Hi, I'm Michael Ian Black of The State, Stella, Ed, and Wet Hot American Summer. I also have written a couple books and hosted a couple podcasts like "How to be Amazing" and "Mike and Tom Eat Snacks." My latest is Obscure, a podcast where I read Thomas Hardy's minor classic Jude the Obscure and comment as I go. 

It's here in Apple Podcasts https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/obscure-with-michael-ian-black/id1388660385?mt=2

Comments: 227 • Responses: 66  • Date: 

cwoolysocks29 karma

When can we expect more Mike and Tom eat snacks podcasts?

michaelianblack14 karma

Hard to say. Whenever Tom gets done being The Flash or whatever it is he does.

jlgTM22 karma

Hi Magic,

You've been very vocal recently about toxic masculinity and how young boys are socialized in this country. While helping young boys express their feelings positively is an important part of this issue, what about adult men who are past that point of growing up? Is it too late? Or are there ways for grown men to overcome the way our society expects them to think and behave?

I'm glad by the way you're speaking about this issue. It's pretty important

michaelianblack43 karma

I don't know that it's ever too late for anybody, but I also don't look at the problem in terms of individuals. To me, if you want to make your life better, by all means, improve your life. But I look at this problem with masculinity in more holistic terms: how do begin a conversation about this issue in general? How do we begin to grapple with pervasive problems that exist with men and boys including gun violence, general violence, suicide, hopelessness, falling behind in education, workforce participation problems, etc. etc. etc. These are big problems with no obvious solutions. My thinking is that we're talking about a multi-generational conversation that has to begin at some point. I'm hoping we can begin that conversation now, and I'm trying to play a small part in kicking it off.

WackiestWongo18 karma

Did Tom stop being your friend when he got super more famous and richer than you?

michaelianblack25 karma

He was always more famous and richer than me. So, yes.

michaelianblack16 karma

Thanks everybody. I enjoyed answering your questions and now I wish to stop.

poppyseed33313 karma

How do you handle all the Twitter trolls who tell you to “stick to comedy”?

michaelianblack30 karma

It's such a dumb thing to say that it doesn't bother me. Also, I block a lot of people. And I refer them to my sterling NFL career.

michaelianblack12 karma

This starts in 15 minutes and I am already kind of exhausted.

EatonAintCheatin12 karma

Who smells better? Ken Marino or David Wain?

michaelianblack30 karma

No contest - Marino. Sandalwood.

michaelianblack12 karma

Alright, this is going to be super easy because not many people are asking questions which means I don't have to do much work. Which is fab-u by me. Maybe I screwed it up or something. Regardless, it is now 3:00 EDT and I am ready to take your questions.

BigRedKahuna3 karma

Real question. Any suggestions on getting started making my own podcast? My mom says I'm hilarious.

michaelianblack9 karma

Yeah. Make a podcast.

jpb1038 karma

Seeing you as Mr. Peepers exclaim "There is ghost blood in my veins!" made me laugh so hard I farted. What comedic role was the most fun for you to play?

michaelianblack17 karma

Not sure, but Mr. Peepers is really fun. "Another Period" is a great show. I don't take any credit for it; it's Natasha Legerro and Ricki Lindhome's baby. I just show up and throw on a tuxedo.

cornfrontation7 karma

Which ring was the most satisfying to win?

michaelianblack26 karma

Probably the first. Or the second. Maybe the first. But could be the second. I don't know, man. The truth is, both rings are so special. There's a reason they call it the Super Bowl - it's really super to win.

Penguin6197 karma

Hey Michael! Huge fan of your work from The State to ordering pepperoni. I know you have a dry subtle sarcastic bitchy style, but any recounts of it going too far and/or just went over someone's head that they just took it too seriously?

Any plans of bringing back the best topical podcast that is "Topics" with Showalter?

