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July 20, 2008

Boston

I’ve spent the last couple days in Boston, where I did a book signing and ate a steak. The steak was better than the book signing. They put me in a brand new Borders in the town of Wareham, which is about forty five minutes South of Boston proper. This was their Grand Opening Weekend, which was incredibly exciting, as evidenced by the tens of people in the store. There were events scheduled throughout the weekend, and I was sandwiched between a cake decorating class and a Fancy Nancy dress-up party for little girls. Later in the day I’m told some storm troopers were going to show up, although it was unclear to me whether these were going to be storm troopers from the “Star Wars” films or from the Third Reich. Either way, it sounded pretty cool.

They put me at a table in the front of the store so when people entered they could see a guy sitting by himself at a table surrounded by unsold copies of his book. This did not do much to bolster my self-confidence. On the other hand, it gave me the opportunity to practice saying, “Welcome to Borders,” which is what I anticipate myself doing in the near future if I can’t get something off the ground.

Apparently this new Borders was a “concept store.” The concept, as best as I could tell, was that it looked like every other Borders store. No, I was told when I mentioned this to the store manager, this Borders has a new color scheme and wavy book tables. Yes, wavy book tables instead of straight-edged book tables. That way, when browsing books, customers can experience the slight nausea associated with cruising on an ocean liner. When I asked if the new concept included nausea, the store manager said it did not.

I was scheduled to be there from 2:00-3:00, but the meager line of people waiting to get their books signed was pretty exhausted by 2:15, even though I wrote very long inscriptions in people’s books so I could extend the illusion of there actually being a line as much as possible. Sample inscription in a book:

“Hi, (fill in name here). Thanks so much for taking the time to come to the Borders here at Wareham today to come see me. That was really nice of you, especially considering this store is in the middle of nowhere. I hope you don’t get a disease. Your pal, Michael Ian Black”

In retrospect, I probably didn’t need to write that I hope the person doesn’t get a disease because I think it’s commonly understood most people hope the people they’re speaking with don’t get a disease. The only time to write anything about diseases at all is if you feel the opposite, in which case you might write, “I hope you do get a disease,” but that would be a horrible thing to write to somebody who just bought my book.


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Jenny

obviously your PR people aren't doing so great with the PR as there should have a line with at least 150 people, 2 clowns, a leopard and 2 people who thought this was for something else. (because those two people ALWAYS freaking do that.)

I hope the next signing goes better for you. Where is that next signing? In Tulsa. Right? Right?

Reen

Awwww Boo! No way. This is funny and sad, too. Awwwww! THe others have gone better, yes?

The next signing will go much better for you. Chicago is where all the cool people are.

Chicago loves you to small crumbly pieces, Michael. Tasty little pieces of something good, like maybe Snowcaps. My personal favorite "at the theater" treat. Yes, you are like Snowcaps to me. A delightful box of chocolate non-parasols (umbrellas).

And when I tip the Snowcaps box it makes a fun noise SHHHHHHHSSSHHH, then I fill my palm, and then tip it back up,SSSHHH SHHHHHHHHH. I do this only during the quiet parts of the movie.

What I'm trying to say is, the rest of the tour will go better. I know this because I have the eyes of Laura Mars AND Audrey Rose and a whole bunch of other scary chicks. Except Mia Farrow in Rosemarys Baby. I dont have her eyes.

Have a safe flight.

Camille

awww...Renee is right. Chicago will rock it hard.
And it's funny that Jenny mentioned Tulsa since I'm actually going there this week. Just to find your book. And go to the zoo. Mostly to take the kids to the zoo but if finding your book happens that would be groovy.
Wow,I'm wordy lately.

chris

well if you have the time, perhaps you can extend the personalizations to include quirky little sketches as well.

josh

Michael, be ready for me to geek out when I meet you tomorrow. I have been counting down the days. You are my hero.

Julie

Why can't you come to Salt Lake City? I'd definitely be out there waiting.

Susanna

Fear not, I doubt this will happen in Chicago. In fact, I predict that there will be so many people in line you won't know how to handle them all. So please put your best foot forward and be ready to entertain us all with readings and general jocularity. I can't wait to be entertained!

Severed

Bah, Boston is like an hour drive and I wouldn't drive for an hour to meet you for 5 minutes. Ten minutes, maybe. But not 5. You should of went to Worcester of something.

Ralph

Hey Michael, I am glad I could have met you this weekend. I did find it odd that you were so exposed to the entrance, and I distictly remember them mentioning the storm troopers while I watched you interact with the "crowd."

I wanted to ask you what limits you play at Foxwoods so that I could check your tables next time I was there. You live in the same county as my sister, so this makes our chances of running into each other even greater.

I am sorry I did not make more of an empression in the heat of the moment, but it was nice to meet you nonetheless. I like how real you are.

I will talk to David Wain about what we discussed.

I hope the rest of the tour goes better than crap "Boston." I told some friends in Chicago to go see you. We will see if they come through for me.

cat

Well, if you would come to Los Angles, or even San Diego...

