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November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving-dinner I’ve said it before and I will say it again: Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s the only holiday we’ve got left that doesn’t involve wrapping paper, greeting cards, novelty songs, or heavily discounted automobiles. And even though Wal-Mart opens at five in the morning the day after Thanksgiving to lure desperate Christmas shoppers into its store with the promise of ninety-nine cent plasma televisions, Thanksgiving itself somehow retains its traditional low-key charm. It’s a holiday where the only thing you give is thanks and the only thing you get is the shits.

It’s a great holiday.

Americans have other feast days, of course: The Fourth of July, Super Bowl Sunday, every other day of the year. But Thanksgiving is different. For one thing, the food is better. Because it’s the kind of meal that has to be thought out beforehand. Even if you make the same thing every year, as most people do, it still requires a lot of effort and preparation. That act alone, the act of spending the day with friends and family creating a communal meal, makes Thanksgiving a great holiday. Every other holiday revolves around some other frivolous activity. On Christmas it’s opening presents. On the Fourth of July, it’s shooting Roman candles at the dog. But Thanksgiving is singular in its focus.

Personally, I am a Thanksgiving traditionalist. There are those who insist on getting creative with their Thanksgiving dinners, but I know from personal experience there are few things in life more upsetting than sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner after a brisk game of touch football on the lawn only to discover a heaping plate of fresh roasted squab. Or venison. Or grouse. Or anything that isn’t a fucking turkey. I am all for culinary excursions for three hundred and sixty four days out of the year. Not on Thanksgiving. On that Thursday I want what everybody wants: turkey, gravy, potatoes (traditional mashed or sweet), some kind of stuffing, a gloppy, disgusting green bean casserole, and endless amounts of free-flowing Dr. Pepper. (I recognize that Dr. Pepper isn’t necessarily a tradition in other people’s households, and I admit it’s not one in mine either, but I like Dr. Pepper a lot and I see no reason why I shouldn’t have as much of it as I like on Thanksgiving.)

Once you’ve got the basics down, you can get creative because Thanksgiving is the kind of holiday that has it’s traditions yes, but they are flexible enough to accommodate all Americans. For example, I know that the Italians like to add some fish into the mix. Go for it. Perhaps those of Swiss origin supplement their meal with crazy Thanksgiving fondue. Fine. The Irish, of course get hammered and beat each other senseless with the turkey carcass.

This year, my wife is making some sort of cheese/pasta/butternut squash concoction, which I have assured her sounds delicious. Now, you and I know that it sounds shitty, but that’s another great thing about Thanksgiving. Nobody notices how much of anything you eat. So I can take a spoonful of her weird-ass gratin, move it around my plate, tell her “it’s amazing,” then dump it in the trash when I go back for seconds on the marshmallow casserole. That’s a perfect example of Thanksgiving win/win.

The other aspect of Thanksgiving that is so important is the giving of thanks. Some people like to do this in a public way, maybe by going around the table and having everybody say what they are thankful for. This is a situation where, like in Texas Hold ‘Em, position is everything, You want to be first to act so that you can say, “I’m thankful for this fantastic meal prepared by our beautiful host and hostess in their exquisite home, surrounded by these wonderful people I love.”  Not only is this a gracious way to kick off the thanks portion of the evening, but you will get the added satisfaction of screwing things up for everybody else at the table, who will be undoubtedly thinking to themselves, “Fuck! That’s what I was going to say!” As you work your way around the table, people won’t want to repeat what’s already been said, so they’ll start injecting topics like politics into it and saying things like, “I’m thankful the situation in Iraq seems to have stabilized somewhat, and in the coming year I hope the troops will come home soon.” It's sort of brown-nosy, but passable. Eventually though, as you work your way to the end of the table, everything good will have already been said, so the last person will be left to say something like, “I’m thankful dragons aren’t real because that would be scary.” Horrible.

