Michael Ian Black is a 35-year-old actor and comedian originally from New Jersey. He is probably best known for his work on VH1’s “I Love the ’80’s” series, but he has also appeared in the film “Wet Hot American Summer” as well as numerous other TV shows and commercials. In one notable commercial he voiced a sock puppet.

He got his start in the comedy group “The State.” He later broke off with two other members to form the comedy troupe Stella that has produced a series of short films and a TV adaptation of their stage show.

Black is also an avid poker player. He has appeared in more episodes of Celebrity Poker Showdown than any other player. He came to UR on Friday, Feb. 2 and delivered a live comedy show to a packed audience. Beforehand, Campus Times obtained an exclusive interview.

When did you know that comedy was what you wanted to do?

I never really thought it’s what I would be doing. It’s the only thing I seem to be qualified for.

That you were funny?

Still not sure I am. But between comedy and filing papers at a law office, I prefer comedy.

What did you want to be growing up?

Probably a long haul truck driver.

Why?

The overtly phallic 18 wheelers really appealed to me. Even as a young child I felt the need to overcompensate.

What has been the best part or experience of your career?

Probably when I cured the crippled. All those crippled kids, seeing them rise out of their wheelchairs and walk, all because of my comedy. It was a highlight.

The worst?

When they fell down again.

Most challenging?

Every time you do a live comedy performance, it’s challenging… just you and a microphone, standing in front of lot of young people and trying to make them laugh. It’s a challenging profession.

How do you think of material?

I just take a lot of cough syrup? awful lot of cough syrup.

Do you have any goals for the future?

I want to become better at ping-pong. That’s my 2007 goal. Long term – probably to avoid paralysis. Those are my two main ones.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

If I’m very, very lucky, hosting some sort of late night infomercial. That’s if everything falls into place perfectly. I’d like to advertise some sort of exercise equipment, something for your butt. But I mean a very futuristic butt strengthening machine, maybe a composite aluminate alloy? if lasers could be involved, that would be great.

What’s something you want to accomplish or do before you die?

Invent a new kind of ice cream sandwich. It would be less traditional, more like an ice cream burrito.

Along the lines of Choco Tacos or something?

No, completely different. Choco Tacos are more like a candy bar. This is more like a crepe.

Any upcoming projects?

Nahh.

Next year or so?

Nahh. I’m trying to stay unemployed as long as possible. After this show I’m going into self imposed exile. In Rochester.

What appeals to you about Rochester?

Nothing. It’s not appealing. It’s punishment to myself for bad career choices.

Who is someone you admire?

Whoever invented the Slim Jim. I think they figured out a great way to combine meat byproducts and spice in a way that is appealing to everybody.

Have you ever had a joke go really wrong?

Well a couple of times I blew out some-one else’s birthday candles. I don’t think that ever goes well.

Do you get nervous before shows?

Yes.

What do you do to overcome it?

Generally I purge.

Does that help?

No, but it takes the weight off.

How did you start playing poker?

General interest in the game, further interest in money.

Favorite way to spend a day off?

Working on my cure for cancer.

How is that going?

Not very well. I really don’t know any-thing about biology or chemistry. So I would say not well at all.

Do you have any advice for college students?

Don’t worry about your grades, they don’t matter.

So what’s important about college, then?

Enjoy the free food. Get heavily into sexual experimentation. And then? you know. Join the Asian club. It’ll probably be your only opportunity.

Hass is a member of the class of 2010



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