Despite the title of the much lamented comedy series he shared with Michael Showalter, it turns out that Michael Ian Black does not have all that many issues after all. He's just deeply strange. I caught the 40-year-old comedian — who comes to the Wilbur Theatre next week — on the phone from his home in the 'burbs of Connecticut to chat about time travel, hanging with the Situation, how incredibly un-famous he actually is, the Wet Hot American Summer prequel, road-tripping with Meghan McCain, and his one weakness.
“When you’re onstage doing stand-up, you’re literally impervious to bullets. . . . In addition, stabbings don’t have any effect.”
HOW DO YOU LIKE DOING STAND-UP IN COMPARISON TO SKETCH COMEDY?I don't know that I prefer one over the other but its def a lot of fun to do It's definitely a lot of fun to do stand-up because I'm not beholden to other people on the stage, so if I decide to veer off on a tangent, I don't have other people looking at me like "What the fuck are you doing?"
AND NOBODY CAN STOP YOU.Literally nobody can stop me. Even if the police wanted to they couldn't stop me. Even if they used guns on me they couldn't stop me.
YOU'RE IMPERVIOUS TO BULLETS? I THINK THAT'S SOMETHING THAT THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T KNOW. Yes, when you're onstage doing stand-up, you're literally impervious to bullets. I think that this comes as a surprise to people when you tell them that. In addition, stabbings don't have any effect.
IS IT ANY KIND OF WEAPONRY OR ATTACK, THEN? BOMBS?Bombs would be fine. The only thing that can get through would be Chinese throwing stars.
THAT IS DEFINITELY SOMETHING PEOPLE DON'T KNOW. I'M NOT SURE IF YOU EVEN WANT THAT PRINTED. Yeah, I don't know if you want to print that or not,. But I have a special Chinese throwing star vest I wear.
OH, WELL THEN YOU'RE OK. Yeah, I'll be fine.
YOUR NEW COMEDY CENTRAL SPECIAL IS CALLED "VERY FAMOUS." I WAS GOOGLING FAMOUS MICHAELS EARLIER AND IT TURNS OUT THERE ARE QUITE A LOT OF YOU.Sure. Michael Fassbender comes to mind.
MICHAEL BOLTON Okay, yeah.
ON A LIST OF ALL THE FAMOUS MICHAELS IN THE WORLD, WHERE WOULD YOU FALL? Uh, I would say I'm just above Michael Fassbender and just below everybody else.
ALL OF THEM? [laughs] Pretty much,
WELL, AT LEAST YOU MAKE THE LIST, RIGHT? Well, I'll leave it to you to make the list because I think you're probably right, there are probably a lot. There's Michael Tyson, the boxer.
MICHAEL DOUGLAS. Um, well there are two Michael Douglases. One is a talk show host, he also went by Mike.
DO YOU EVER GO BY MIKE? Rarely, very rarely. On my podcast I do. I have a podcast called "Mike and Tom Eat Snacks." And I go by Mike for that.
YOU DON'T REALLY SEEM LIKE A MIKE. No, I'm not. But for the purposes of snacking, I can be.
I READ THAT MICHAEL IAN BLACK ISN'T YOUR REAL NAME. YOU CHANGED YOUR NAME? I did. it was Schwartz.
WHY DID YOU CHANGE IT? To make it sound snappier. And less Jewy. I didn't want to sound all Jewy all the time.