The New One is the first Broadway production for stand-up comedian and storyteller Mike Birbiglia. The one-man show follows Birbiglia’s journey from happy childless marriage to reluctant fatherhood. Should you see it? Like the decision to become a parent or not, you’ll need to make this one for yourself. But here are five reasons we think you’ll enjoy Birbiglia’s show at the Cort Theatre.
1. You’ll laugh!
Birbiglia delivers good one-liners like “My wife and I hate going to parties, but we love driving away from parties,” and opens his monologue with some solid observational material about the nature of couches. He even did a little crowd work at our show, catching some late arrivers up on the proceedings.
2. You’ll cry!
While The New One is funny, it has a story arc in which its main character (Mike Birbiglia, portrayed by Mike Birbiglia) grows and changes. Will that story arc make you cry? We don’t know; we’ve never met you. But it’s plausible that it might. And some of the material that makes you laugh early in the show might be deployed to induce a different emotional response later in the evening.
3. You’ll get to participate in a timeless debate: Is it stand-up?
To paraphrase Mike Birbiglia’s take in a recent interview on Vulture’s Good One podcast, “It doesn’t matter.” But there’s no denying that over the past year, with the success of specials from Hannah Gadsby and Drew Michael, the press and comedy fans have spent a lot of energy scuffling over whether certain works are “stand-up” or “one-person shows.” Not that any of this is exactly new—funny people telling long stories with a serious side is a longstanding tradition. In any event, the ongoing conversation gives the show something of an additional timely hook.
4. Hey, it’s on Broadway.
Birbiglia has mentioned in other interviews that John Mulaney and his agent (Birbiglia and Mulaney share the same one) were big influences in pushing him to put this show on the City’s biggest stage. Indeed, Mulaney brought Oh, Hello to the Lyceum Theatre back in 2016, and in doing so introduced a wider audience to material that he and Nick Kroll first developed in NYC’s comedy underground (at the dearly departed Rififi). Likewise, Birbiglia’s Broadway show represents a more polished form of a confessional storytelling style you might see at The Moth and even at clubs like the Comedy Cellar, where Birbiglia has been known to perform.
5. There’s a shout-out to a major NYC attraction.
As the official guide to NYC, we celebrate any and all publicity for the City’s major attractions. In this show, Birbiglia and his wife share an emotional moment beneath the giant blue whale model in the American Museum of Natural History’s Hall of Ocean Life. Is the Hall of Ocean Life the right place for you to have a deep, affecting moment? It should certainly be a candidate. Either way, you should plan to be one of the 5 million people who check out the museum’s special exhibitions and permanent collection each year.
The New One runs at the Cort Theatre through January 20, 2019. For tickets and more info, visit thenewone.com.