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Michael Ian Black (born Michael Ian Schwartz; August 12, 1971) is an American comedian, actor, writer, and director. He has starred in several TV comedy series, including The State, Ed, Viva Variety, Stella, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, and Michael & Michael Have Issues. He is also a poker player, appearing on Celebrity Poker Showdown several times. He released his first children's book, Chicken Cheeks, in 2009, and has since released six more, in addition to four books for adults.

Early life

Black was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Jill and Robert Schwartz, a store owner and an executive, respectively.[1] He grew up in Hillsborough Township, New Jersey,[2] where he attended Hillsborough High School. His parents divorced when he was three years old. His mother, Jill, came out as a lesbian.[3] When he was twelve, his father had neurological surgery following a mysterious assault. Days after being released from the hospital he was re-admitted for an infection and died as a result of an allergic reaction to an administered medication. His birth name, Schwartz, is derived from the German word "schwarz," which has the same meaning as his stage name, Black. Schwartz changed his name to Michael Ian Black to avoid confusion with the actor Mike Schwartz.[4]

Black attended Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Training Center in New York and Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, but later dropped out.



Black is known for appearing on VH1's I Love the... series, his Stella comedy troupe, and a variety of other TV series and films. He was also the voice actor behind the sock puppet, was featured in commercials for Sierra Mist, hosted the first season of NBC's hidden-camera show Spy TV, made several appearances in the film Big Helium Dog, and had a supporting role on the NBC dramedy Ed.

He began his career as a member of the comedy group The State and was featured on the television show by the same name on MTV. He continued working with members of that group on the show Viva Variety in the role of "Johnny Bluejeans", and in the film Wet Hot American Summer. His dry, sarcastically irreverent commentary on pop culture artifacts on VH1's "I Love the 70s/80s/90s/New Millennium" series has added to his and the shows' popularity. Black has stated several times on the show that he feels as if he is "doomed to an eternity of doing the 'I Love the...' series". He also makes fun of himself for being a Jewish-American and sarcastically enforcing Jewish stereotypes.

Black is a poker enthusiast and appeared in five episodes of Celebrity Poker Showdown beginning in 2003, playing for the Endeavor House charity. In 2004 and 2006 he played for the charity MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. In 2006, he came in third (receiving $100,000 for his charity). Black was praised for his humor and his skilled poker play by Dave Foley, host of Celebrity Poker Showdown, and by poker experts Phil Gordon and Phil Hellmuth.[5][6]

In the latter part of 2004, he acted as guest-host of CBS's The Late Late Show while auditioning for the permanent hosting role. He was a finalist for the position, although the job eventually went to Craig Ferguson. He is also an occasional contributor to the online edition of McSweeney's, where he writes a column titled "Michael Ian Black Is a Very Famous Celebrity".[7]

Black, along with fellow State members Michael Showalter and David Wain, co-starred in and co-wrote the Comedy Central series Stella, a television adaptation of their popular stage show. The ten-episode first season debuted in June 2005 and was not renewed for a second season.

Black wrote the screenplays for two feature film comedies —Wedding Daze (2006) and Run, Fat Boy, Run (2007, co-written with leading actor Simon Pegg).[8] Black also directed Wedding Daze which stars Jason Biggs, Joe Pantoliano, and Isla Fisher.[9]

Black also has some minor screen credits. He appeared twice on the Adult Swim show, Tom Goes to the Mayor, and was a guest voice on Seth Green's stop-motion show Robot Chicken, and later did a bit for "Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!". He appeared on the Comedy Central shows Crank Yankers and Reno 911!. He had a cameo in David Wain's 2007 film, The Ten as a prison guard. In September 2007, he released his first stand-up comedy album, I Am a Wonderful Man. In addition, he starred on the TV series Reaper as a gay demon trying to destroy the devil through acts of kindness.[10] In 2008, Black published a book titled My Custom Van ... And 50 Other Mind-Blowing Essays That Will Blow Your Mind All Over Your Face. Also in 2008, he hosted Reality Bites Back, a scripted reality show on Comedy Central.

