Michael Ian Black

8th January 2021

We’re joined by comedian and actor Michael Ian Black on an all-new Bullseye! He’s a founding member of the comedy groups “The State” and “Stella” as well as a regular on the kind of talking head pop culture shows that were all the rage in the late aughts. When he’s not busy making us laugh on stage and screen, Michael is a prolific author. His first book, a children’s book, was titled “Chicken Cheeks” and was the first of many books geared toward kids. He’s also written several books for adults. His latest is “A Better Man.” It’s a touching long-form letter to his teenage son about the perils and pitfalls of manhood and what it means to be a man in a society that often attempts to pigeonhole what manhood is allowed to look like. Black chats with guest host Carrie Poppy about raising a son and daughter, the lessons he’s learned and how his mother’s tumultuous past impacted how he sees the world.

Episode notes

Photo Credit: Jean Baptiste Lacroix/Getty Images

Comedian and actor Michael Ian Black on his latest book A Better Man
Michael Ian Black is a very funny guy. 

You’ve seen his work as a founding member of comedy groups The State and Stella. He’s also appeared in several hilarious films including Wet Hot American Summer with his Stella collaborator David Wain. 

He’s done tons of television work as well for hit shows like Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken and Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! but maybe you recognize his face best as one of those talking-head commentators for shows like VH1’s I Love the ’70s/’80s/’90s/New Millennium series where he talked about Monchhichis, Freddie Krueger, Mambo No. 5 and other moments of pop culture nostalgia from decades past. 

He’s also an avid poker player. Like professionally—appearing in several episodes of Celebrity Poker Showdown

When he’s not making us belly laugh with his dry wit he also finds time to write. Since 2009 he’s written a dozen books for both children and adults. His first book was for kids and was titled Chicken Cheeks (the Beginning of the Ends.) It’s about a group of bears who will stop at nothing to secure some delicious honey. 

His latest is a book for both adults and youth. It’s called A Better Man: A (Mostly Serious) Letter to My Son. It’s an open letter to his teenage son about manhood. It touches on what it means to be a man in today’s climate of toxic masculinity and changing ideas about gender norms. It’s a thoughtful book that he hopes will help lay the groundwork for his son’s adult life. 

Black chats with guest host Carrie Poppy about raising a son and daughter, the lessons he’s learned and how his mother’s tumultuous past impacted how he sees the world.

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About the show

Bullseye is a celebration of the best of arts and culture in public radio form. Host Jesse Thorn sifts the wheat from the chaff to bring you in-depth interviews with the most revered and revolutionary minds in our culture.

Bullseye has been featured in Time, The New York Times, GQ and McSweeney’s, which called it “the kind of show people listen to in a more perfect world.” Since April 2013, the show has been distributed by NPR.

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