Monkey fish sticks, retards and Canadians were on the minds of audience members at the Michael Ian Black comedy show Feb. 17. The show, put on by the UAA Concert Board, left the Wendy Williamson Auditorium audience in stitches as Black alternated between crass and dry humor.
Raised by a lesbian mother and her lover in Connecticut, Black said he hated life all the way through high school. After high school, he attended New York University, which he absolutely loved until he dropped out his sophomore year.
Black’s show-business career started with touring children’s hospitals across the country wearing a 60-pound Ninja Turtle costume.
“Apparently there’s a good number of sick children across the nation who are in need of a good scare,” he told the audience of more than 500.
Eventually, Black found himself in a sketch comedy group that grew into a show on MTV called “The State.” Following this stint he joined the NBC show “Ed,” but many recognize him as the host of “I love the ‘70s,” “I love the ‘80s” and “I love the ‘90s” on VH1.
“I’m kind of famous, but I’m not correspondingly rich, which is sort of like being a really hot nun,” Black said when he described himself to the audience.
Some audience members remember him as the voice and hand of the sock-puppet dog from the now-defunct Pets.com commercials. Black even removed his shoe, put his sock on his hand and demonstrated his puppet skills.
“He has a very dry sense of humor, but I like that,” said third-year student Emilee Monson. “I think people who can pull off a dry sense of humor have a lot more wit and a lot more tact. You’re not just going for lowbrow jokes like ‘Oh, I farted.’”
Black was witty enough to convince the audience the apocalypse is upon us because humanity conceived a method of making pizza in a toaster. All the standard methods were far too exhausting: making it from raw material, going to the pizza parlor, calling out for delivery, making a frozen one or even a microwaving a pizza. The genius of wrapping all the ingredients in a “chrysalis of deep-fried dough” and popping it in the toaster is the pinnacle of human creation, right up there with nanotechnology.
“We’ve gone too far, and now we’re all going to fucking die,” Black said.
In addition to his conversational humor, Black talked about fan comments posted on the VH1 Web site about his work with “I love the ‘90s.” One posting asked if Black had Botox injections in his forehead because it never moves. Although he never had any injections, Black said he got the surgery to hide hideous burns he received in childhood.
Toward the end of the show, Black opened the floor to the audience’s curiosity. He answered questions about his upcoming projects, random acting jobs and how much he got paid for his “I love the (insert decade here)” gigs.
“The first time I did it, it was a couple thousand dollars,” Black said. “Each time they’d call me again I’d ask for more and they haven’t turned me down yet.”
If you missed the show Feb. 17, you can catch Michael Ian Black on his upcoming show “Stella,” which is scheduled to air in June on Comedy Central.