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July 13, 2009

From Today's USA Today Weekend Blog or Something

July 13, 2009

Michael Ian Black explores his 'Issues'

Shot_4_014_PRESS_7 It’s a very good week for fans of The State, the ’90s sketch show on MTV. Not only is the full series (finally!) being released on DVD Tuesday but two Statesmen, Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter, are debuting their new show, Michael and Michael Have Issues, on Comedy Central Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. ET (check out a preview below). Black and Showalter play contentious hosts of a fictional sketch show; viewers will see some sketches as well as behind-the-scenes story lines. The comedy is fueled by that tension, which frequently ends up in punches being thrown. Our copy chief (and major State fan) Jill Golden watched the first two episodes and talked with Black this morning about the new show, his issues and his plan to reinvigorate the auto industry. Click read more for the full interview.

Photos courtesy of Comedy Central

Michael & Michael Have IssuesPremieres Wed, July 15, 10:30pm / 9:30c
Preview - Greg the Intern
Joke of the DayStand-Up ComedyFree Online Games

Your new show is a show-within-a-show. It’s a similar format to The Michael Showalter Showalter. What’s so appealing about that format?
It allows us to play ourselves, which is fun and doesn’t require any great acting skills. It also allows us to do sketches, which are also fun and don’t require great acting skills.

It seems like Comedy Central is giving you a fair amount of freedom. Have they rejected anything yet?
Oh yeah, absolutely. What’s good about our relationship with them is that they trust us and like what we do and give us a little bit more rope than a big network might. We might choose to use that rope to hang ourselves, but hopefully not.

Would you say your comedy has matured since your MTV days?
No, I definitely would not say my comedy has matured. Nor would I say it has evolved. But hopefully the craft has gotten better. Meaning my sensibility is the same, but hopefully the execution of it is improving.

You and Michael have a hate-hate relationship. Do you have any good anger-management exercises?
The way I deal with any anger is to internalize it as much as possible. My understanding is that’s what doctors recommend you do. When your heart explodes when you’re 45, you don’t feel a thing. It just goes off like an M-80, and you’re done.

Do you enjoy picking fights and engaging in fisticuffs?
[Laughs.] Uh, no. Fisticuffs are something that I do not enjoy, have never enjoyed and will never enjoy.

MIB_Showalter_Issues_Sign_FL043 But there’s a fair amount in the show.
Yes, but you’ll notice that, in the first episode in particular, we engage in fisticuffs in which we never actually touch each other.

I loved that part!
It speaks volumes about who we are. [Laughs.]

So there’s a lot of bravado and none of the bruises.
There’s a lot of bark and very little bite. We are toothless.

Did you exclude your Stella co-star, David Wain, this time because your issues with him are insurmountable?
That’s exactly right. My personal issues with David extend beyond even being able to sit in a room with him.

You like starting feuds. Have you picked a new feud victim?
I think this show is my latest and greatest feud. Who better to pick a feud with than one of your best friends?

And we can all watch it — and see you win every week.
[Laughs.] Not even close! Most episodes we kinda come out even. Some episodes are little more open to interpretation as to who wins.

Conversely, do you have a bromance with anyone?
[Long pause] No. I mean, Paul Rudd, because everybody has a bromance with him. I just enjoy his characters from movies so much that I feel like we have a relationship.

Your Twitter feed is very funny. You have about 810,000 more followers than Showalter does. Any big plans for when you hit the 1,000,000 mark?
I’m gonna send a present to each one of my followers — a Mazda Miata in their choice of colors.

That’s very Oprah of you.
Except I don’t think she ever gave away a million cars. I’m gonna jump-start the entire auto industry.

That’s a good idea.
And really, really generous of me.

But that’s Mazda. What about the American car industry?
[Sighs.] I probably should send out a million American cars. All right, I do that.

Which American car is comparable to the Miata?
What do they make? Do American companies still make cars?

They might have two or three models left.
I’ll take one of those and send out a million.

Have you considered challenging somebody to a race to 1 million followers?
No, but I probably should challenge Showalter, because I know I’ll win.

Others in the 800,000 range include Joel McHale, People Magazine, Levar Burton, Jessica Simpson and Weird Al.
They’ll all beat me.

So you would only take the sure bet.
Showalter? That’s a race I’ll win. LeVar Burton, I’m not gonna beat. I’ve tried before. It didn’t happen.

What are your short-term and long-term hopes for Michael and Michael Have Issues?
Short-term is to finish. We’re done filming, but we’re not done in post-production. My long-term goal is to get picked up for a second season


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Jessica Simpson would beat you at Twitter Wars?? Oy vey. What a world.

Also, I'll be waiting for my 2010 custom-painted Chevrolet Express Passenger Van with diamond peek-a-boo side window, fiberglass appendages, and space art to roll on into my driveway any day now.... viva la auto industry, and thanks Mr. Black!!


I hope your hopes become reality. That's my hope.


That’s exactly right. My personal issues with David extend beyond even being able to sit in a room with him.

waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, this...... depressing. i didn't know.



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