Mike Daisey has been called “the master storyteller” and “one of the finest solo performers of his generation” by The New York Times for his groundbreaking monologues which weave together autobiography, gonzo journalism, and unscripted performance to tell hilarious and heartbreaking stories that cut to the bone, exposing secret histories and unexpected connections. His controversial work, The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, was recognized as one of the year’s best theater pieces by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Seattle Times, Seattle Weekly, San Jose Mercury News, and The San Francisco Bay Guardian.
This fall he will premiere All the Faces of the Moon, a 29-night epic monologue performed over an entire lunar month, at the Public Theater in New York City. That work will be available for free online for people around the world to listen and watch as the story unfolds. At more than forty hours, All the Faces of the Moon will be the largest piece of sustained theatrical narrative since the 13th century medieval mystery plays.
As a playwright, his transcript of The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs was downloaded over 100,000 times in the first week it was made available. Under a revolutionary open license it has seen more than sixty productions around the world and been translated into six languages. The first Chinese production opened last year in Beijing, and will tour to Hong Kong and Shenzhen this year.
Since his first monologue in 1997, Daisey has created over fifteen monologues, including the critically-acclaimed The Last Cargo Cult, the controversial How Theater Failed America, the twenty-four-hour feat All the Hours in the Day, the unrepeatable series All Stories Are Fiction, the four-part epic Great Men of Genius, and the international sensation 21 Dog Years.
He has performed in venues on five continents, ranging from Off-Broadway at the Public Theater to remote islands in the South Pacific, from the Sydney Opera House to an abandoned theater in post-Communist Tajikistan. He’s been a guest on Real Time with Bill Maher, the Late Show with David Letterman, a longtime host and storyteller for The Moth, as well as a commentator and contributor to The New York Times, The Guardian, Harper’s Magazine, The Daily Beast, WIRED, Vanity Fair, Slate, Salon, NPR and the BBC. In a brief, meteoric career with This American Life, his two shows are the most listened to and downloaded episodes of that program’s eighteen year history. He is currently at work on a second book, an anthology of his monologues, and he stars in the Lawrence Krauser feature Horrible Child. He has been nominated for the Outer Critics Circle Award, two Drama League Awards, and is the recipient of the Bay Area Critics Circle Award, five Seattle Times Footlight Awards, the Sloan Foundation’s Galileo Prize, and a MacDowell Fellowship.
David Miller interviews Daisey about his 24-hour monologue, The Speakeasy on OPB. (Starts at 00:23:08)