And finally, with Wet Hot American Summer being revived on Netflix, do you think there's any possibility of Stella being up on the Netflix sphere to reintroduce it to younger generation or maybe bring it back for a season or 10? Or would y'all reunite The State for a season (akin to 'W/ Bob and David')?

michaelianblack19 karma

  1. Thanks. I would never call my style "bitchy," but I guess it's not for me to say. And yes, I am constantly having to apologize for saying things that go over people's heads. It's not their fault. A lot of times, I'm just not funny.

  2. Would love to revive "Topics" at some point.

  3. I doubt it.

KulfiSmack7 karma

Hi Michael As an obscure artist who’s comedic sensibilities can be misunderstood, what was your approach to expressing yourself creatively when you were first starting out? Since the creative process requires vulnerability, it’s especially hard to continually put yourself “out there” when your thoughts seem to go under-appreciated by the middle of the bell curve.

So at the risk of asking a question that’s too personal for the internet, I guess I’m wondering where you draw your confidence from? Especially when you were younger and didn’t have much under your belt.

Sincerely, The dude that very clearly didn’t belong at your children’s book reading on Monday at Books of Wonder.

michaelianblack26 karma

I'm not confident at all. I've never been confident. I think I'm just persistent. The only thing that's changed me for over the years is that I've learned to trust that I have something to say, even if I'm not always sure what that is or how to say it. I just keep putting shit out there. Most of it doesn't stick. That's okay. I like making stuff and I like trying stuff. I would love to hit the middle of that bell curve, but I'm just never going to. I wish it were otherwise, but I've learned that I can't pander and I can't force things that aren't me.

Lindsey__6 karma

What was it like filming VH1's I Love the ... series? I always enjoyed your commentary.

michaelianblack12 karma

I basically just sat in a room and talked in front of a green screen. It was okay, I guess.

suaveitguy6 karma

How did you remember your reddit password after 5 years?

michaelianblack11 karma

T'was a lucky guess. Only took tries so I felt pretty good about it. If you need to sign in as me, my Reddit password is: Levon69

laskodi6 karma

Do you still get an occasional "Rick a dick" and if so, do you respond in kind?

NRA is a terrorist org, thanks!

michaelianblack6 karma

I do occasionally get that, and I have no idea how to respond because I forgot the song as we shot "Tim and Eric." I know there's something about a "tick tock" or a "ding dong" or a "Gimme whatcha whatcha" or something. I honestly have no idea.

tassellhoff16 karma

Any hope that there will be more Stella on the horizon?

michaelianblack25 karma

I would love to do more "Stella" but Michael and David are much busier than me. They make movies and stuff, while I mostly sit in my kitchen and tweet. You tell me who has the better life.

Airsay582595 karma

Hello! Congrats on the new podcast. Speaking of podcast... I loved MATES. You always have great chemistry with Tom. Any plan to work with him again?

michaelianblack10 karma

Tom and I will resume MATES at some point. The problem is, he plays the Flash on The Flash and so he lives in Magic City or wherever it is and I'm stuck in the wilds of Connecticut. So it's hard to get together and eat stuff.

ulurulouwho5 karma

What advice can you give an aspiring comedy writer who thinks that maybe she started too late and maybe she's not that funny?

michaelianblack13 karma

  1. There's never a too late.

  2. There is a not funny enough.

I would say if you're not funny, comedy may not be the best professional choice for you.

ulurulouwho6 karma

thank you. Follow up question, what is the least funniest career? I like to have options.

michaelianblack7 karma

Whatever I do on Twitter is probably the least funny career.

Mantisbog5 karma

Fuck it, when was the last time you had an orgasm?

How difficult was the clean up?

michaelianblack15 karma

Having one now. I've got a team who does the clean up.

beenplumb5 karma

What should I do about all these ants in my bathroom?

michaelianblack12 karma

I guess give them names?

