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February 2009

February 18, 2009

Our New Show is Officially Official!

Comedy Central has finally announced that they've picked up our show. Here's the press release:


COMEDY CENTRAL® GREENLIGHTS "MICHAEL AND MICHAEL HAVE ISSUES,"
BUT WILL THE SHOW MAKE IT TO AIR BEFORE THEY KILL EACH OTHER?

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Seven Episode Series Scheduled To Premiere In July
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    NEW YORK, February 18, 2009 -- Best friends and collaborators for over 20 years, Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter finally have their own TV show on COMEDY CENTRAL.  There’s just one problem:  they are their own worst enemies.  COMEDY CENTRAL has ordered seven episodes of "Michael and Michael Have Issues," it was announced today by Lauren Corrao, president, original programming and development, COMEDY CENTRAL.  The new comedy series starring Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter is scheduled to premiere in July.
Executive produced by Black, Showalter, Jim Biederman (“Whitest Kids U Know,” “I’m With Busey”) and Lou Wallach, "Michael and Michael Have Issues" stars Black and Showalter in a new twist on narrative and sketch comedies that features the long-time comedic partners as the hosts of their own fictitious sketch show.  Sketches will be interspersed throughout the narrative thread of each episode.  Behind-the-scenes of the show-within-a-show, viewers will get a first hand look at issues, both big (in an attempt to broaden their appeal, the guys turn their show into a frat house spectacle) and small (the two Michaels fight over the approval of a teenage intern writing an article about them for his high school newspaper.) that the two misguided stars wrestle with as they confront their own issues of insecurity and jealousy as each attempts to undermine the other.  Jim Sharp and Christina Lee are the executives in charge of production for COMEDY CENTRAL.
“This new hybrid series from Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter brings their distinctive take on two comedic standards that will be an outstanding addition to COMEDY CENTRAL's line-up," said Corrao.  "I've been a big fan of both Michaels ever since working with them on the classic MTV sketch
show 'The State' and am excited to be in business with them again as they bring their dynamic relationship to life for our viewers."
”Michael and I are thrilled to be on COMEDY CENTRAL doing we what we do best – making doo-doo jokes,” said Showalter.  ”I wanted to call the show ‘Michael Showalter Sucks Starring Michael Ian Black,’” said Black.

Michael Ian Black’s career began with The State, a sketch comedy troupe he co-founded at NYU in 1988 and aired on MTV.  He co-created and starred in "Viva Variety" and "Stella" for COMEDY CENTRAL, is a frequent contributor to VH1's "I Love the…" series and also tours regularly as a stand-up comic.  Black wrote and directed the feature film, "Wedding Daze," as well as writing, "Run Fat Boy Run."  His first stand-up CD, "I Am a Wonderful Man," was released in 2007 and his first book of humorous essays, "My Custom Van (and 50 Other Mind-Blowing Essays That Will Blow Your Mind All Over Face)" came out in 2008.  He is also the author of "Chicken Cheeks," a children's book set to be released this year.
Michael Showalter was a founding member of the sketch comedy troupe, The State, which ran for three seasons on MTV.  He is a member of Stella and starred in the COMEDY CENTRAL series, along with Michael Ian Black and David Wain.  He co-wrote, co-produced and starred in the cult comedy "Wet Hot American Summer.”  He directed, wrote and starred in the IFC FiILMS romantic comedy, "The Baxter," co-starring Michelle Williams and Elizabeth Banks. He has toured the country performing stand-up comedy and his stand-up comedy record, “Sandwiches & Cats,” was released in November 2007.  He has a popular web series on Collegehumor.com called “The Michael Showalter Showalter.”  He is currently on the faculty at NYU Graduate Film School and is working on a comedic memoir for Grand Central Publishing due out this winter.

February 17, 2009

Time's Up!

Well, the "Millionth Viewer Contest" has come to end. What a smashing success it turned out to be. All told, there were 21,046 submissions (give or take). Now that the contest has concluded it's time for me to turn to the all-important work of determining a winner. The task won't be easy for a few reasons. First and foremost because there were so many compelling and innovative entries. But even more than that, because I'm not in the mood to go through them all. That fact alone is really going to slow down the process. Of course I'm kidding (the part about there being so many compelling and innovative entries).

I'm hoping to have the winning entry up and posted tomorrow. This is really exciting. I might do this every time I hit a new million views. Even better, I might start doing it every thousand. While that would certainly cut down on the novelty factor, it would be more than offset by the "this is totally annoying" factor, which would increase dramatically. But future plans are for a future time. Right now I am focusing a hundred percent of my energy on concluding this exciting contest. As I write this, my wife is making some orecchiette, which is a kind of pasta that I don't particularly like. Will there be leftovers? There very well might be. Will you, my lucky millionth visitor, receive them, congealed, in the mail? Stay tuned.

