Michael Ian Black on Mardi Gras, Ambien Tweets and Meghan McCain
Michael Ian Black is an important man. Most recently, he’s the new face of Expedia—if perhaps better known for Wet Hot American Summer, Stella, and The State—and as of today, he’s got a new book to his name, dubbed You’re Not Doing It Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death and Other Humiliations, a comic look at the insecurities of adult life.
He’s also a prolific tweeter, particularly on the topic of House Hunters, which is how he landed an invite to HGTV’s Mardi Gras party last week. That’s where we ran into him, for a conversation about poker, Ambien and this great land of ours.
Is this your first Mardi Gras?
Yep, my first.
What do you think?
Um, I can see the appeal, I feel like I’m not quite getting it because last night we were partying in the French Quarter but I don’t feel like that’s really what it is. I think once you get out of that you have a more real New Orleans where people act less crazy, but still debauched. I think the debauchery is more refined there.
Have you had a chance to see other hoods? Uptown? The Garden District?
Oh, I had a chance, I opted not to. [laughs] I opted to stay in the W and in my bed, and go play poker at the Harrah’s casino across the street.
What was your impression of that place? I went in and… uh…
I’d been there and played poker there before, and I gotta say, it’s a good poker room. It’s a very good poker room. Uh, and we don’t need to get into the technicalities of why it’s a good poker room [laughs], but it’s a good poker room.
I noticed when I opened the doors it smelled like my grandfather’s pipe chest.
I was concerned it was going to be stinky, but it smelled nice in there where I was. I had a great time there. I mean, look, did I win money? Yes, so that improves the experience for me a lot. If I lost money, it would have smelled terrible. It would have smelled like my own shame and sorrow.
Which smells like what?
Mold. Just mold. A festering, deep mold. That comes out of my pores when I’m ashamed. I grow mushrooms all over my body. It’s terrible.
Best thing that you’ve seen here?
The numerous pairs of breasts that I’ve seen.
Have you done the toss-the-beads-for-breasts thing?
I was throwing my beads to the people who were less likely to get a lot of beads. You know, there was a little middle-aged Asian dude, so plaintive and sad, just staring up with those puppy dog eyes, and I’m like, “Yes, sir, here, take all my beads.”
Any Mardi Gras hangover remedies?
I don’t drink that much, so I don’t really get a hangover. It doesn’t take much for me to get drunk, and once I am, I don’t keep going. For me to be really drunk means probably three drinks.
What kind of drunk are you?
A charming, stumbly drunk.
Which is why Twitter is probably the best vehicle for you in that mode. 140 characters…
Well, I also take Ambien, and I find when you take Ambien and go on Twitter you’ll just write things that are utterly nonsensical. Poorly spelled nonsense.
How many times have you done it?
Could be a follow-up book. Taking Ambien While on Twitter.
Actually, my follow-up book is kind of like that. I’m writing a book with Meg McCain. I proposed the book to her while on Twitter. While on Ambien.
Wow. Has it been green-lit?
Oh, the first draft is already in.
Did you have an idea for the book before going on both Ambien and Twitter?
No. I just tweeted it to her… I had to remember that I had done it the previous night. Where I thought to myself, “Did I? … I’m pretty sure I asked Meghan McCain to write a book with me, and I’m pretty sure she said yes, but I’m not positive,” and it turns out that is in fact what happened after I went back to my timeline.
Does she know that’s how you did it?
She knows now. [laughs] We did a road trip this summer, West Coast to East Coast, and writing about the trip.
Is it political?
It’s very political. It’s called America, You Sexy Bitch and it’s about the current state of the nation. In a very sort of fun, irreverent way. We both make a fair amount of serious points, too.
So it’s not as far down the road as Colbert’s.
No, it’s an honest account of our cross-country road trip, and there’s funny shit that happened, and we take it seriously, too.
Where do you fall ideologically in the political spectrum?
I’m fairly liberal and getting more so as I get older.
It seems fitting that Kenny Loggins is playing in the background while we’re discussing America.
Kenny Loggins is doing the soundtrack to the movie adaptation of the book.
Yes. That’s the first thing we locked down when we were putting together the book. We were like, “We gotta get Kenny Loggins to do the soundtrack to the movie adaptation of the book we haven’t sold.”
He must’ve been on Ambien as well.
Yes, he was on something.
[Ed. Note: Kenny Loggins is not doing the soundtrack.]
- — Dan McCarthy