Michael Ian Black | Park West | Stand-Up | Chicago Reader

Michael Ian Black Brief Run (Theater) Critic's Choice Recommended The Short List (Theater)

When: Sat., Nov. 5 2011

I don't mean it as a dig, but it's been kind of easy to ignore Michael Ian Black. Since achieving cult-comedy fame in the early 90s, as a member of the State and then Stella, he's been an actor, writer, host, or talking head on everything all the time everywhere, including Wet Hot American Summer, Ed, Celebrity Poker Showdown, and Michael & Michael Have Issues. But it was VH1's stupidly addictive I Love the . . . series that buried me in so many Black witticisms and quirky observations that I entered a comatose state whenever his face appeared onscreen. So maybe it took a podcast to reintroduce me to how deadpan hilarious Black can be. The weekly 'cast he cohosts with former Ed castmate Tom Cavanaugh is titled Mike and Tom Eat Snacks and involves a heavy dissection of a new snack each week. That simple, sarcastic, and flat-out fucking funny show eventually nudged me into checking out Black's stand-up, recorded on two albums: 2007's I Am a Wonderful Man and the new Very Famous. The latter was spun off from a Comedy Central stand-up special, so there are physical bits on it that don't translate well to audio. But Black's irreverence, snark, and self-deprecating humor come through beautifully. His observational comedy works in story form as he moves from air travel (a meticulous description of how to be an absolute dick on a plane) to much raunchier awesomeness (a discussion of the idea that semen would be much more attractive if it was emitted as, say, Diet Dr. Pepper). —Kevin Warwick

Price: $20

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