How-to-make-inexpensive-christmas-gifts-more-exciting-for-the-kids  

There's Still Time To Win An Old Sock And Other "Valuable" Prizes!

So far, there have been some excellent entries to my "Millionth Viewer Contest." In fact, as of 10:15 this morning EST, I have received over a hundred and fifty, which is over a thousand in dog entries!

If you haven’t entered yet, you have until 5:45 EST to submit your winning entry answering the question, in ten words or less: “Why are YOU my millionth visitor?”

I’m already hard at work culling through the early submissions, attempting to separate the proverbial wheat from the proverbial chaff. To allow the proverbial cream to rise to the proverbial top. To lead the proverbial horse to the proverbial water and force it to proverbial drink. Etc.

Some helpful tips for those of you still considering submitting entries.

First of all, Jesus references won’t get you very far. As a Jew, invoking the name of the false prophet Jesus Christ only infuriates me and causes my cloven feet to tingle in a most unpleasant way.

Second, reflecting my own work back to me is not going to help your cause. That’s simply recycling my jokes. And while I am, admittedly, hilarious, the effect is somewhat diminished because I’ve heard them all before.

Third, meta entries like “I can win this contest in ten words or less” leave me cold. You’re better than that. And if you’re not better than that, then there's nothing left to be done for you.

So keep those entries coming. I will announce a winner either today or tomorrow. Good luck! There’s still plenty of time to enter and still plenty of old rice to be won.


February 16, 2009

We’re Only Minutes Away And I’m Totally Changing The Contest!

We’re literally minutes away from one million page views and I am just all a-tingle. Here’s the problem: I realized today that I have no way of identifying who it is that is visiting the site, which makes figuring out who the millionth visitor is a lot harder than I originally thought. I can use my tracker to sort of see where that person is logging in from, but I have no idea who that person actually is. Does that invalidate the contest? Maybe. But I’m not in the habit of invalidating contests, just as I am not in the habit of backing down from fights.*

Picture 2
Since identifying the millionth viewer with any certainty is impossible, I’ve decided to open up the contest to all readers. Over the next twenty-four hours, in ten words or less, please tell me why YOU are the millionth visitor to my blog.  One entry per person. Winner will receive all of the aforementioned prizes plus a full reprinting of his or her winning submission under the headline “My Millionth Visitor!” If winner so desires, I will also post a photograph of his or her choosing identifying that person as my millionth visitor.

Let the millionth viewer competition writing and submitting begin!








* While it’s true that I don’t normally back down from fights, that’s just because I almost never find myself in a situation where I might be in one. The one time in recent memory when I was involved in a potential contretemps, I completely and unapologetically pussied out. In the future, if I am threatened with a fight, I will back down from that one too.

As an aside, I wrote that I was not in the habit of invalidating contests. In thinking about that, I realized that would be a hard habit to get into because once you invalidated one contest, people would be pretty reluctant to trust you to run a fair contest in the future, making it much harder to develop any sort of contest/sweepstakes invalidation habit.

February 15, 2009

Almost There!

It could be tomorrow, it could be the next day, but somebody is about to win a shitload of amazing prizes! Yes, I am about to surpass the 1,000,000 page view mark on my blog – the first time any blog has ever reached this number. Am I excited? I am. Am I expecting a call from the people at the Guiness Book of World Records? I am. Am I going to tell them to go fuck themselves because they did not recognize my previous world record for best-ever humming rendition of the 1979 Eagles song “Heartache Tonight?” I am.

Picture 1

How to commemorate such an event? With a contest, yes. But that is something I am giving to others. Surely I deserve something for myself. But what? For starters, a pat on the back. So often in life we don’t take the time to give ourselves something as simple as a “job well done, Self.” Well Self, I’m keeping a “job well done” all warmed-up and waiting to be delivered just as soon as that magic number rolls over.

Something else I’ve been waiting for a special occasion to treat myself to: a spoonful of vegan coconut gelato. When the blog hits a million, I say “to heck with my diet” and give me some yum-yums! As regular readers know, I am a staunch vegan and have been for years. Dinner tonight, for example, was couscous, white wine, prunes, green olives, and some fantastic broiled chicken. Why did I choose to commit to this lifestyle? Because I believe in the cause and because teenage girls seem to find it sexy. But I’ve had a pint of this amazing vegan coconut gelato in my freezer that I’ve been dying to eat, but I’ve been holding out for a special occasion. This might be it. One spoonful, then I’m right back on the wagon.