Black then developed another show for Comedy Central titled Michael Ian Black Doesn't Understand.[11] The concept was later retooled as Michael & Michael Have Issues; a pilot episode, featuring Michael Showalter, was shot in August 2008.[12] Comedy Central confirmed in February 2009 that a seven-episode run of the show would air in July.[13]

His first children's book, Chicken Cheeks, was published by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing on January 6, 2009. The book is illustrated by Kevin Hawkes. In a starred review, Kirkus called the book "a perfect collaboration of text and illustration." An alternative review was aired on the Michael Showalter Showalter.[14]

Black appeared in several Sierra Mist and[15][16][17]Klondike commercials,[18] as well as an eBay commercial with Showalter.[19]

On February 21, 2009, Black instigated a "Celeb-Feud" — or as he called it, the "World's First Twitter War" — with LeVar Burton to see if he can muster more followers than Burton on the popular networking site Twitter. Black dubbed the feud "LeWar."[20]


In 2010, he started a podcast, Mike and Tom Eat Snacks with his former Ed castmate Tom Cavanagh.[21]

Black co-wrote the book America, You Sexy Bitch: A Love Letter to Freedom with Meghan McCain, which was released to the public June 2012. The two took a road trip across America during the summer of 2011 during which they documented how Americans were living.[22][23]

In 2012 he starred as the host, Bill Tundle, in the web series Burning Love, a spoof of the TV series The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. In 2012 he co-hosted G4 TV with Candace Bailey. He has occasionally appeared as a guest on Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld. He stars in Adult Swim's late night infomercial parody, You're Whole, as Randall Tyree Mandersohn. After a guest appearance in the pilot, it was announced in 2013 that Black would join the FOX comedy Us & Them in a regular role.[24]

In 2013, he and Michael Showalter launched a podcast called Topics in which the duo discuss evergreen topics in a serious manner, although if something funny comes up, it's okay.[25]

Alongside Jason Ritter, Alexis Bledel, and Kerri Kenney, Black appeared in the unaired 2013 Fox sitcom Us & Them, a 13-episode US adaptation of the hit UK sitcom Gavin & Stacey, which was canceled while the 7th episode was in production. Fox decided to not air any of the episodes. Black played the role of Brian.

He co-hosted the single-season 2013 gameshow Trust Me, I'm a Game Show Host alongside D.L. Hughley,[26] He was also a co-host on Duck Quacks Don't Echo,[27] and one of the guest stars on the short-lived Steve Carell 2014 improv sketch show Riot.[28][29][30]

On June 11, 2014, he appeared on Ken Reid's TV Guidance Counselor Podcast.

Black currently plays Peepers, an uptight butler, on the 2015 Comedy Central series Another Period. He also plays the role of Daniel on the 2015 TVLand series, The Jim Gaffigan Show, as well as McKinley in the prequel to 2001's Wet Hot American Summer, entitled Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, premiering July 31, 2015, on Netflix.

Black currently hosts How to Be Amazing, an in-depth interview podcast show, produced by Michael Ian Black, Jennifer Brennan and Mary Shimkin. It's recorded at Argot Studios in New York City. [31]

Black appears in Smosh: The Movie as Steve YouTube, the germophobic creator and CEO of YouTube. The movie premiered on July 24, 2015, at VidCon 2015 in Los Angeles, California.

On December 16, 2016, it was announced that Black is creating a TV series, Moon Cruise, for TBS.[32]

Personal life

Black married Martha Anne Hagen in 1998,[33] and they have two children,[34][35] Elijah, and Ruthie.[36][37] They reside in Redding, Connecticut.[34][35][38]

Black is an atheist.[39][40]



  • Comedy For Gracious Living by The State (recorded 1996, released 2010)
  • I am a Wonderful Man (2007)
  • Very Famous (2011)
  • "Noted Expert" (2016)


  • My Custom Van: And 50 Other Mind-Blowing Essays that Will Blow Your Mind All Over Your Face (2008)
  • You're Not Doing It Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death, and Other Humiliations (2012)
  • America, You Sexy Bitch: A Love Letter to Freedom by Michael Ian Black and Meghan McCain (2012)
  • Navel Gazing: True Tales of Bodies, Mostly Mine (but also my mom's, which I know sounds weird) (2016)

Children's books

  • Chicken Cheeks (2009)
  • The Purple Kangaroo (2009)
  • A Pig Parade Is a Terrible Idea (2011)
  • I'm Bored (2012)
  • Naked! (2014)
  • Cock-a-Doodle-Doo-Bop! (2015)
  • A Child's First Book of Trump (2016) ISBN 978-1481488006



