Whether you know Michael Ian Black as the co-creator and star of a triumvirate of cult-classic comedy series (we’re talking The State, Stella, and Michael & Michael Have Issues) or from his roles on shows like Ed and films like Wet Hot American Summer, you can’t argue with his hilarity–dude is just funny, pretty much all the time. The multi-talented actor and comedian is also the bestselling author of My Custom Van, several children’s books, and his latest, You’re Not Doing It Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death, and Other Humiliations.
Michael stopped by Figment to weigh in on his favorite reads, his bookish crush, and his literary deal-breakers, so keep reading for some chuckle-inducing reflections. **Also, don’t forget that he, alongside Martin Starr, Michaela Watkins, Andrea Savage, Michael Hitchcock, and Wendi McLendon-Covey, will be reading Figment users’ stories live at the L.A. Times Festival of Books on April 21! Awwww, yeah!
What’s the book that you’re proudest of having finished?
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. It’s 900 pages of rambling science fiction metaphysical confusion. By page 300 I knew I didn’t like it, but kept thinking it’s going to get amazing. It didn’t. But I stuck with it.
Have you ever lied about having read a book to impress someone? (If yes, what was the book and why?)
I don’t think so. If anything, I flaunt the shitty books I read: I love spy novels, assassin thrillers, sci-fi crap. I read widely and love genre books. Nor do I make any apologies for having never read Flaubert or Proust or whoever. There are so many books out there. If I haven’t read some of the greats, so be it. At least I will know I’ve gone to the grave having read Kirk Cameron: Dream Guy.
What’s the one book that you’ve sworn to read before you die?
I keep thinking I’m going to read Gravity’s Rainbow. And I’ve tired. Lord, I’ve tried. But I just can’t get there. The cult of Pynchon is so strong that I feel like there must be a reason for it. I will return to Gravity’s Rainbow at some point. Not now. At some point.
Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character? Who?
It’s probably too trendy to say this, but Katniss from The Hunger Games. Except she probably smelled.
If you could play any character from a book, who would you choose?
Edward O. Thorp. Real guy, a mathematician, who wrote a book in the early 60’s called Beat the Dealer. He perfected a system for beating blackjack. It’s an interesting and fun story that I always thought would make a terrific movie.
Do you have a book on you right now? What is it?
At the moment, I’m reading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon.
What’s the best book to give to someone you secretly want to ask out?
Fifty Shades of Grey, particularly if you want to tie that person up or be tied up by that person.
What’s the one book that would be a deal-breaker if you saw it on a date’s bookshelf?
Anything involving vegan cooking.