MikeBackAtYou4 karma

Do you have a favorite line from the Stella shorts or TV show? Every now and then I'll tell someone, "I take my coffee the same way I take my women: Strong, black, and proud," and they never seem to catch the reference...

michaelianblack18 karma

I don't have favorite lines, no, but I do like that speech Rutger Hauer gives at the end of "Blade Runner." That's really good.

SweebsNJ3 karma

Hi Michael! What do you think was the funniest bit on The State?

michaelianblack5 karma

Hm... there were a lot of sketches I liked and a lot I didn't like. My preference were the weirder ones that didn't necessarily even have "jokes." More like little character pieces. I like that stuff.

Blackfrosti3 karma

Odds of a second guest grumps? That was a thing you did with 2 assholes on Youtube a while back where you played a video game for like 45 min. the show that your kid liked. You seemed like you hated it at first but warmed up to it by the end.

michaelianblack6 karma

I liked those guys but the game we played was awful. Or I was just awful at it. I would go back, sure.

ChillGuyChuck3 karma

What's the best piece of advice you've gotten that you utterly failed to follow?

michaelianblack8 karma

I wish more people gave me advice. I could use it. For whatever reason, I think people think that I know what I'm doing. I don't. Do you have advice for me that I can ignore?

suaveitguy3 karma

Do you have advice for me that I can ignore?

Fake it until you make it.

You snooze, you lose.

michaelianblack10 karma

This is really great advice. I will definitely ignore the second part because I take a nap every day.

Tyler29813 karma

When you think of God, what do you think that could be?

michaelianblack17 karma

Could be anything. A leaf on a tree, a babbling brook, the laughter of a child. But I don't think God is some old guy with a beard sitting on a throne. Does that make sense?

minipiemix3 karma

Hi Michael! My favorite all time skit is your "$240 dollars worth of pudding". Is there a skit or performance you've done that you still think back and go, YES totally nailed that one?

Have a great day!!

michaelianblack5 karma

Thanks, and no. I mean I don't really look back and, if I do, I certainly don't think I ever nailed something. In the moment, I'm just doing the best I can and when it's done, I try not to think too much about it. Just move on and try the next thing.

BigRedKahuna3 karma

I have enjoyed following your career as the inventor of the Hail-Marty in the NFL. My question is, what do you think of the NRA?

michaelianblack9 karma

Thanks for the great NFL memories. I spent 9 years in the NFL and won 2 rings.

As for the NRA, not a fan.

suaveitguy3 karma

SCTV, SNL, or Monty Python?

michaelianblack4 karma

Monty Python

sagerobison3 karma

Have you ever regretted giving vanilla ice cream a perfect 10 rating? The only time you buy it is to eat with pie or cake.

michaelianblack10 karma

This could not be more off the mark. Haagen Dazs vanilla ice cream cups are a perfectly engineered snack.

jujapee3 karma

Seen any good movies lately?

michaelianblack13 karma

I just watched "Red Sparrow," which I don't think was a very good movie but I've trying to understand why it doesn't work and kind of coming up empty. All the ingredients are there, but something about it doesn't quite congeal and I can't figure out why. It's not the fault of the story or the performances or any one thing that I can put my finger on. And it's bugging the shit out of me. I suppose I could read some film criticism of it, but I'm too susceptible to other people's opinions. I'll end up agreeing with whoever I read just because they sound smart.

LittleJoeyHodges2 karma

You’ve done a lot of different things in your career (writing, acting, standup) - is there anything you haven’t done yet that you’d like to do?

michaelianblack6 karma

I'd like to be a fitness model. I obviously have the physique. Not sure I have the swagger.

petal142 karma

Hola Senor Underpants! Will you do any work again similar to Viva Variety?

michaelianblack5 karma

Viva Variety was a fake European variety show I did in the 90's with the Reno 911 crew. It seems unlikely to me that there will ever be a call for another fake European variety show.

science_writer2 karma

Mike, recent favorite snack?

