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May 2008

May 30, 2008

An Idea I Have for a Car

Have you ever been driving along in your car and thought to yourself, “How am I going to safely scratch off these scratch-off lottery tickets without stopping?” Well, I have. Many times.

Now you may think to yourself, “Hey, why does a celebrity like you need to purchase scratch-off lottery tickets in which the grand prize is less than you make for one day of work selling soda pop to Jim Gaffigan?” The answer, of course, is the publicity. Just imagine if I actually won the grand prize. The paparazzi would go papanutso! I can already imagine the photos in US Weekly:

“Lottery winner and very famous Michael Ian Black strolls through the park with a mysterious blonde on his arm.” (NOTE: the "mysterious blonde" would be a rental.)

“Scratch-off lottery player and itchy-balled comedian Michael Ian Black hams it up for the cameras at celebrity hangout Shakey’s Pizza.”

“Lucky duck Michael Ian Black prances around the streets of Hollywood with his big oversized check proclaiming him a scratch-off lottery winner while new pal Nick Lachey watches.”

All of these are great fantasy photos which any weekly tabloid would be lucky to have.

But back to my original quandary: a lot of times I’m driving along with a pile of sixty or eighty scratch-off lottery tickets to scratch off, and I have neither a free hand nor a coin with which to do so.

(Incidentally, this is also a HUGE problem every year when McDonalds has its Monopoly promotion.)

Solution: a wrong-side ridged steering wheel.

Allow me to explain. If I put serrated ridges on the backside of my steering wheel, I can scratch off the lottery ticket WHILE DRIVING THE CAR! And best of all, my hand would never have to leave the steering wheel. GPS and built-in DVD players are fine automotive accoutrements, but neither of them will help you win cash for life. This idea will.

Maybe you think, “Hey Michael Ian Black, why don’t you just scratch off your lottery tickets at the package goods store where you purchase them?” Because I don’t need every alky in my town knowing that I spend two to three hundred dollars a day on scratch-off lottery tickets. They wouldn’t understand that those tickets are an investment in my future. Instead they would just give me that look that says, “Do you know how many malt beverages I could buy with all that money?” As a matter of fact I do know, because I spend just as much on malt liquor as I do on lottery tickets. Why do I drink so much malt liquor? That should be obvious to everybody- for the street cred.

It’s possible you are now thinking to yourself, “Michael Ian Black sounds kind of skuzzy.” To that, I have no response. Especially because the place where I am usually driving to when scratching off those tickets is the dog track. When you combine the scratch-off lottery tickets, the malt liquor beverages, and the amount of time I spend at the dog track, I will readily concede that it doesn’t add up to a pretty picture.

On the other hand, maybe I could spin my somewhat debauched (but endearing) lifestyle as a Charles Bukowski kind of eccentricity. Or like a Robert Downey Jr. kind of feel good comeback story. Or maybe I can just say I’m doing research for a part - a part which, admittedly, has yet to be written.

My hope is that the patent I expect to receive for my wrong-sided ridged steering wheel will prove to be so profitable that I will be able to finally kick my scratch-off lottery ticket habit for good. Ditto for the dog track. Ditto for the malt liquor. I will replace those bad habits with better ones: healthy eating, brisk walks, and high quality opium that I will smoke from a crystal hookah.

Or maybe I will just keep doing what I’m doing because it's awesome. 

May 29, 2008

I Am Drunk On Internet Celebrity - Thanks, Reddit!

Imagine my surprise when my last posting, a tidbit about relieving stress, was linked to Reddit, which is apparently some kind of internet clearinghouse for articles about Barack Obama and photos of kitty cats. Within moments, I noticed a huge spike in traffic to my normally moribund site. People were not only reading the post, but taking the time to leave thoughtful messages like this one:

“Who the hell is this guy? Celebrity? In your own head, maybe. let me guess, headed to the gym in 26 minutes?”

And this one:

“You are easily one of the biggest hacks in the entertainment industry today.”

And this one:

“Who are you, sorry? My celebrity-meter is reading a big fat zero...”

What these people don’t realize is that OF COURSE I am a celebrity. It says so on my blog. But just because I am a celebrity (very famous) doesn’t mean I don’t have feelings. I do. And those feelings, fortunately, are usually numbed by prescription medications and acupuncture.

My blog used to be a happy place where likeminded people gathered to exchange lighthearted bonhomie. Now, with my sudden internet stardom, it has become no better than Times Square pre-Giuliani: a cesspool of boarded-up bodegas and adult novelty stores. And guess what? I like it. I like it a lot.

