Known for his work on “The State” and “Wet Hot American Summer,” Michael Ian Black has brought his comedy talents to movies, TV, books, podcasts and the stand-up stage. His eighth children’s book, “I Am Sad,” is set for release in June. Black returns to Buffalo for five shows, March 29 to 31, in Helium Comedy Club.
Question: When you did a previous show in Buffalo, you ate some Lloyd Tacos after a Twitter conversation. Will you be going back?
Answer: I hadn’t remembered that until you said it, but maybe I will go back. They were good tacos.
Q: Will you be trying any other local cuisine?
A: If I come to Buffalo, I am a tourist, so there’s no chance I’m not going to have wings while I’m in town. So between the wings and the tacos, I will be set, and possibly sick.
Q: Sometimes comedians stay non-political to avoid angering a segment of the crowd, others lean into politics because it’s just who they are. How do you weigh that balance of saying what you want to say, but also trying to appeal to as large of an audience as you can?
A: It’s a thing I think a lot of comedians wrestle with, particularly in this moment in time because it is the elephant in the room at all times, at least for me. The current affairs in the nation’s capital are always in my mind, and the comedian’s job is to tell the truth, or whatever is true for them. In a certain way, it would be disingenuous to not talk about it.
My feeling is that if you’re coming to a comedy show, there’s a chance you’re going to see a comedian who is challenging you. I would hope as an audience member you’d want that, and if you don’t, I’m sorry. Every comedian is not the same, and you should do some research before (you go). If I’m going to talk about politics, I’m not worried about alienating but I want to do it in a way that doesn’t feel dogmatic. I at least want to have something fresh to say about it.
Q: You’re a pretty passionate guy on Twitter. How do you find that experience, as far as engaging with people who disagree or are just trolling?
A: It took me a while to figure out why I’m doing it. It’s always a question to me whether it’s a value for anybody, myself included. Is this helping things in any way, shape or form? To my surprise, it does seem to be helpful for people. I’m not doing anything particularly insightful on Twitter, but sometimes it’s helpful for people to see other people taking some heat and doing it with a certain amount of humor and passion, and still live their life.
Q: Do you find your family life a good engine for being a joke machine?
A: It’s rare that something happens in my life that I’m immediately like, “Oh, I have to put that on stage.” Usually, anything that happens has to digest a little bit before it finds its way to the stage. Sometimes years. Every once in a while, something relatively simple will pop up in my act, but the stuff that lasts that I spend time developing generally tends to be the stuff that has a little distance.
Michael Ian Black
8 p.m. March 29, 7:30 and 10 p.m. shows March 30 and 31 in Helium Comedy Club, 30 Mississippi St. Tickets are $20-$25. buffalo.heliumcomedy.com