michaelianblack7 karma

I have a Rold Gold Pretzel Sticks problem. I eat a lot of them. In fact, they're on my tour rider. I have only two things on my rider: pretzels and Diet Dr. Pepper. I don't always drink the D Pep but I almost always eat at least some of the pretzels.

science_writer2 karma

Nice! Do you like the Honey Wheat Pretzel Twists - those are good.

michaelianblack10 karma

Don't even come at me with that Honey Wheat bullshit.

suaveitguy1 karma

Sour dough?

michaelianblack11 karma

I really don't want to fight with you about this. I like Rold Gold Pretzel Sticks. Also Tiny Twists. I don't need anything fancy. I like what I like.

ConfessorxXx2 karma

Is Obscure just a way for you to settle an argument with your wife?

michaelianblack10 karma

The thing is, there is no settling arguments with my wife. We will just simmer until death.

RuthlessDickTater2 karma

Hey Michael, enjoy your work. Very funny but also like to hear your thoughts on a wide range of topics - you come across as a thinker. Do you like to think about stuff?

Also - looking forward to anything this summer?

michaelianblack3 karma

I do some thinking, I guess. Mostly about stuff. As far as this summer goes, I'm looking forward to nectarines.

TooShiftyForYou2 karma

How scripted was Reno: 911 or was it mostly improv?

michaelianblack6 karma

All improv. They knew where they wanted the stories to go, but in terms of how they got there, we just made it up as we went. Very fun to shoot.

toothmang2 karma

Have you developed any more thoughts on what your ideal custom van would be like, or has it long reached perfection?

Also, what project/job brought you the most enjoyment to do?

michaelianblack8 karma

Really you can't go wrong with any airbrushed wizards, naked ladies, or dragons. As far as enjoyment goes, I know it's going to sound like I'm being insincere, but this is literally my favorite thing I've ever done.

suaveitguy2 karma

Was Letterman much of a presence to the Ed cast and crew?

michaelianblack5 karma

I think he showed up once. I wasn't there.

keilwerth2 karma

Do you have fun playing various "mad" scientists on Bill Nye's show?

michaelianblack6 karma

Yeah, but it was a lot of yelling. Anything I can do where I just kind of show up and there's cue cards for me to read and I'm wearing silly costumes and then I'm done in like an hour is a really good job.

suaveitguy2 karma

How would you describe Marc Maron's comedy?

michaelianblack15 karma


michaelianblack2 karma

heimy252 karma

Will we see more "Wet Hot" on Netflix??

michaelianblack8 karma

I have no idea, but probably not. We're too old and the shorts are too tight.

CraigKl2 karma

Will Obscure be more like Mike and Tom Eat Snacks and Topics (goofy/fun) or more like How to Be Amazing (NPRish/serous)?

michaelianblack4 karma

Obscure is mostly funny but I ain't even trying to pretend that it's going to be all funny. I ain't even going to pretend that.

GAdawg961 karma

Hey Sexy Bitch,

My family and I have occasionally seen you in our nearby Target store. How do you feel about public encounters with humans?

On a serious note, can you explain your thought evolution on the problem(s) our society face(s) in raising boys? Was there an evolution at all? Or, have you always noticed these flaws in deterring boys from expressing themselves emotionally? Thanks!

michaelianblack2 karma

I'm pretty shy so I like it best when Target customers do not say hello, although if they do, I try to be very nice about it. As for boys, it's something I'm thinking about every day, but a topic I only started looking into seriously after the Parkland shootings. I don't know if there's been an evolution so much as a gradual awareness of the ways in which I think we're failing our boys and a vocabulary for talking about them.

ndcanton1 karma

Is there any news or anything you can share on Moon Cruise? It sounds like an amazing television show from the press release back in 12/16 but we've heard nothing since then.

michaelianblack1 karma

Yes. The news is that we wrote it for TBS and they said "No thank you." So I guess it's dead.