Yes, there will always be haters, just as there will always be panda bears (fingers crossed). But I don’t let either haters or panda bears spoil my day. Not when there is so much good to wring from having a blog as popular as mine. With all this attention, I finally know what it feels like to be Chris “Leave Brittany alone” Crocker: incredible. Internet fame is like regular fame only without all the annoying “money” and “power.”

It’s a good day to be on the internet. A very good day indeed. My ever-present security guard Major Quimby (pictured below) has asked that we beef up my security detail. I’ve told him to go ahead and do that. Not because I feel I need any extra security, but because I welcome any excuse to bring more mustachioed men in Prussian army uniforms into my entourage.

Jameshoodbysheriuncropped_2

(Major Quimby)

Some Advice on How to Deal With Stress

Life is so busy these days. Consequently, we all face stress. Even me. Yes, I’m a busy celebrity whose days are filled with glamour, but I find it’s important to take a little “me” time each day to do a little activity that anybody, even you, can afford. Daydreaming.

Daydreaming is like a little vacation in your brain, or “Braincation.” Bored at work? Take a five minute Braincation to the sandy beaches of Mexico’s Cozumel. Follow that up with a couple of real bottles of icy cold beer, and soon work won’t feel so boring.

Or maybe you’re a parent dealing with a couple excitable toddlers. Do yourself a favor: put the kids in front of the TV for a few minutes and take a Braincation to the top of a snowy mountain. Schuss down the slopes, taking the time to enjoy the view as you descend to the lodge below. Then open your eyes and chase down that Braincation with a steaming cup of Irish coffee or two. The kids will be a lot more manageable after that, believe me.

Here’s something I do when I’m feeling stressed by autograph seekers and hangers-on. I excuse myself to my hotel suite, sit cross-legged on the floor, and imagine myself floating in a hot air balloon over an African savannah. “Look down there, a pride of lions!” “And over there, a funny hippopotamus wallowing in the mud.” To augment this braincation, I like a bottle of very good champagne. The whole bottle. When I emerge from my hotel suite a few minutes later, I feel refreshed and ready to face the world.

It’s so important to take time for yourself throughout the day. If you find yourself short on time, you can skip the mental imagery and just go straight for the booze. If I’m being honest, that’s what I usually do. Who wants to see a fucking hippo, anyway?

May 28, 2008

"Iron Man" Review

Before I get to “Iron Man,” I have a question concerning the Hulk. I can accept that Bruce Banner, because of an overdose of gamma radiation, grows to gigantic, some would say hulkish proportions, when his body chemistry or adrenaline or whatever it is that activates his hulkdom kicks in. But what I can’t understand is why his pants also grow when he grows. What kind of pants are these? The only thing I can think of is that they are some sort of lycra blend like you might find at Capezio dance stores or some sort of special stretchy pants like you might find at Wal-Mart. But I don’t feel like Bruce Banner is the kind of guy who shops at either Capezio or Wal-Mart. Plus, even if they are lycra/stretchy pants, that still doesn’t explain the belt. How does his belt grow in proportion to the rest of his body? And how do his pants and belt repair themselves when he returns to his normal self? Any information on this subject would be greatly appreciated.

As for “Iron Man,” I went in with low expectations because I don’t usually enjoy superhero movies because of the logic problems. See: above inquiry about the Hulk. However, I enjoyed the last “Batman” because I enjoy “creation mythology,” and I enjoyed “Iron Man” for the same reason. I like to understand why things are the way they are – this may be because I am all Jewy and that’s what Jews do. Like Bruce Wayne, Tony Stark is an eccentric, playboy millionaire who runs an international conglomerate. Unlike Bruce Wayne, Tony Stark sports Color Me Badd facial hair. I wanted him to break out into highly choreographed dance moves throughout the film, but was disappointed at every turn. The only time he dances at all is briefly with Pepper Potts (portrayed by Mrs. Chris Martin), and the dancing was, at best, lackluster.

Now I know that Iron Man should not be judged on dance alone. But come on – there should be at least be SOME fresh Timberlakean dance moves in a film of this length. In India, they’re always breaking into song and dance, which begs the question: why does Iron Man hate Hindus?

