new yorker festival

Mike Birbiglia Doesn’t Think ‘Just Having White Dudes’ in Comedy Is Good

Mike Birbiglia. Photo: Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Nantucket Film

Comedian Mike Birbiglia sat with Emma Allen for a conversation during the New Yorker Festival this weekend and shared how the documentary National Lampoon: Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead made him appreciate diversity in comedy even more. “It was jarringly just white dudes writing comedy in the ‘70s, like jarringly so, and it didn’t look or feel like a comedy writer’s room today to me,” he said. “’Cause you just go, ‘Well, where are the women? Where are people of color?’ Oh, they just weren’t involved with comedy writing at that time.” Birbiglia then talked about how the push toward diversity has opened the door for some great comedians, specifically mentioning Maria Bamford, Amy Poehler and Melissa Villaseñor, among others. Still, he noted, “it was disappointing to think about that there was like a whole generation of women who like weren’t invited to the comedy writing party.”

“It’s also not that funny,” he added, “that documentary, you’re like ‘oh, these people weren’t that funny, and they’re like the great, whatever, Judd, you saw that right?” Director Judd Apatow, who was also in the audience, made his feelings known. “The jokes are really awful,” he yelled from his seat, adding that there were “a lot of racist, sexist jokes that there doesn’t seem to be a point for.” Birbiglia wrapped up by pointing out, “There always is gonna be a target for jokes, jokes have targets,” before adding, “just having white dudes choose the targets of comedy all the time is not good for anyone.”

Mike Birbiglia: ‘Just Having White Dudes’ in Comedy Is Bad