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The New One Review
Is there anyone out there in either the comedy world or the theatrical scene capable of delivering more laughs per minute than Mike Birbiglia? I don’t think so. And in the case of his hilarious solo show, “The New One,” now at the Cort Theatre, “delivering” is the key word. As one might have guessed, the ultimate focus of this rollicking 80-minute diversion, seamlessly directed by Seth Barrish, is Birbiglia’s not completely willing entry into parenthood. 

While “The New One” marks Birbiglia’s Broadway debut; it has much in common with his previous Off-Broadway works. (Indeed, “The New One” debuted earlier this year at the Cherry Lane.) As in his other solo shows, one isn’t entirely sure from the beginning what “The New One” is actually going to be about. Birbiglia spends the earliest sections of the show ruminating on the importance of the family couch, recounting his reactions to his visit with his “loser” brother (not coincidentally, a parent of two kids) and freely expressing his general dislike of children (especially on airplanes).

But it doesn’t take long for us to catch on where this story will end up. First, Birbiglia outlines – in often side-splitting detail – his seven reasons why he shouldn’t be conceiving a child (which include some rather unusual medical conditions), followed by an even more graphic, yet wonderfully self-effacing section about his sperm’s failure to swim and the rather gruesome-sounding corrective measure needed to reverse course. 

Here, as has always been true when watching this singular comic performer, one has to admire Birbiglia’s willingness to expose his shortcomings (not physically, of course), discuss his most embarrassing moments, make self-deprecating comments about his looks and behavior, and, above all, espouse his very singular views on life.

Most of all, one is struck by Birbiglia’s overwhelming love for his wife Jen (whom, for some reasons he may have once explained, he calls Clo), which is why he agrees to go on this life-changing journey. He helps Clo satisfy her food cravings, goes to holistic birthing classes, and – once their daughter has arrived -- he eventually agrees to sleep separately to protect them from his sleepwalking disorder.

But as much as he loves his wife and daughter, Birbiglia expresses some regrets about his newfound place in the family order -- using a few decidedly unpopular words that not every audience will find to be a laughing matter.

Still, for all its belly laughs and whip-smart observations, “The New One” is essentially an age-old story about how a man can not only change his mind, but his life.

By Brian Scott Lipton

Mike Birbiglia

Open/Close Dates
Opening 11/11/2018
Closing 1/20/2019

Preview Open/ Preview Close Dates
Preview Opening 10/25/2018
Closing Open-ended

Box Office

Theatre Info
Cort Theatre
138 West 48th Street
New York, NY 10036