Continue reading ""Iron Man" Review" »

May 27, 2008

My Day Today

Spent the day flying to Portland, driving four hours from Portland to Quincy WA, and then performing at the Sasquatch Festival, which is a big outdoor music festival in the middle of nowhere. A couple thoughts about Sasquatch: first of all, there was a photo in USA Today of a mother grieving for her dead child after the China earthquake a couple weeks back. At the time I thought, “That’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen.” But then today I had to go to the bathroom at Sasquatch, and I went into the Port-A-Potty. When I opened the toilet seat to urinate, I realized that THAT was the worst thing I’ve ever seen. Also, Flight of the Conchords were there performing on the main stage. You can read about my experience meeting them here. The main stage is a festival stage where thousands and thousands of people congregate to watch the biggest names in music perform: The Cure, The Flaming Lips, The Mars Volta, REM, etc. And then there was the comedy tent where a couple hundred people show up to try hear comedy over the sounds being performed by the aforementioned biggest names in music. I was up the same time that the Mars Volta was playing. Here’s what I learned about the Mars Volta during my comedy set: they are very loud and they do not care about me. If they did care about me, they would have been a little quieter because it’s very hard to do my subtle jokes about cumming guacamole with psychedelic Latin rock rattling my proverbial cage. (NOTE: I’m not sure exactly what I’m referring to when I talk about my “proverbial cage,” but it sounds good.) During my set, I did make a point, though, of reading my rejected children’s book, which you can read here. The audience there seemed to think it was terrific, and I remain convinced that my fucking idiot editor at Simon & Schuster (again, he’s not a fucking idiot – he’s a lovely man), is making a dreadful mistake by refusing to publish this book. I think he is literally throwing billions of dollars out the window. Not only in book sales, but in all the ancillary shit that comes along with writing an all-time classic in children’s literature: the merchandising, the t-shirts, the theme park attractions, the cartoons, etc. I’m not sure why my editor hates money so much. I had been reading “A Series of Letters to the First Girl I Ever Fingered” during my shows, but I have decided from now on I am going to read my rejected children’s book. Eventually, the public will be clamoring for a full, illustrated version complete with author’s photo of me splayed spread-eagle against a wall being frisked by a scantily clad female police officer. This is probably not an appropriate author’s photo for a children’s book, but I still think it would look awesome, and when push comes to shove, I am a maverick. What kind of maverick? The awesome kind. Tomorrow morning I drive the four hours back to Portland to get on a plane and return to Los Angeles, where I am living for the next few weeks as I complete work on this Comedy Central show. 

May 24, 2008

Just Read an Article About Blogging and I Have a Problem With a Blood Stain

An interesting article about blogging in today's New York Times Magazine . It recounts how one of the editors at Gawker allowed herself to be sucked into the attention whoring vortex that is blogging. I, of course, would never allow myself to fall so far. After all, I get my attention and self-esteem the old-fashioned way: by appearing on low-rated cable television programs.

On a separate note, I have a slightly embarrassing problem to deal with. At the moment I am in living in a hotel in Los Angeles. This evening after work, I brought home some food in a styrofoam container, which I then ate with my fingers while sitting in front of the TV watching a basketball game I did not care about. That is not the problem, although it is sad. The problem is that, when I got up to throw away my trash, I noticed that there was a large, blood-colored stain on the bedsheet. At first, I couldn't figure it was, but after a minute I realized that my food (some of which was red meat) somehow leaked through the container and onto the bedsheet, producing a stain that looked like the residue from some particularly unsavory sexual act. My problem is, I am very embarrassed about what the housekeeper is going to think. Normally I don't spend a lot of time worrying about that sort of thing, but this is a particularly nasty-looking stain:

Photo_123

It kind of looks like a map of Europe. I'd like to leave a note for the housekeeping staff apologizing for the stain and explaining what it is. Perhaps in my note I could mention that the stain looks like Europe and could serve as a metaphor for that continent's blood-soaked history, but I suppose that's probably taking things too far. Also, a note would probably just call further attention to something they deal with every day, and she probably wouldn't believe me, anyway. Looking at it again, I'm not even sure that I believe me.

I'm so glad I don't get rely on blogging for attention and self-esteem.

Some Stream of Conscious Thoughts About Beer Commercials

Why is it that in the world of beer commercials, beer is presented as a more precious resource than gold? Guys in beer commercials are literally willing to do anything to get a beer, and yet, for some reason, the people presented in these beer commercials, the people who are risking life and limb for a drink, are shown as normal adult men who simply happen to be beer enthusiasts. My understanding is that there is a word in the English language for people who will literally do anything for alcohol, and that word is not “enthusiast.” The lengths that people in beer commercials will go to for a can of Budweiser or Coors or whatever are ridiculous. On one commercial I’ve seen recently, a guy carpets an apartment from floor to ceiling in an effort to get a beer. Wouldn’t it be easier for him to run over to the corner market and buy himself a beer? If he’s capable of carpeting an apartment, he’s obviously a skilled tradesman. Therefore, he’s clearly got a job. Maybe he should just do the job he was hired to do, installing carpet, and then take his pay and use a small portion of it to buy a beer? Unlike oil, our beer supply is pretty much unlimited. To my knowledge, we haven’t even come close to reaching “Peak Beer.” We’re not running out of the stuff and it’s readily available in most places. People don’t need to walk across deserts for it. They don’t need to teach their dogs tricks to win it. They really don’t need to do anything except go to 7-11.  In my real life, generally a conversation about beer goes like this:

Person 1: “You want a beer?”
Person 2: “Sure.”