Year Title Role Notes
1991 Cults: Saying No Under Pressure Male student Documentary
1998–2002 Stella shorts Michael 27 short films
1999 Big Helium Dog Martin Huber
2000 The Bogus Witch Project Stephen Hawking
2001 Wet Hot American Summer McKinley
2005 The Baxter Ed
2005 Alchemy Jerry (voice)
2005 Partner(s) Christopher
2006 Wedding Daze Writer, director
2007 Run, Fatboy, Run Writer
2007 The Ten Prison Guard Jamberg Saivon
2007 Reno 911!: Miami Ron of Ron's Tattoo
2011 Take Me Home Tonight Pete Bering
2012 Wanderlust Himself
2012 This Is 40 Accountant
2013 Hell Baby Dr. Marshall
2014 They Came Together Trevor
2015 Smosh: The Movie Steve YouTube
2016 Slash Denis
2016 Folk Hero & Funny Guy Randy


Year Title Role Notes
1992 You Wrote It, You Watch It Various 25 episodes; also writer
1993–1995 The State Various 27 episodes; also co-creator, writer
1994 NYPD Blue Joey Diaz Episode: "Rockin' Robin"
1997 Viva Variety Johnny Blue Jeans 16 episodes; also co-creator, writer
1999 Hercules: The Animated Series Voice Episode: "Hercules and the Romans"
2000–2004 Ed Phil Stubbs 83 episodes
2001 Spy TV Himself (host) 11 episodes
2002 I Love the '80s Himself 9 episodes
2003 I Love the '70s Himself 7 episodes
2003 I Love the '80s Strikes Back Himself 6 episodes
2003 Crank Yankers Voice 2 episodes
2003–2006 Celebrity Poker Showdown Himself 5 episodes
2003–2008 Reno 911! Chris / Kevin the Sex Offender 3 episodes
2004 I Love the '90s Himself 7 episodes
2004, 2008 Comedy Central Presents Himself 2 episodes
2005 I Love the '90s: Part Deux Himself 3 episodes
2005 I Love the '80s 3-D Himself 10 episodes
2005 I Love the Holidays Himself
2005 Stella Michael 10 episodes; also co-creator, writer
2005–2006 Tom Goes to the Mayor Dr. Ian Black (voice) 2 episodes
2006 I Love Toys Himself
2006 I Love the '70s: Volume 2 Himself 7 episodes
2006 Cheap Seats: Without Ron Parker EZtech Executive / Hugh FitzSimmons 2 episodes
2007 Wainy Days Waiter 2 episodes
2008 I Love the New Millennium Himself 7 episodes
2008 Reality Bites Back Himself (host) 8 episodes
2008 The Xtacles Chase Fontaine (voice) 2 episodes
2008–2009 Reaper Steve 6 episodes
2009 Michael & Michael Have Issues Himself 7 episodes; also co-creator, writer
2010 Mercy Mark Gunther Episode: "I Saw This Pig and I Thought of You"
2010–2011 Backwash Fleming Web-series, 11 episodes
2011 Michael Ian Black: Very Famous Himself Stand-up special
2011–2012 Robot Chicken Mo-Larr (voice) / Mr. Ollivander (voice) 2 episodes
2012–2013 Burning Love Bill Tundle 37 episodes
2012–2014 You're Whole Randall Tyree Mandersohn 8 episodes; also creator, writer
2013 Trust Me, I'm a Game Show Host Himself (co-host) 10 episodes
2013–2014 Us & Them Brian 7 episodes
2014 Duck Quacks Don't Echo Himself (co-host) 12 episodes
2014 Maron Michael Ian Black Episode: "Marc on Talking Dead"
2015 Deadbeat TJ Episode: "The Blowfish Job"
2015 Inside Amy Schumer Martin Daniels / Lawyer 3 episodes
2015 Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp McKinley 7 episodes
2015–2016 The Jim Gaffigan Show Daniel
2015–present Another Period Peepers
2016–present Easiest Game Show Ever Himself (host)
2016 Michael Ian Black: Noted Expert Himself Stand-up special
2017 Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later McKinley
TBA Moon Cruise TBA Also creator[41]


