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May 07, 2009

My Comings and Goings (I Said "Comings")

Yes, my blogging has fallen off substantially in recent weeks, but that’s because Michael Showalter and I have been working our little tails off trying to get the scripts ready for “Michael and Michael Have Issues,” which we begin shooting on Monday. Finally, after many late nights and weekends (on his part. I’m out of the office every day by three), the scripts are more or less locked and ready to go.

We’re both quite excited about the new show and hope that people like it, since we’ve both pretty much worn out our good will at Comedy Central and no other network will hire me. Showalter’s got plenty of other opportunities (“The Baxter 2,” for example, entitled “Welcome Baxter: The Baxter 2”). Plus, we think the show will be good and want people to watch.

After several years, I watched a couple episodes of “Stella” on Hulu the other night and was pleasantly surprised how funny I thought they were. I also realized, seeing it again, that we were out of our fucking minds if we thought people were going to watch a show about three fey, semi-retarded, suit-wearing adult men living together in a magic vegetable-growing apartment. I used to think that America just wasn’t willing to meet us halfway; seeing it again, I think maybe they needed to travel a little further than halfway to meet us. Maybe considerably further. And frankly, understandably, they just weren’t interested in making the trip. So be it.

Oddly enough, when we were making “Stella,” we all thought “We’ve finally got our finger right on the American pulse.” Sometimes self-delusion feels an awful lot like a realistic worldview. This time around, I think we’re a little wiser about our expectations.

We’ve also started doing some press for the show, which will be dribbling out over the next few months. There have been several photo shoots, an ad campaign, and Kanye’s new album is inspired by the show, which is weird but very flattering.

Family life gets put on the back burner when you’re making a TV show, which is tough. Not so much for my kids, who are indifferent, or for my wife who said to me last night when I came home unexpectedly early, “You know, it’s nice having the house to yourself.” But for me, who misses them all very much and doesn’t necessarily enjoy spending every night alone in my tiny studio apartment watching the BBC show “MI-5” on my laptop. Although all that alone time does leave me plenty of time to Twitter.

(Yes, I recognize that I have all that alone time that could be spent blogging, but after spending the day writing jokes for the show, it’s hard to come home and write more jokes for my blog, particularly after you’re feeling bloated from eating as much Kashi GoLean Crunch as I consume.)

Anyway, just thought I’d keep my regular readers informed of my comings and goings. Hopefully in a few months, the show will be a big hit and I’ll be able to forget about all of you entirely.   


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Joseph Villagomez

Can't wait for the show! I won't wait for it to be cancelled before I watch it this time either!
I'm sad that America didn't give Stella a chance, but I can't really blame my fellow countrymen. It looked incredibly stupid based on the commercials. It was only by accident that I realized how awesome it really was (I still sing the rap from the paperboy episode occasionally)! I'm still hoping that people magically fall in love with the show again and make Comedy Central beg you guys for more episodes a la Family Guy. Though it might be taxing on you guys to have to juggle two smash hit shows at once.


Michael, Stella was the best thing that ever hit comedy central and we all know that.

Chris Cella

Listen, Michael. Stella was one of the best things to have come out television. No argument is possible.


We love you too.

mike rose

I can say with total honesty that Stella was the funniest show of all time. I've never laughed so hard and so consistently at anything ever. Perhpaps it is difficult to get a majority of Americans to relate to this premise, or perhaps Comedy Central just really fucked up with its advertisement (Dumb comedy dressed up in suits? When I heard that I actually got a visceral reaction). Either way, the cancellation could almost be viewed as a blessing (all steady work considerations aside) because the series is able to stand among those very few shows that enjoyed a completely perfect run from beginning to end. No fat.


Michael - Stella was (and is) one of my favorite shows of all time. It is fucking hilarious. The issue is that most people don't pay enough attention to the details that make the show hilarious, which is why it takes people a few episodes to 'get' what you guys are doing (it took me a few episodes as well). But seriously, the facial expressions and other details are what people miss because they aren't paying attention (or too dumb to notice) and that's what makes the show awesome. Best example off the top of my head, is when one of the girls downstairs says you're ruining her buzz and you smell like chicked nuggets, then you have a million nuggets in your pocket in the next scene. Less people get that than I expect, every time.

America's inattention to detail is also why Arrested Development got cancelled.


The "Stella" series on Comedy Central was a distinct, unusual flavor, or as they say, an acquired taste.

Some were lucky enough to love it immediately; some remembered the flavor of you guys from "The State" and were craving the rare delicacy; some were horrified at first taste and never clicked the remote back to your grinning mugs again; others who were new to you were willing to let you roll around on their tongues and really savor what you guys were trying to do (take that phrase as you will).

"Michael and Michael Have Issues" will be funny, no doubt. We'll see how many more people "get" you this time around. I wish you and Michael the best.

Christina @ WhatsInYourManPurse.com

I know what you mean. I got a new dog and I stopped blogging for about 2 weeks. Actually more than two weeks since I got other people to write for me. That's the trick. Guest bloggers.

Do you really want the American pulse? I guess that's important to being ridiculously over the top successful. But I like you just the way you are!

BTW is there really going to be a Baxter 2? I would watch it. I'd even buy it.

Oh, and Kashi Go Lean Crunch is the bomb.


Hi there, www.michaelianblack.net - da best. Keep it going! Thanks Saurooon


Stella has helped define my sense of humour and worldview - me and my brother have watched the DVD so many times over, it's almost scary.
Everybody i've made watch the show has liked it, i think the main problem was that it is a hard show to market.
Or maybe the average viewer was too passive to get Stella, but the point is, i'm so glad that you three stayed true to your comedy.


I think I freaked out my new friend Briana because i showed her the camping episode of Stella and you guys eating human flesh for some reason weirded her out?! But she's that same part of America that chose to watch a rerun of Friends instead of watching Stella. So screw her anyways!

Lord knows I totally watched all 10 episodes when they aired & bought the dvd! Whatev...


Can we please hang out? :/


yeah. i recently watched stella for the first time since seeing it on comedy central in 06 or whenever, and i was rolling on the floor... but at the same time i was like, "i can't believe they got away with this." seriously. who let you put that on the air? beautiful, beautiful show. relentlessly satirical. and i feel like the com cen people are corporate enough not to accidentally give stella a spot. i don't know. my girlfriend at the time said, "i feel like they have this inside joke and i'm being left out." i thought she was being bitchy and annoying, so i broke up with her. no, just kidding. i broke up with her because she had 17 toes. just kidding. sort of. but it's true michael, your genius show should never have made it onto cable television. i'm so glad i get to watch it though.


Stella was one of the best shows of all time, and that's completely serious. Maybe America didn't get it, but I'm a Canadian who's shown it to all my friends who now love it too.

Can't wait for the new show, but I'm honestly really hoping for it to bring back some of the Stella magic.

Here here! Har har!

harley davidson

matt, i completely agree on most of america paying very little attention to detail.
stella and arrested development are truly the same in that way and thats one of the reasons when i discovered stella (way after i had seen every episode of arrested development) i loved it so much.
but like all good things made for the intellectuals on this planet, it is not going to make as much money because intellectuals are unfortunately a minority in america.


Everything you, michael showalter, david wain or paul rudd is awesome. Stella is still one of my favorite shows (and i agree with a commenter above that the website shorts pre-tv were better, but I'm glad you guys were able to run with it on tv.)

WHAS is one of the best movie ever made. I judge the validity of friendships based on how many quotes someone can recite, or pick up on from that movie.

I'm really excited to see with you and michael are up to now, I might even get cable for it.

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