which three comedians he’d combine into one “super comic” How he runs jokes by other people And much, much more… Enjoy! Show notes and links for this episode can be found at This podcast is brought to you by Four Sigmatic. I reached out to these Finnish entrepreneurs after a very talented acrobat introduced me to one of their products, which blew my mind (in the best way possible). It is mushroom coffee featuring chaga. It tastes like coffee, but there are only 40 milligrams of caffeine, so it has less than half of what you would find in a regular cup of coffee. I do not get any jitters, acid reflux, or any type of stomach burn. It put me on fire for an entire day, and I only had half of the packet. People are always asking me what I use for cognitive enhancement — right now, this is the answer. You can try it right now by going to and using the code “Tim” to get 20 percent off your first order. If you are in the experimental mindset, I do not think you’ll be disappointed. This podcast is also brought to you by Wealthfront. Wealthfront is a massively disruptive (in a good way) set-it-and-forget-it investing service led by technologists from places like Apple. It has exploded in popularity in the last two years and now has more than $2.5B under management. Why? Because you can get services previously limited to the ultra-wealthy and only pay pennies on the dollar for them, and it’s all through smarter software instead of retail locations and bloated sales teams. Check out, take their risk assessment quiz, which only takes 2-5 minutes, and they’ll show you — for free — exactly the portfolio they’d put you in. If you want to just take their advice and do it yourself, you can. Well worth a few minutes to explore:


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