And he is totally not a dick. In fact, he’s super nice.
I thought that everyone born after 1980 knows who Michael Ian Black is, but my friend Andres proved me wrong today (“Who?”) In case you’re one of the three people who don’t know who Michael Ian Black is, he’s a really acerbic, funny comedian/actor who’s been in stuff like Wet Hot American Summer, VH1’s I Love the… series, and only the best commercials ever:
That flat note makes me laugh as hard as it did when I first saw it twelve years ago. People cooler than myself may have first become fans of his after The State or Stella, but I’ve been a fan since his pets.com days. Yeah. I said it.
Anyway, he wrote a book called You’re Not Doing It Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death, and Other Humiliations and was at my local bookstore tonight promoting the book. I debated about whether or not I should go; while I did want to meet him, I didn’t want to miss a workout at my core class. Then I figured that I would regret not going, and that I could get away with not working out (especially since my shoulder decided to be a little bitch over the weekend and was all, “Oh hey, you thought you were getting better? Haha, NO.”)
I then tried to get people to go with me, but all the people I wanted to go with either had to work, had other obligations, were in different cities, or all of the above. I texted Tap that he should leave work early to make the trip. Tap responded that he had class and couldn’t go. “In the course of a lifetime, WHICH WILL BE THE MORE MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE?” I texted back. “Will you even REMEMBER THIS CLASS? Yeah, that’s what I thought.” Tap texted a long, fancy reply back that basically said, “Oh God, please stop talking.”
And so I was all by myself, but I wasn’t too upset with the prospect. I used to go to events by myself all the time back when I had no friends, i.e. all throughout college, grad school, and the first year and a half I lived in this city. And it seemed like good fortune was on my side; I got downtown in less than 45 minutes (which is unheard of during rush hour), the weather was gorgeous, and I had a tasty sandwich to munch on as I walked to the bookstore. After purchasing a copy, I was fortunate enough to snag a seat in the front row.
As I waited, I thought about how excited I was about meeting Michael Ian Black, but also really worried that he would retain his acerbic stage persona while meeting people. Please, don’t let him be a dick, I thought as I skimmed through the memoir (which is both hilarious and honest).
Before the sessions began, an employee explained how the signing would work and said that someone would take pictures for us. I raised my hand. “How soon will we receive the pictures?” She looked confused, and then she and other audience members kindly said, “…if you brought a camera or phone, that’s how the pictures will be taken.” Duh. So much shame.
After the initial introductions, Michael Ian Black came out to talk to us. He was very funny and self-effacing, as well as completely honest and down-to-earth, which I liked. When someone asked him if he loved his children from the moment they were born, he referred the person to Chapter 10 of his book, “I Hate My Baby” (sample sentence – “I get up to comfort my stupid baby.”) He also referred to marriage as hard work, that it isn’t “two peas in a pod” who just “hug all the time.” Instead, he likened marriage as two jigsaw pieces trying to fit over the course of a lifetime. I like that analogy.
I took a couple of pictures when the Q&A first started, but felt rude and ceased. I’m trying not to be the 21st Century Millennial who has to document everything because of the “pics or it didn’t happen” phenomena. So here’s one extremely blurry shot.
I wanted to ask a question during the session, but the only ones I could think of either had to do with his VH1 series or his pets.com commercials, and I didn’t want to be that person because I’m sure he gets those questions all the time. I’m glad I didn’t ask him about his VH1 series, because no one else did either.
Afterward, we all lined up. Since I had been seated in the front and had the wristbands for the first group, I was about the tenth person in line to meet him. As I watched him interact with other fans, my fear of his being a dick faded. He was really genuine and kind with the fans.
Then it was my turn. I don’t know if you all read my post from meeting the Oatmeal Guy from last year, but I get really awkward and nervous around anyone resembling a celebrity. And since I had been a fan of Michael Ian Black’s for years, I was even more nervous.
I just want to say right now – I’m not playing up my awkwardness or shyness for this blog. Ask any one of the people closest to me in my life, and they will tell you that I am introverted. The most common personality critiques I hear from them are, “When I first met you, you really didn’t talk. At all,” and, “I wish you would let other people see your personality the way you let us see it.”
So when I tell you I was awkward and nervous about meeting Michael Ian Black, you can rest assured that I really was.
When I went up to him, I shook his hand, which is not something I saw anyone else really do. It just felt natural to me though. I don’t quite remember my word vomit, because it was like a disembodied voice saying things I had wanted to say, but in a much more stilted and embarrassing format. I remember rambling about how my boyfriend wanted to be there but had to work. Michael Ian Black was really cool about how nervous I was, though, asking me questions about my boyfriend’s work. He kept our conversation going, even when all I could do was stand there out of shyness while silently thinking, “OH GOD WHAT AM I SAYING? WHY CAN’T I BE NORMAL FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE? GOD. PLEASE DON’T THINK I’M STUPID, MICHAEL IAN BLACK.”
I had two copies of his book to sign. I had been really nervous about asking him to sign two copies, but he said, “Oh no, it’s not a problem,” and graciously signed both.
Then I felt comfortable enough to say – “I’ve been a big fan of yours since your pets.com commercials.” He had a big, almost embarrassed smile, and said, “Thank you very much.” I thanked him for his time and left.
Here’s a picture of us. This is a rather horrid picture of me, because I was so nervous and basically forgot normal human functions, like smiling properly.
So in a nutshell – Michael Ian Black is really awesome, gracious, and is totally not a dick.