  1. ^ "Michael Ian Black Biography (1971-)". Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  2. ^ Meoli, Daria. "That’s Entertainment", New Jersey Monthly, October 2005. Accessed December 26, 2007. "Add Stella, the strange Comedy Network brainchild of Princeton native Michael Showalter and Hillsborough native Michael Ian Black—he played wacky bowling-alley employee Phil in Ed, filmed all over the state—and Ohioan David Wain."
  3. ^ "Gay by Association: Michael Ian Black is an affiliated member of the gay community: Books section". Metro Weekly. 2012-03-01. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  4. ^ Black, Michael (1999-07-30). "Big Helium Dog". IMDB. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  5. ^ "Phil Gordon interview". HoboTrashcan. 2006-03-14. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  6. ^ "Phil Hellmuth - Businessman, Host, and Poker Legend". Poker News. 2006-05-16. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  7. ^ [1] Archived May 26, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ BBC Movies Review of Run, Fatboy, Run[2]. Retrieved on September 14, 2007.
  9. ^ The Internet ,Movie Database, The Pleasure of Your Company[3] retrieved on September 14, 2007
  10. ^ Happy Reaper: Michael Ian Black Archived April 16, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ "Michael Ian Black: My Whereabouts". 2008-06-18. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  12. ^ "Michael Ian Black: Come See Michael & Michael Have Issues". 2008-07-31. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  13. ^ Martin, Denise (18 February 2009). "Comedy Central commits to 'Michael and Michael Have Issues'". LA Times. Retrieved 19 February 2009. 
  14. ^ Connected Ventures LLC. Copyright 1999-2010. (2008-12-10). "Michael Showalter Showalter: Michael Ian Black - CollegeHumor Video". Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  15. ^ "Sierra Mist "Wand"". May 22, 2006. Retrieved December 28, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Sierra Mist "Jinx"". May 30, 2007. Retrieved December 28, 2011. 
  17. ^ "Sierra Mist Karate". March 30, 2007. Retrieved December 28, 2011. 
  18. ^ "Twitter / @michaelianblack:Shooting some Klondike com". August 2, 2009. Retrieved December 28, 2011. 
  19. ^ "eBay: Michaels on used gear.". November 2, 2009. Retrieved December 28, 2011. 
  20. ^ Chad Mumm (June 5, 2009). "Comedian Michael Ian Black to Actor LeVar Burton: "It's Twitter War!"". Retrieved December 28, 2011. 
  21. ^ michaelianblack (2011-02-24). "Here I Am". Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  22. ^ Mauldin, Kit. "Interview: Meghan McCain on "America, You Sexy Bitch"". Portland Monthly. Retrieved 13 June 2012. 
  23. ^ "7th Avenue Project Radio Show: interview with Michael Ian Black and Meghan McCain on "America, You Sexy Bitch"". Retrieved 10 June 2012. 
  24. ^ Andreeva, Nellie. "Aasif Mandvi & Michael Ian Black Join New Fox Series 'Us & Them'". Deadline. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
  25. ^ "Topics Podcast at". Ear Wolf. Retrieved 2015-05-18. 
  26. ^ "Trust Me, I'm a Game Show Host - Coming Soon to TBS". Retrieved 2013-10-23. 
  27. ^ "Duck Quacks Don't Echo". National Geographic. Retrieved 2014-02-23. 
  28. ^ Kroeger, Jake (April 8, 2014). "Fox Improv Show RIOT Will Feature Steve Carell, Jason Alexander, Cheryl Hines". Nerdist. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  29. ^ Geddes, Robin (April 8, 2014). "Steve Carell, Big Bang Theory's Mayim Bialik for new Fox series Riot". Digital Spy. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  30. ^ Swift, Andy (April 8, 2014). "Exclusive: Steve Carell and Cheryl Hines Among Celebrity Guests in Fox Improv Series Riot". TV Line. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  31. ^
  32. ^ "TBS Developing 'Moon Cruise' Comedy Series Created by and Starring Michael Ian Black". December 16, 2016. Retrieved December 17, 2016. 
  33. ^ Published: October 18, 1998 (1998-10-18). "WEDDINGS; Martha Hagen, Michael Black". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  34. ^ a b Grandjean, Patricia (September 2009). "Michael Ian Black". Connecticut.
  35. ^ a b Leone Shewfelt, Raechal (February 23, 2012). "Comedian Michael Ian Black’s ‘House Hunters’ Obsession". Yahoo! Celebrity.
  36. ^ Stemer, Zak (2013). "Back to Black: Michael Ian Black". Chicago Sun-Times.
  37. ^ Black, Michael Ian (2012). Ian Black%2C Elijah%2C Ruthie&f=false You're Not Doing It Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death, and Other Humiliations. Gallery Books, pp 140. Google Books. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  38. ^ Coyle, Jake (February 22, 2012). "Rebuffed By Mainstream, Black Turns Humor Inward". The Huffington Post.
  39. ^ "michaelianblack comments on I Am Michael Ian Black, Sexy Bitch". 2012-06-08. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  40. ^ Katie Stroh (29 February 2012). "Michael Ian Black bares soul, makes us laugh with memoir". The Daily Texan. Retrieved 9 June 2012. 
  41. ^ "TBS Developing 'Moon Cruise' Comedy Series Created by and Starring Michael Ian Black". December 16, 2016. Retrieved December 17, 2016.