Speaking with The Arty Semite over the phone, Michael Ian Black paused and said: “That’s weird. I’m in the hotel hallway walking towards my room. On the carpet I see a pair of underwear and recognize them as my own. Now why in the world is a pair of my own underwear sitting in the middle of the hallway?” This is just another conundrum in Black’s daily life which, when he’s not working on a prematurely canceled Comedy Central series or writing sardonic tweets in 140 characters or less, revolves around his wife and two children at his home in Connecticut.
In Black’s new memoir, “You’re Not Doing It Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death, and Other Humiliations,” he details the realities of marriage and raising children which, it turns out, are not always so great. Known for playing a caricature of himself on shows like “Stella” and “Michael and Michael Have Issues,” and as a pithy commentator on VH1’s “I Love the…” programs, in the book Black drops his persona as an infantile jerk. In a rare glimpse of the man himself, Black, born Schwartz, has written a memoir that is as beautiful as it is witty and incisive.
After solving the underwear mystery (he thinks it somehow go tangled in his coat earlier), Black talked to The Arty Semite about writing a serious book, his relationship to Judaism and coping with the reality of being Michael Ian Black.
Laurie Kamens: As a private person, was it hard to write a book that is so candid?