September 18, 2007

CD Review: Michael Ian Black - I Am a Wonderful Man

I cannot help it, whenever I see Michael Ian Black I think of a friend of mine whom I haven't seen in years (James, if you read this, you will be forever linked with Michael Ian Black). Don't ask me why, they really are nothing alike. Something kicked off that connection in the past and I do not foresee it being severed at any point in the near future. Anyway, this is the first actual stand-up comedy I have heard from Black and it is pretty darn funny in a detached sardonic manner. I Am a Wonderful Man puts is odd and dry wit front and center at the Lakeshore Theater in Chicago.

The first time I saw Michael Ian Black..... well, I don't remember when I first saw him, or when I could come to call myself a fan of his. For that matter, I am not sure I have seen or heard enough to even call myself a fan. I certainly enjoy his material. I like the offbeat persona and downright odd projects he has been involved in. These odd projects include his Sierra Mist soda commercials (with the likes of Jim Gaffigan and Kathy Griffin). I seem to remember seeing him briefly on Reno 911! and Viva Variety. I only know that he was on Ed as I never watched the show. I also recognize him from his participation in the VH1 I Love the 70's (as well as the 80's and 90's). My biggest exposure was seeing him on the short lived Comedy Central series Stella, not the original shorts, just the show. It was a show that I really liked, I loved his interaction with David Wain and Michael Showalter, and the overall bizarre feel of the show. I have even attended an early screening of debut as a feature film writer/director: The Pleasure of Your Company.

OK, I know. You don't want to read about my shared history with Michael Ian Black. I am sure you would much rather know if I Am a Wonderful Man is a worthwhile addition to your collection. So, for those of you who are already fans the simple answer is "Yes."

As far as reviewing a comedy concert, how does one go about doing that? I've done that before. Do you want to know if it made me laugh? Do you want to know what stories he tells? It is a fine line to walk so as not to spoil your initial listening.

Let me start off by giving you the track listing. This will give a hint as to what to expect:

1. Yay!
2. Satanic Messages
3. Terrorists
4. New Orleans
5. Billboards And Bumper Stickers
6. College
7. Sex
8. Gay?
9. Married With Children
10. Walk It Off
11. Captain's Blog

His dry with works well with the crowd as they seemed to be into it right from the introduction. His topics run from white power (Yay!) to the purpose of satanic messages, from guessing the terrorists at the airport to "Don't Blame Me" bumper stickers, he even confronts the possibility that he may be gay.

The show runs for nearly an hour and is pretty much non-stop loaded with laughs. There are very few dead spots. This is all assuming that you like your comedy a little dry and irreverent. He definitely has a worldview that does not always match up with that of everyone else.

You know, reviewing this is not an easy task. I would love to tell you about the stories and his observations on potentially mundane topics. He is no Seinfeld, or Cook, or Rock. That's a good thing, the last thing we need is another one of them. Black has a unique presence, quietly charismatic.

Before I make an even bigger fool of myself, just let me say that this is a very funny outing. You will not be disappointed. If anything, you will not want it to end. The end comes too soon.



Post a Comment