But there really is much to be thankful for this year, even though we are in the midst of global financial Armageddon and the United States will probably cease to exist as a nation state within the next twelve months. What follows is my official “What I am thankful for in ’08 list:

• Friends and family (as I said, you’ve got to start with this one. You get it out of the way straight off the top and if you keep it vague enough nobody feels slighted. When I win my Oscar next year, I plan on saying the same thing – “Thanks friends and family!”)

• A roof above my head. (Another classic, although in the next few months my adjustable rate mortgage is scheduled to go from $354 a month to $21,000 a month. On a related note, I am kicking myself for purchasing Lenny Kravitz’s old apartment, which I knew I probably couldn’t really afford on the strength of my advance from “Chicken Cheeks.”)

• My health (my hepatitis C notwithstanding)

•  David Sedaris (This might seem odd coming from his sworn enemy, but how do we know how we truly magnificent we are without knowing what we might become if we were the evil versions of ourselves? You see? Without David Sedaris fucking up all that is right in the world, I would never know the full extent of my own goodness. Ditto Tucker Max.)

• Whatever that pill is that my wife takes for her anxiety. It works for her, but it does wonders for me.

• All the good people at Comedy Central for keeping me in suspense. (Life would be so boring if they just gave you a television show. It’s a lot more exciting when they make you wait for months to let you know if you’re going to be able to feed your family the following year. Thanks guys, for keeping it fun!)

• President Obama (not because I care about his policies but because I put down a thousand dollar bet on him last year when the odds of him getting elected were still 8-1. I’m letting it ride on Palin in 2012. Go Sarah Barracuda!!!)

Finally, I’m thankful to all the regular readers of my blog. Without you, I would be like those Japanese kids who won’t come out of their rooms for years at a time. I should rephrase that: without you, I would be even more like those Japanese kids who don’t come out of their rooms for years at a time. So thanks for the support.

Have a great Thanksgiving, everybody! 

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Chelsea

and thank YOU, sir, for the constantly hilarious blog! happy thanksgiving!

Alex

I definitely second that. Spending a vast amount of time during my day reading your blog is so much more productive than actually working.

cat

Damn it Chelsea, I was going to say that. I always enjoy reading your blog Michael! Thank you for the laughs and Happy Thanksgiving to you as well.

MrFurious

You adorable, funny fuck! Coincidentally I'm just enjoying your and Ken Marino's delicious episodes from the first series of "Reaper." I sincerely hope you enjoyed working on the show even half as much as I'm enjoying watching it! A very happy Thanksgiving to you, my good man.

Reptar

Weird. I didn't know the Dr. Pepper thing could be considered ABNORMAL until you pointed it out.

I'm thankful for Dr. Pepper. Because it's either five cans per day of that, or sucking dick for the chance to lick a rusty spoon which may or may not have once been used for purposes of freebasing. And/or egg races.

Fuck egg races.

Darren

Awwwww...I knew you appreciated your blog readers...even though you've never said it before. I knew you didn't just write this blog because your management probably demanded it...thank you!

Stephanie

everyone said what i was going to say.

so what they said.

dzon

How nice to get a thoughtful, humorous, not phoned in for a change, essay on Thanksgiving. I'm sick of all the sarcastic observations concerning alcoholic uncles and funny farting grand-dads we're constantly beset with in the media. And when did "cranberries" become such an hilarious punchline? Thank you, Michael, for not cheapening your Thanksgiving message with hackneyed cliches.

P.S.
What are your thoughts on those balloon in the parade?

Susanna

I'm thankful just to hear you say you are thankful about things. :-)

Eat that turkey like nobody's watching.

Mark Garcia

Amen to the Dr pepper paragraph.

Holly

I'm breaking the rules! I'm gonna say this even if others have already! I am thankful for this blog. I have an unimaginably boring job and your funny posts really do brighten my day. Then, I forward the link to other people so they can have a good laugh too!

