STAND-UP TUESDAYS: Michael Ian Black


We have been saying it for weeks, but Under The Gun Review is undergoing an evolution of sorts and part of this change involves the unveiling of many new, recurring features. Today we are continuing the debut one of our most anticipated features, a weekly comedy spotlight written by the wonderfully talented Angie Frissore. Covering both known and unknown comics, Stand-up Tuesdays is your new source for all things funny.

This week, we are putting a spotlight on Michael Ian Black and his latest special, Very FamousIf you or your comedy troupe would like to be featured on Stand-Up Tuesdays, please email

If there’s any doubt in your mind about how much ass Michael Ian Black kicks, his new CD, Very Famous, should quell them instantly.  The irreverently dry and hilarious actor, comedian and director is set to release the new CD on August 9th, following the airing of the Comedy Central special on August 6th, and pays tribute to Dr. Dre’s The Chronic via the CD’s cover art.

It’s hard to say what Black is most famous for – my peers will, of course, immediately cite his work on MTV’s The State in the early 90’s, a show whose three-season run on MTV featured sketch comedy from the then-comedy troupe, which had been created by Todd Holoubeck in the late 80’s. Black then went on to perform in various television shows, including Ed, Viva Variety, Stella and Michael & Michael Have Issues.

Very Famous gives the audience exactly what one would hope for from Black.  His humor is so dry and effortless (if you’ve ever watched an episode of VH1’s I love the… then you’re more than familiar with his slightly-insane, yet absolutely hilarious commentary) that, from start to finish, it really doesn’t feel like stand-up, technically.

Black’s gift for storytelling offers a much more theatrical type of experience, as his jokes really do focus on everyday situations that relate to his life rather than simply trying to elicit laughter.  Through his vents about air travel, we’re given a hilariously entertaining idea to try the next time we fly:

“I’ve recently developed a whole new attitude about it, which has radically changed the way I approach it,” Black explains.   “I have decided that if I cannot make air travel pleasant for myself, the least I can do is make it unpleasant for somebody else.”

Black weaves his stories expertly, every so often dropping a randomly hilarious and unexpected tidbit that will leave you in stiches.

“So we go to the no-kill shelter to adopt a cat. So, we walk into the cat room – and it’s a tiny room…and it’s just filled with cats. Just cats everywhere,” he starts. “Like, you know you can’t swing a dead cat…”

And almost like a well-written book, Black manages to start his set with a point – talking about opportunities to be hilarious – and masterfully and subtlety finds his way back to that point to close out the show.


The release of Very Famous also coincides with the start of Black’s 2011 “Black is White” tour, which kicks off on August 18 in Louisville, KY. Is Black coming to your town? Most likely.

One final thing to note about the CD is that Black is an actor – and, due to this, he’s very visual. At certain points in the CD you can’t help but wish you were there, as there are parts where I, as a listener, felt left out.

Thank goodness Comedy Central has our backs – don’t miss Michael Ian Black’s Very Famous, airing Saturday, August 6th at 11:00 pm EST, and be sure to pick up the uncensored CD when it’s out on August 9th.

Written by: Angie Frissore

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