Mike Birbiglia Was Convinced He Was Being Catfished When Taylor Swift Cast Him in ‘Anti-Hero’ Video

Comedian Mike Birbiglia has steadily climbed from playing college cafeteria gigs to comedy clubs, off-Broadway theaters, starring in films and, currently, playing Broadway with his latest one-man show, The Old Man & the Pool. But despite spinning his warm-hearted tales in TV shows, movies, his Working It Out podcast and the stage, nothing could prepare the frequent This American Life contributor for an unexpected phone call he got a few months ago from Taylor Swift.


“I’m in the ‘Anti-Hero‘ video… it’s just a fluke-y thing,” Birbiglia told Stephen Colbert on Tuesday night’s (Nov. 8) The Late Show about his stunt casting alongside fellow funny folk John Early (Search Party) and Mary Elizabeth Ellis (It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia) in the video, where they play Swift’s battling heirs. Mike and Taylor happen to share a friend in common, producer Jack Antonoff, who Birbiglia explained he met at Bonnaroo 15 years ago.

“It just so happened she was writing the music video the day that we happened to meet and we were having pizza with Jack and a bunch of folks and she thought, ‘Oh, you,'” Birbiglia said. “Apparently in her mind she thought this is the dystopoic, nightmare version of what my son would be. And that’s my dream come true.”

Birbiglia wasn’t sure his fantasy would become reality at first, though. He said he got a text from Swift a month or two later and, if he’s being honest, he was pretty sure he was being catfished. “I thought, ‘it’s either Taylor Swift… that would be cool,’ or it’s someone catfishing me who’s an excellent writer,” he recalled thinking when the call came in. “Because she sent the script to the video, that’s wonderful and very funny… so I thought, ‘either way, sort of a win-win.’ And I go, ‘count me in… either Taylor Swift or catfish person!'”

Swift notched another major career milestone this week, becoming the first artist to spend a full year at No. 1 on the Billboard Artist 100 chart.

Watch Birgiblia tell his Taylor tale on The Late Show below.

Gil Kaufman