Improv theaters like the Upright Citizens Brigade and Second City have long served as proving grounds for future Saturday Night Live stars. But of course, only a few standout performers ever actually get there.
In his new movie Don't Think Twice, comedian Mike Birbiglia explores the anxiety of trying to land a life-changing TV job -- and if that's not happening, deciding when it's time to just give up on a career in comedy.
Birbiglia co-produced Don't Think Twice with This American Life host Ira Glass, who was also co-producer of Birbiglia's first film, Sleepwalk with Me. Many public radio listeners may have first heard Birbiglia's name after he started contributing to Glass's show eight years ago.
Together Birbiglia and Glass have attended dozens of screenings and done Q&A's to drum up interest in Don't Think Twice -- which has an almost perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Birbiglia wrote, directed and acts in the bittersweet indie about a close-knit improv troupe called The Commune that's faced with shifting dynamics after some of its players get noticed by scouts from a comedy show called Weekend Live. The Commune also has another problem -- they're losing their Manhattan theater space to make room for another Trump building.
Birbiglia tells KCRW's Matt Holzman about his process for creating a movie that is mostly scripted, but feels off the cuff, and how he's had to devise his own marketing and distribution plan to get the film into theaters across the country.