Veteran stand-up comedians know you never comment on your set in the middle of it. If you feel the audience isn't laughing enough, telling them a joke just died makes those who did laugh wary of laughing at the next one and looking like they are not part of the group.
Mike Birbiglia has the unfortunate habit of doing exactly that and it mars an otherwise interesting and decent independent comedy CD. It is perhaps funny the first time Birbiglia says he is the Kenny G of comedy but he hums that Kenny G tune a few too many times when he feels audience response is not good enough.
Birbiglia is an observational and autobiographical comic with a good delivery, original observations and jokes, and material that could and should have been developed a bit more. A good example is track 11 The Olive Gardener where he says my family is not real Italian but Olive Garden Italian but the just talks about his mother and father without using that interesting setup.
All in all though, Dog Years is a decent independent release comedy CD. His observations about a lack of English speakers in the service industry, funerals, going to the vet for your girlfriend when you know nothing and care nothing about her pet, drinking at the laundromat -although we really do not need to hear an intro of the guy who owns the restaurant where the comic got comped the night before, how people really feel about Alaska, panda sex, and the use of the word cracker.
So with a few reservations, one of them is the very variable sound level on the CD so you have to keep adjusting the controls (always annoying), Dog Years by Mike Birbiglia is a decent comedy CD by a stand up comic who will definitely be around for a while and will be great once he gains confidence and doesn't apologize for the audience.
Other Mike Birbiglia Reviews
My Secret Public Journal Live: Fourth stand-up comedy CD by Mike Birbiglia and I'm not a fan.
What I Should Have Said Was Nothing: Better than the CD much of the same material is on.
Sleepwalk With Me Live: Superb long form stand-up one man show.
My Girlfriend's Boyfriend: stop reading this review and go buy Birbiglia’s new special