Fred Armisen and Mike Birbiglia Visit TCNJ for a Night of Laughs

If you weren’t at CUB’s Fall Comedy Show, then you missed two hours of non-stop entertainment. Fred Armisen, of Saturday Night Live and Portlandia, opened the night with a series of impressions. He even invited audience members to name any place in the world and then proceeded to imitate the accent.  And, yes, he broke out his famous Californian imitation. Next, he showed off his musical and vocal talent, playing a few songs, including “It’s a Lovely Day” from his last SNL skit.

Next up was Mike Birbiglia, of Sleepwalk With Me and My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend, who delivered hysterical commentary on some of his life experiences. No topic was off limits, from being an altar boy to accidentally snubbing a blind man to bombing on the Muppet Show. As any collegiette knows, laughter is the best medicine, and it’s safe to say we all walked out feeling better than when we arrived.

We sat down with Armisen and Birbiglia before the show to find out more about this hilarious pair. Interestingly, neither of them planned their entrance into comedy. “I never thought of the decision to do it,” said Armisen, “I was sort of just there all of sudden.”

Birbiglia added, “It’s not a career decision people are very supportive of … It’s not a practical life decision to pursue comedy as a career, but if you have to do it long enough, it becomes a career.”

Birbiglia also acknowledged the difficulty of competing against so many people and not only making art, but also getting it out to the world, through all of the channels there are today. For Armisen, the challenge often comes in the constantly changing venues. “You have to read the room,” he said.

Collegiettes will be happy to hear that neither Armisen nor Birbiglia find comedy to be a man’s domain. “There are so many brilliant women in comedy, just endless,” said Birbiglia.

“I’m always baffled,” continued Birbiglia, “when people throw out, ‘Women aren’t funny.’ I’m just like, what world are you living in? What comedy are you watching?”

Top on their list of funny females are Sarah Silverman, Kathleen Madigan, Carrie Brownstein, Lena Dunham, Catherine O’Hara, Andrea Martin, Carol Burnett and Chelsea Peretti.

Birbiglia and Armisen agreed that the current cast of SNL is extraordinarily talented, with female comedians, such as Aidy Bryant, Abby Elliott and Cecily Strong, to name a few.

“I will always be a fan of Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig, Amy Dratch,” said Armisen.

“There’s a billion,” he continued.  

As for their upcoming projects, Armisen is working on season four of Portlandia and Birbiglia will soon be on his “Thank God for Jokes” tour.