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Mike Daisey Unscripted


Kate Bolick


"I have no idea what I'm going to say to you tonight. No idea."

Mike Daisey '96 leans against a podium in the back room of the Galapagos Art Space, a converted mayonnaise factory in trendy Williamsburg, Brooklyn, that is home to regular readings and performances. The audience and performers are gathered on this Wednesday in November for an evening of tragicomic storytelling (an offshoot of Dave Eggers's popular literary journal, McSweeney's), based on the theme, "How to Win a Fight."

Daisey, the first performer, is newly transplanted to Brooklyn from Seattle, where his wildly successful one-man show, "21 Dog Years: Doing Time @ Amazon.com," earned him the laurel "First Internet Dot.Comic." Finishing his drink, he bangs the empty glass on the lectern and addresses the assembled audience. "I'm from northern, northern Maine. If you've ever been to Maine, you've never been to where I'm from."

Fort Kent, Maine, couldn't be farther away from the urban literary milieu Daisey currently calls home, but how he made it from there to here- with his one-man show due to appear in London's West End theater district this winter, then off-Broadway in the spring, and a six-figure book deal from Simon & Schuster in his back pocket- is only part of the story. The rest has to do with the mystery of how this thoughtful, serious-minded person arrived at a reputation as a comic.


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