Argot31 karma

Did Michael Pollan convince you to do LSD?

michaelianblack2 karma

No, I'd done LSD well before Michael Pollan came into my life.

milkmade1 karma

How do you propose we stop this culture of toxic masculinity? Should we mandate more social/emotional support and learning in schools? I have two sons and while I don’t worry so much about how they’ll turn out — I just worry a lot about the assholes they’ll have to deal with in school and work, etc. as they get older...

michaelianblack2 karma

I don't propose we stop it. I don't think it's possible, at least in the short term. But I do think we can work to ameliorate some of its worst effects.

suaveitguy1 karma

If you were starting today - how would you approach youtube etc... to make your mark in sketches? Would you say it is easier than ever to 'get yourself out there,' but harder than ever to get paid for it?

michaelianblack3 karma

Hard to say - I think the State would definitely have gone the YouTube route. We were doing sketch comedy for NYU audiences and doing little shows in bars. It makes so much more sense to just make stuff and throw it up on YouTube. In terms of getting paid, I think it's probably easier now to make a little money, but harder to make a lot of money. All in all, it's better now.

iller_mitch1 karma

Do comedians just gravitate towards podcasts because they need to talk, or just want exposure? Or is is some other reason entirely?

It's just seems like everyone professionally-funny has a podcast these days.

michaelianblack3 karma

All of the above. Yes, every comedian has a podcast because they're a way to do creative stuff in creative ways. We're trying to build audiences, be funny, and maybe - MAYBE - make a tiny bit of dough.

dragon32xing1 karma

Has Randall Tyree Mandersohn achieved Wholeness?

michaelianblack3 karma

Not only did he achieve wholeness, he did it while being totally blind.

suaveitguy1 karma

Ever go to see rookie improv or sketch comedy? The line between the very best and everyone else isn't very fine in my experience, it is a gaping divide.

michaelianblack2 karma

This is a tremendous observation and I thank you for using the word "gaping."

suaveitguy1 karma

Who is the best Whose Line cast member in your opinion, and why?

michaelianblack6 karma

I like that white guy. And also the black guy. And if they have women, I like them too.

RealSunglassesGuy1 karma

Can you take some of that podcast money you are raking in and use it to sort out the music rights for Ed so it can finally be released streaming or on DVD?

michaelianblack3 karma


R1ckJamesBitch1 karma

I loved The State and it was a shame to see it go. My question is, did you lose any money when I pirated it or was it just MTV?

michaelianblack1 karma

No, I didn't lose any money. I don't think MTV lost much either. I mean, it just wasn't popular enough for anybody to feel like they were getting ripped off from pirates. We were just happy people were watching it.

sagerobison1 karma

I also live in the wilds of CT. How annoying do you find the natives?

michaelianblack1 karma

Do you mean the deer? The only annoying thing about them is their turds.

mrsuns101 karma

Are you coming out your cage and thats why you're doing just fine?

michaelianblack2 karma

Nah - they just told me to type that into the text box when I registered for this and I didn't have the energy to think of anything better.

Jadjabone1 karma

I feel like I can’t get this question out of my pretty little head: Where did you and Barry get that $240

Also: One of the funnies sketches I’ve ever seen is You playing a news anchor and Michael Showalter playing a very timid weatherman. I can’t, for the life of me find it, or even remember which of your projects it is from. Can you point me in the right direction?

michaelianblack2 karma

It's from "Michael and Michael Have Issues." The sketch is called "Quiet Bob," and I have no idea where you would find it.

johhnytexas1 karma

How did you meet Simon Pegg? I really liked the movie y'all wrote "Run Fat Boy Run".

michaelianblack3 karma

I only met him on set. I had written a draft and then he did a rewrite when he attached himself to it. We met briefly in London when they were shooting. He was nice, I guess, but didn't make any special effort to be awesome. That's okay. I probably wouldn't have made the effort for me, either.

[deleted]0 karma