Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I Love... Michael Ian Black

When you ask a C-list celebrity out to drinks, it's probably a good idea to know what you're going to talk about beforehand.

Tonight Leah, Bob, and I went to the Michael Ian Black comedy show. Black is best known for his commentaries on the VH1 I love the ... (insert decade here) shows. He has also appeared in movies including Wet Hot American Summer. I was debating whether or not to go as I had class until 8:05 and wasn't sure if I would make it, but I decided the $3 ticket charge would be worth the risk. I did make it and Leah kindly saved me a seat up close.

Black wearing an orange sweatshirt (he obviously did his SU homework) and performed a routine he knew would go over well with college students. He joked a lot about college and sex. His show was billed as "The Awesome Life with Michael Ian Black," chronicling life as a C-list celebrity and giving audiences a peek inside the Hollywood food chain, but he did not speak on this topic and stayed away from the pop culture commentary he is so known for. Although he did reference Suri, Maddox, and Mel Gibson.

He was animated on stage and bantered back and forth with the audience, tolerating questions like, "Boxers or briefs?" and, "When was the last time you shit your pants?" in good humor.

After the show, there was a reception at the Hillel center. We decided to go and I think we were the only ones there not active in Hillel, although I am Jewish, so it's ok. He seemed bored, tired, or both. He hardly smiled, but he was amicable to everyone who asked for a picture or autograph. First Leah and I wanted his autograph, but we didn't have anything to sign. I did have a copy of Entertainment Weekly so I thought it would be kind of cute to have him sign that since it's all about popular culture and Leah had him sign a magazine that she had. I'm not exactly sure what he thought of us at that point (I can't say I'd be too impressed if I were him).

We stuck around, snacking on free food, and decided we wanted to talk to him more. We had to wait around for the undergraduate Hillel girls to ask banal questions about summer camp, and then he noticed that Leah and Bob look alike (I don't see it) and asked if they were brother and sister or dating (the answer is neither). Then I brought up the fact that we are graduate students in arts journalism and he started asking us about that and I asked him if he wanted to go for a drink with us. To my surprise (and delight), he said yes.

The Hillel president was going to escort him to the Sheraton, but he said he would walk with us there. Along the way, I started to wonder what the hell I was doing or what to say to him. I would have loved to discuss popular culture, but I could tell he didn't want to do that as he pretty much said that he doesn't care to talk about I Love the '80s or '90s.

I lost the nerve that I had in the second it took to ask him for drinks because at the bar, I was straining to come up with things to say that wouldn't make me sound like a stupid fan or an idiot. Bob pretty much saved the day, talking about movies and Halloween in Des Moines.

On TV, Black seems so funny and dynamic, but in reality he is very mellow. It might have to do with the fact that he was tired after the long drive, but I think that's just his personality. He is a normal guy, a husband and a father who takes his children trick-or-treating. Being funny is his job, but I kind of like that he wasn't putting on an act for us.

We talked a bit about journalism and he said he doesn't like to answer questions, so that made it kind of difficult to know what to say. But he is a very kind and generous person. This is all kind of blur to me now, so I'll have to think about this some more to make sense of what just happened, but it was a nice way to kick off my birthday.

Michael Ian Black, if you ever google yourself (which he claims to do quite a bit) and come across this posting, thanks for hanging out with us.

P.S. I know I'm supposed to keep this blog professional, but I can't resist, if he wasn't married, I'd totally want to marry him.


Unknown said...

OMG!!! THAT IS SO FREAKIN' COOL! I WISH I HAD GONE! (though I was so tired, I would have basically been a zombie, so maybe it's good that I didn't.)

Anonymous said...

Yeah, for real! I used to like him on "Ed," that is before the writers made him an insufferable annoyance. Damn it! I think we all know who's going to lead the "How to Be Aggressive in New York Networking Situations" session...

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