And then that’s pretty much it. Somebody might ask what kind of beer it is they are drinking. The other person might respond, and then that’s pretty much the end of beer talk. In a beer commercial, though, the conversation would be like this:

Person 1: “You want a beer?”
Person 2: “Oh my God – you have BEER?”
Person 1: “Yes, I do. A whole six pack.”

(Person 2 screams, faints, wakes up, faints again, wakes up again)

Person 1: “You want one?”
Person 2: “What do I have to do?”
Person 1: “You can start by impregnating my wife.”
Person 2: “No problem.”
Person 1: “You don’t understand. She has no ovaries.”
Person 2: “Then I will devote my life to creating artificial ovaries that I will implant in her. Then, because she will be too old to conceive by the time I accomplish that goal, I will create an anti-aging serum, which I will use to return her to her present age, and then I will fuck a beautiful little baby into her.” Person 1: “You do that, my friend, and you’ve got yourself a beer.”

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May 21, 2008

Encino

Here I am in Encino, California:

Photo_122

Encino is wear they make all the crappy reality shows you see on television. I’m currently hosting a show that makes fun of all those shows by basically making our own crappy reality show. The question, of course, when making a fake crappy reality show is: how do you know when you’re making fun of crap or just actually making crap? That’s the challenge we’re faced with on this production. We’ve shot two episodes so far, and the only thing I can say about it without equivocation is that the catering has been excellent. For lunch today, I had a large green salad, several shrimp, and some ceviche. That’s why I look so happy. Because I’m eating well, and because just out of frame, the wardrobe girl is giving me a hand job.

May 18, 2008

Idea for a New Invention: Aluminum Foil Underpants

Think about how great it would be to have underpants that are not only lightweight, disposable, and shiny, but also could be used in a pinch to wrap up leftovers. The obvious drawback: comfort. No doubt greater minds than mine at the Reynolds Corporation are already hard at work trying to figure out how to make aluminum foil underpants comfortable, but America has a long and storied tradition of backyard tinkerers using a little elbow grease and a whole lot of good old-fashioned American ingenuity to solve seemingly insurmountable problems. The Wright Brothers did it. So can I.

One possible solution: not caring. If I could somehow convince people that the benefits of aluminum foil underpants outweigh the detriments, then maybe they I could get them to ignore the almost certain chafing and bleeding. One drawback of this solution is that I think I would almost certainly be closing off the children’s market, since I think parents put a far higher premium on their children’s comfort than they do on their own. Getting adults to ignore their own bleeding thighs would probably be a lot easier than getting them to ignore the bleeding thighs of their precious offspring. Plus, since children would probably enjoy reflective undergarments even more than adults, it just makes good business sense to figure out how to make aluminum foil underpants so soft and comfortable, even a newborn baby could wear them.

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May 16, 2008

The Text of a Children's Book That I Wrote Which My Kids Found Hilarious, But Which My Editor at Simon & Schuster, Who is Normally a Terrific Guy, Inexplicably REJECTED Presumably Because He Hates Me.

NOTE: I have a great relationship with my children's book editor at S&S (shortand those of us in the industry use when referring to Simon & Schuster), and I mean him no disrespect when I say that he's a fucking idiot. The text you are about to read is terrific with a capital "T." I know this because my children told me so and they are both geniuses. How do I know they are geniuses? Because I am a genius and they sprang from my loins. You might argue that my logic is kind of circular here (book I wrote is genius because my kids like it and they geniuses, which I know because I, the author of the book, annointed them as such), but I don't want to get into a syllogistic* debate here. The point is, you are on MY side, and not my schmucky editor's. If you want to be on his side, go read his blog. But just know that by reading his blog, it will be exactly the same as approaching me with a fountain pen and stabbing me in the heart. But if that's what you want to do, by all means go ahead.

Continue reading "The Text of a Children's Book That I Wrote Which My Kids Found Hilarious, But Which My Editor at Simon & Schuster, Who is Normally a Terrific Guy, Inexplicably REJECTED Presumably Because He Hates Me." »