Another celebratory gift to myself could be this gorgeous tiger skin rug I’ve been eyeing. I know that some people probably think that a vegan shouldn’t own a tiger skin rug, and ordinarily I would agree with you except for two things: 1. I’m not eating the tiger meat. I asked and they told me the tiger was left to rot. 2. It’s really, really cool. The reason I haven’t bought the rug up until this point is because apparently there are some pretty stringent laws on the books about importing rare Bengal tiger skin rug, which translates into a substantial mark-up on the part of the dealer. In other words, Johnny Law has figured out yet another way to totally screw me. 

I was also thinking about finally telling my wife about this blog, but then I decided if I did that she might start reading it and that could cause a lot of problems around the house, so I’ve pretty much nixed that idea.

In short, I know I’m going to do something special when the Big Mil comes around, but I haven’t exactly decided what. Maybe all of it. The “job well done,” the gelato, and the rug. Or maybe I’ll just do what I always do when something positive happens, and that is pray to God to strike me dead now while my mood is good.


February 13, 2009

Utica

I’m currently in Utica, New York where I just performed for a group of students at Hamilton College. Utica is one of those upstate New York cities that is exactly what you would imagine it to be, only less. Upstate New York has undergone some difficult times in the last forty or fifty years or so. I’m not sure why. People may have just decided it sucks up here and left. Or, more likely, industry left and the people followed. So what you get is one of those cities that looks like I think all Earth cities will look about a thousand years in the future when we have finally annihilated ourselves and the only evidence left of our existence are the crumbling husks of our former civilization. That’s Utica – the city of a shitty tomorrow, today.

Actually that would be a pretty good way to draw tourists here. Rather than continually attempting to attract new industry to this impoverished area, just repackage its current decomposition as “Future City!” Most Future Cities are sparkling and clean and filled with ultra-modern whirligigs. But that’s only one version of the future. The post-apocalyptic version? The “bird flu killed everybody” version? That’s Utica! I think if you asked a hundred people which version of the future is more likely: shiny, happy people or the radioactive dystopia? Most people probably would say the latter. Because let’s face it, everybody knows our entire species is going to shit. Why not try to make a buck off that fact?

Here’s what you do. You start a whole tourist thing. “Utica: Nightmare City of the Future!!!” People show up. Everybody gets a Haz-Mat suit and a Geiger counter, which never stops pinging. You pile everybody into an old school bus tricked-out like something from “Mad Max.” Right? You put a bunch of burly guards with automatic weaponry on top of the vehicle. Maybe they have crazy tattoos and robotic laser eyes and stuff. You drive through downtown avoiding the bunch of locals you’ve hired to scurry around in the shadows acting like flesh-eating monsters (Think “I Am Legend”) Once in a while, one of the bus guards “shoots” a monster. Green radioactive monster goo splatters all over everything. Everybody screams. Just when they’re screaming, you take their photo, which you sell them to at the end of the tour. Big money maker.

As the idea catches on, you expand it a little. You open restaurants where people forage through an old 7-11. You make giant animatronic mutant worms like from that movie “Tremors.” You open a log flume and a homemade fudge shoppe. Soon, Nightmare City of the Future is a family destination. Maybe there’s a casino. Maybe there’s post-apocalyptic mini-golf. Maybe you get Kenny Loggins to do a show. The possibilities are endless. Soon people are moving here to work the tourist attractions. Soon Utica is a destination again. All because you didn’t try to fight the fact that this town has nothing to offer anybody, but rather you turn that fact to your advantage. The other option is just to blow-up the entire city. Personally, I think it’s a toss-up.

February 11, 2009

Countdown to 1,000,000 Page Views!

Yes, I’m quickly approaching the 1,000,000 page view mark on my blog. As far as I can calculate, I’m only responsible for about 600,000 of those. The impending milestone is so exciting that my hands are trembling a little as I write these words. One million. It’s a great number, possibly the best number in the numberverse. A thousand is pedestrian. A billion is esoteric. And a trillion has come to connote scandalous financial imbroglios. A million, though, still has sizzle. Yep, despite its declining value, a million’s still got the ol’ razzmatazz. And so, to honor this incredible achievement,  I am sponsoring a contest to honor and celebrate my one millionth visitor.

Picture 1

It’s just like that old grocery store scenario I used to dream about in which I was the millionth customer and I was rewarded with groceries and cars and home appliances. Never in my dream did I wonder how or why the grocery store kept such a careful count on how many customers it had. I just knew that they knew that I was the millionth, and that was good enough to cause air raid sirens to wail, balloons to drop, and a girl with a sash to plant a big wet one right on my kisser.

The difference between my contest and theirs is twofold: one, I actually do know how many people have visited my website and two, the prizes are better than groceries and cars and home appliances.

What kind of prizes are you going to win, future millionth visitor? Check these out:

• A Comedy Central Stella DVD autographed by me!