Happy Thanksgiving to You and Yours!!!

Stephanie

Aaah, I needed a good laugh. That was very funny. Yes, I too am thankful for this damn high-larious blog. Thanks for writing it and do come out of your room more often. ;)

AmbroseKalifornia

Happy Thanksgiving Michael, good luck with the cheese/pasta/butternut squash concoction.

For the rest of you:

http://viewmorepics.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=viewImage&friendID=76384813&albumID=625517&imageID=37462634

Yeah. Get stuffed.

Like, in a good way, though.

Jaime

can't talk . . . too verklempt . . . tears . . . laughter . . . difference? . . . thanks . . . whoo, need a minute . . .

Reen

Michael, because of you I have learned yet another new word: Hikikomori - which I believe is what you are referring to in regards to your reclusive tendencies.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hikikomori

So, my turn.

I'm thankful for the humor you spew (Bad word. Inappropriate.) out to us on a regular basis. And for those of us in the cheap seats - it's free even! Not only are your blogs endlessly entertaining, but I' figure if I keep reading, and absorbing, I'll learn about 76 new words by the months end. Forget that "word a day" junk. Those are boor-whore-whoring. I'd rather learn a word that means socially stunted freakazoid. Fantastic!

Besides your blog I'm just thankful for your jawline.

The end.

Ajax

I am a regular reader! You are the gold standard of blogg.

kwech

No end-of-post poop joke? I feel slighted.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Jesse

Awww this blog is so sweet. I'm thankful for my husband coming home from his Navy deployment and him not having to go out on another one ever again. And of course your lovely blog for keeping me company. Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Matt

The cheese/pasta/butternut squash concoction you speak of is EXACTLY what this girl I am dating (who is vegetarian) made the first time she cooked for me. Unfortunately, I couldn't just dump it in the garbage since it was just the two of us.

It wasn't bad... it just needed... something... like a meat sauce or something, I don't know.

jon rich

your blog sucks i hate u

Jenny

What a wonderful entry! I 8th? the majority of said comments above. Thank you for the wonderful, and very true, observations. Like most of this community, this blog helps keep me sane during the work week. It's been nice to just take a moment and enjoy the witty commentary from your point of view. Thanks, Michael. I hope you and your family have a fanastic, TRADITIONAL(amen, seriously) Thanksgiving.

p.s. Have your wife make the traditional (in my house) broccoli-cheese-rice concoction next time. Who the hell eats butternut squash anything anyways?

p.p.s yay for Dr. Pepper!!

p.p.s. To Ambrose: thanks for posting the Thanksgiving greeting/pic. I got a chuckle from that.

p to the 4th: Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Zane

Congrats on the purchase of the Lenny Kravitz Soho penthouse!
I hope you got it for a steal since it has been on the market forever and I hear the restrictive covenants state that you aren't allowed to ever flush the toilets or the downstairs neighbors will sue (again). I doubt that could amount to much of a problem for a family of four and besides, $15 million is sooo cheap for NYC!

Happy Thanksgiving and a huge thanks for all the funny blogs!!!

Zane

Also, minutes before reading this blog, I had torn out a recipe and picture for a butternut squash, cheesy pasta gratin thing and said to my husband, "Hey, this sounds good, should I try to make this too?", to which he replied, "No, I don't think so..."
Ha! Thanks to you both, I'm not gonna bother.

Stacey E

MMM..Dr Pepper. What's better? Mr Pibb. Although the Coke company has a communist hold on its distribution, so I will raise my glass of Dr Pepper high. Here's lookin' at you, kid.

Tee

Speaking as one who will be having a vegetarian Christmas, I have to defend the butternut squash dish.

But even though you rag on those of us enjoying a meat-free lifestyle fairly frequently, I don't hold it against you.

Cos you're pretty, funny and give good gay demon. Thanks for everything, sweetcheeks, and have a fabulous tour.

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