Greg

Hello Michael. You may remember me as the only person in your line who was A) Not a twenty something female who insisted you write "I love the..." and B) Wore a t-shirt stating "Fuck you David Sedaris". Here is a brief synopsis of my successful and exciting visit to the Borders in Wareham. Due to Cape Cod traffic our ride from Boston took nearly an hour and a half. I have only two words for that and those are WORTH IT. A valet greeted us and we were treated to champagne and chocolate covered strawberries hand dipped by web-footed children from Thailand. Large velvet chairs and foot massages were provided for those of us who needed to “wait” in “line”. Michael then worked his way down the row stopping to talk with each person. At one point I remember the mother of one of the women gently crying on your shoulder as she described to you how her husband also “loved the 80’s” before his accident which landed him in a wheelchair. Finally it was my turn. Our encounter was brief. You liked my shirt and smiled warmly. My request for a picture was granted and you gently patted my ass before putting your left arm around me. A fleeting moment, captured forever and seen here http://i337.photobucket.com/albums/n400/gregaffsa/CIMG2587.jpg It was magical and disease free.

leanne

I've noticed that the Borders store around here also refuses to hype any guest authors, parks them near the door (usually behind a sign), and abandons them at a table, wavy or straight.

Did they at least give you cookies?

Jordan

Wavy tables? Nuts. Sounds like a stomach ache waiting to happen.

This makes me wish I lived somewhere exciting like Boston. People hate Buffalo for some reason.

Oh! And I bought your book yesterday and I'm already half way through - it's so hilarious I usually cannot put it down. Amazing job on an outstanding book, Michael. The last line of "Candle Shoppe" had me laughing so hard I had tears streaming down my face.

♥♥

Ryalye

I already have a disease (more than 1 actually) so you don't have to write that you hope I don't get one in my copy of your book. In fact, just some scribbles in mine will do (preferably in blue or black ink)since I'm illiterate. Thanks.

Jillian

Oh Michael! I was trying so hard to get to that signing! I looked up train/bus tickets from Portland, Maine and everything, but I didn't realize that Wareham was so far away. I really wish I had been able to get there. I would've hung out with you. You should come to Portland again! I know at least... 6 people who would be delighted to meet you- especially my friend Sam who I'm convinced is going to grow up and be the next Michael Ian Black.

Nickie

Ooh, wavy tables, how innovative. And they have such a way of making their guests feel right at home, don't they? Because I'm sure at home you sit right at the entrance of your front door. Ah, Borders...

Sorry to hear that your signing didn't go so well, but you've got plenty more coming up. And hey, at least you get more time with your fans than someone who's got lines around the block. Any consolation? Wish I could be at one of the signings.

Chuck

Michael, I'm sorry to hear about Boston. I was at the Bryant Park signing where so many excited fans showed up. New Yorkers rule.

Kate

Dear Michael,

You have no fucking idea. No. Fucking. Idea.

My friend Amy and I, thrilled at the idea of meeting you for a second time [first time in Somerville, remember our candy corn?], drove 60 miles to Nowheresville/Wareham from Boston in 100 degree weather in a car with NO air conditioning. After being stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic for about two hours we finally arrived to find that YOU WERE GONE. Fury, outrage, and disbelief are just a few words that describe our feelings at that moment. If it makes you feel better, there were a lot of people milling around who were also disappointed at having missed you. They were also kind of pissed.

I think the lesson that needs to be learned here is that, when scheduling a book signing in a town billed as the "Gateway to Cape Cod" on a Saturday during a heatwave, please allow a wide window of time to give people a chance to navigate the eternal hell that is Boston-to-Cape Cod traffic.

Oh, and in case anyone is wondering, that Fancy Nancy dress-up party thing was not a joke. We came looking for some hot Black action and instead found little girls dressed as fairy princesses. Not cool.

Jenny

You're coming to Tulsa, Camille? See Michael? Everyone is coming here, so obviously you should as well.

I haven't been to the zoo there in aaaggeess. I hope you have fun. :)

Susan Jackson

Things are different in Cincinnati, or The Nati as some like to call it. If you had a book signing here, you would see for yourself. Borders is dumb. Come to Joseph-Beth: http://www.josephbeth.com/Default.aspx?StoreId=2&TabIndex=0&Tabid=1&p=y

Brad

I am very upset to hear about your horrible Borders experience. I actually work in a Borders store and noticed about a week ago that you were scheduled to go to one of the "concept stores." Happily, I called up that Stupid (yes, it deserves a caps) store and asked if there was any way they could get one of their copies autographed for me and send it over, seeing as how I am part of the lovely Borders family.

They said no. I cried. And cried. And cried. To this day I am stuck reading my unsigned book, which is still just as funny as it would be if it were signed, but hardly a book I could find myself masturbating to. And I am sure I could get an instant bonerection if I were just able to read a personalized quip in my book.

Jessica

This is the one time I was actually excited to live in Wareham, when I found out you were coming to the new Borders! Sorry, it was such a disappointment, but unfortunately, that is Wareham-a disappointment.
However, thank you for signing my book "your my bff", for some reason the people at the Borders didn't like the fact that I just wanted to have my name rather than some kooky saying.
Hopefully, the next few signings should be in good places.

Guyinthenextcubicleover

I came, but the wavy tables made me nauseous, so I had to leave.

Kristen

Why the hell wouldn't you be at the Barnes and Noble in the heart of Boston where EVERYONE else has their book signings? Boston - College town USA, has a billion college kids that would have loved to go - and you didn't think to go to a place: 1.) IN the city, 2.) close to the T.? FIRE your PR person. NOW. Because they screwed you. BIG TIME. Sorry Muff. Next time do it at the Barnes & Nolbe in the Prudential if you want people to actually attend.

Laura

Thanks for coming all the way out to our Borders. I was there. I wondered why all the Borders employees made everyone write what they wanted you to sign on a post-it, before they even got to your table. It would have made the line last a lot longer if everyone had to spell it out for you.

I showed a friend of mine the brochure for the Borders opening weekend, and told her I was going to see someone I liked from TV. She thought it must be Clifford the Big Red Dog, who was on at 11.

Thanks again for signing my book - it's pretty good.

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