• A copy of my children’s book “Chicken Cheeks” autographed by me!

• A copy of “My Custom Van” autographed by one of my kids!

• An old sock (not autographed)!

• The rest of the rice my wife made the other day!

• Some other shit I’ve got laying around that I don’t want!

Wow!

Of course, determining who the exact one millionth visitor to my blog is won’t be easy. In fact, it’s probably not possible, even using my new CIA approved cyber-tracker. But I’m going to do my best to get as close as possible. I’ve hired some recently laid off Geek Squad technicians to monitor my computer all day, every day. This kills two birds with one stone because they are simultaneously counting my visitors and uploading every episode of “Smallville,” which one of them tells me is “the balls.” In the biz, that’s what we call a “twofer.” I’ve run the numbers and Iexpect the one millionth visitor sometime in the next week. When that moment happens, I will drop whatever I am doing at that moment (unless I am in the middle of a particularly good round of Robotron), and issue the following statement to the press:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Basic cable superstar Michael Ian Black (very famous) is proud to announce that his Webby Award winning website,* Michaelianblack.net, has just surpassed the one million page view mark! The millionth visitor was identified as (winner’s name here), an unemployed (winner's occupation) from (winner’s location). (Winner’s name) has won a trove of valuable Michael Ian Black-related prizes and a brand new 2009 BMW 328i!**

Michael Ian Black is a comedian/actor/writer/director best known for a number of short-lived, marginally successful television programs and a sock puppet that almost killed the internet.




•   Neither Michael nor his website has ever won any awards
** There’s no car

February 10, 2009

Trees = Scary

Apparently I am not the only person who is a little bit scared of trees. After Googling “fear of trees,” I discovered that dendrophobia is pretty common, although not so common that my built-in dictionary recognizes the word. Here’s why trees creep me out: I find them to be merciless, savage predators of air, light, and space. Sure they seem benign in their cheery summer frocks, but when winter comes and they are shorn of their greenery, their true appearance emerges. The appearance of the undead. Because that’s what trees are in the winter – zombies. Not quite alive, not quite dead. They are living skeletons, the kinds of things you have to roll a pretty high number on a twenty-sided die to kill in Dungeons and Dragons.

 TreeGardenA0000
                                                   (scary)

People think a fear of trees is irrational because trees can’t hurt you but lots of scary things can’t hurt you: fire, for example. (I recognize that fire is a bad example because fire can actually hurt you quite badly but I couldn’t think of anything else. Water? Same thing, I guess) Besides, trees can hurt you. For example, a tree can fall on your face. A tree can also drop an acorn up your urethra if you are standing upside down and naked. If you don’t think that would be terrible, then maybe you’re the irrational one. A tree can also house the world’s largest snake, the anaconda, which can swallow a baby. Granted, in that scenario the anaconda is probably causing more harm than the tree, but the tree is enabling the anaconda which is just as bad.

Obviously one solution for people with dendrophobia is to undergo counseling and work to resolve this fear. The other solution is to chop down trees.

Continue reading "Trees = Scary" »

February 09, 2009

My New Facebook Page

Because of my continuing battle with Facebook over the touchy subject of love, I have decided to start a new Facebook Fan Page which lets me skirt their "nobody has more than 5,000 friends" policy. Well I have more than 5,000 friends, Facebook! Just because I haven't "met" most of them doesn't mean they're not my friends. After all, what is a stranger, Facebook, other than a friend you haven't met yet? Maybe Facebook doesn't believe in the human capacity to love, but I do. And I hope you do, too. To join my new Fan Page, just click here. It will literally be the best decision you ever make.

I love you.

 

My Fantasy Video Game

I was in Williamsburg, VA the other night enjoying a curried chicken salad when I noticed a racing event being shown on the bar’s televisions. Like most people I know, I do not pay any attention to auto racing because it’s really boring to watch. And because, let’s be honest, not enough people die. But it occurred to me while watching this particular race that I bet participating in NASCAR is really fun. Like, super fun. Which made me think that there should be a video game out there where you build yourself a NASCAR career, starting at the bottom wherever those people start doing what they do – racing go-carts or something? Racing wheelchairs at old age homes? I don’t know how they start, but in my game you have to start there. At the bottom. You have to win at every level, gradually working your way up until, eventually, you ride with the best. And then you’ve got all the other stuff that goes along with it – getting sponsorship, getting a car, yelling at people, doing stuff. (I obviously have no idea what they do because my examples are “yelling at people” and “doing stuff.”.) But that’s the kind of game I would enjoy. Full immersion in the NASCAR lifestyle including having sex with bleach blonde NASCAR groupies. Does that game already exist? And if it does, please don’t send it to me because I have enough addictions already in my life. By the way, the curried chicken salad was very good.