Mike Birbiglia Is Going to Talk an Awful Lot About Jesus in ‘The Fault in Our Stars’

Mike BirbigliaJoseph Marzullo/WENN

One of the first characters you meet in John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars is Patrick, a sanctimonious cancer survivor who leads heroine Hazel’s regular support group meetings. Always infusing the conversation with effusive expressions of pious gratitude, Patrick starts the story off as one of the protagonist and narrator’s least favorite regular contacts, used as a subject of mockery by her and her fellow attendees. But there is more to Patrick than the jokes at his expense — he’s a character with heart. Spirit. Charisma. A character that, in regards to the developing film adaptation of the novel, deserves an actor who can uphold all of these qualities, who can grate on the main character’s nerves and still earn a spot in our hearts. Ladies and gentlemen, Mike Birbiglia.

Yes, he’s known foremost for his standup comedy rather than his acting, but Birbiglia is likable, and irreparably so. It was author John Green himself who tweeted the news that Birbiglia would be joining Josh Boone’s adaptation. Adding to a résumé already consisting of Sleepwalk With Me and Your Sister’s Sister, this move is encouraging to Birbiglia fans hoping to see him break into new sorts of material and also to Fault in Our Stars fans who have high expectations for the Shailene Woodley-starring feature. Pretty much everybody wins.

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Staff editor Michael Arbeiter’s natural state of being can best be described as “mild panic attack.” His earliest memories of growing up in Queens, New York, involve nighttime conversations with a voice from his bedroom wall (the jury’s still out on what that was all about) and a love for classic television that spawned from the very first time he was allowed to watch “The Munsters.” Attending college at SUNY Binghamton, a 20-year-old Michael learned two things: that he could center his future on this love for TV and movies, and that dragons never actually existed — he was kind of late in the game on that one.