Yesterday I went to a movie screening of Sleepwalk with Me, and at the end there was a Q&A with the comedian, Mike Birbiglia, whose life it was based on, and I asked him how it felt, starting off in the beginning of the movie working as a bartender and taking the occasional spot on the stage – to now, watching the credits of his movie, listing all of those names under him.
What I expected was an “It feels awesome,” in his drawl. Instead, he seemed a bit surprised. He talked about directing, and harked back to his days in student government. My husband later said that I’d stumped the comedian.
When I asked the question, I guess what I meant was how exciting it was to have watched his career over the past few years, though not at the beginning, and how, once he told his own story, how he got the laughs and the appreciation and the understanding. And that’s where the success was. I was so glad to be there to cheer him on.
Like they say in the movie (more than in the book) About a Boy, no one is an island. Sometimes, things suck, and when we share the pain and find the humor, that’s when the personal and artistic success follow. All of those names on the credits were people who worked with him to make the movie. And all of us in the audience had lined up on the sidewalk, tickets in hand, eager to get into the theatre. We wanted to share it with him. It was a really awesome thing to watch.