The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Michael Ian Black Raises Spirits, Money

5 min read


A belated Valentine’s Day treat for everyone, comedian Michael Ian Black’s roaring performance on Feb. 15 brought not only chuckles, but
charity as well.
Collecting donations outside the event, Students Helping Honduras raised $2,600, an amount far higher than anyone predicted.
Over 1,000 University of Mary Washington students filled the seats of Dodd Auditorium, most having waited in line for hours outside in the 20-degree weather. A winding line of North Face clad, laugh-seekers formed outside of Dodd’s entrance, curving all the way around the
front of Mason Hall and onto the other side of campus walk.
A few Black fanatics, like seniors Natalie Be’er and Jane Mangione, thought ahead. Camping out in the front lobby of Dodd, the girls formed the front of the line at 3:30 p.m., five hours prior to the doors’ opening. The girls were still cheery at 6 p.m., having spent the past few hours playing word games and chowing down a pizza from the Nest.
“This is the beginning of my own ‘Best Week Ever!’” Be’er said. “My senior art show opened, it was my birthday and now this show!”
This wasn’t her first time seeing Black.
“I saw Michael Ian Black at the 9:30 club in D.C. with Michael Showalter last year…I think I love him,” she said.
Sure enough, when the doors finally opened at 8:30, Be’er and Mangione sprinted down the aisles and landed their
coveted front row center
seats. Despite the unintentional tardiness of the show’s star, the doors opened on time. Black’s initial flight was canceled
due to inclement
weather, and the train he ending up taking was a nerve-wracking hour and a half late.
He ended up arriving on campus at 9 p.m. on the dot. Although anxious Giant Production members were worried and scurrying about, Black calmly walked straight on stage without a mic-check or glance in the mirror.
The hectic arrival seemed to have no negative impact on Black’s comedy bits. The former “I love the ‘80s” commentator clearly had done some prior research, opening his act with several personalized jokes about UMW.
Along with cracks about the male to female ratio, Black referred to the night’s “attractive, friendly, overwhelmingly white audience.”
He later described Fredericksburg as a “nice place to come…if you’re a dead Confederate soldier.”
He then elaborated: “Okay it’s the best place to come if you’re a dead Confederate soldier. You get to see old friends!”
The eager audience erupted with laughs as Black touched on everything from college life to racism to the names of fast food chains.
Black dilutes his outrageous and often offensive material with sarcastic, subtle delivery. His style is the perfect blend of wry wit and potty humor.
Quick on his feet, Black incorporated his brilliant improvisational skills throughout the evening. After a chatty audience member began to shout things at the stage, Black proceeded to insult the student throughout the rest of the show.
After asking the spotlighted student what his major was, Black responded to the lack of a response smirking—“Yeah… you don’t have
one. You don’t even go here, do you? It’s okay, you can just marry rich.”
The jaunts were all in good fun though, as Black later reassured the same red-faced student that he was only kidding, and that of course, he would have sex with him after the show.
Black closed his set with an open question and answer session with the audience.
He answered queries ranging from the details of his bar mitzvah (he never had one), to his opinion of the Latin language and why his canceled cable series “Stella” never got its groove back. Then Black invited senior Jenna Lippin up to the stage to defend her overt respect for party girl heiress Paris Hilton.
Though filled with offensive and over the top humor, in the end, the night proved to be most kind hearted.
Shin Fujiyama, senior and president of Students Helping Honduras, was beaming with pride at the end of the show. The whopping $2,600 made on Thursday night was truly miraculous.
Fujiyama said the money will be used to provide a house for a family in Honduras. SHH wants to call the house “The Giant Production Home.”
Clearly, laughter is not only the best medicine, but the best fund-raiser as well.

Exclusive Interview:

Susannah Clark: So how do you think tonight’s show went?

Michael Ian Black: Well, I mean look, it’s not about me. It’s about these wonderful, wonderful people that make up the University of Mary Washington. Tonight, we all had a collective orgasm.

SC: I’m so sorry to hear that you had such a hard commute!

MIB: The commute was really hard, my flight got canceled, and the train I ended up taking got delayed. I ended up getting here 10 minutes before the show started. Ya know, that’s not how I like to do things.

SC: Well, thank you so much for being to ready to come on right away! Does not doing a mic-check make a difference in your performance?

MIB: Not really, not when you’re doing stand up. Now, were I still in my old band, Fall Out Boy, then that would have made a difference. Back when I was with those guys we did a whole guitar check, mic-check, we had a whole light show. A lot of people question my decision to leave Fall Out Boy to pursue a career in stand up comedy, but look who’s having the last laugh? They are, they are.

SC: Is there a big difference, in terms of atmosphere or reaction, between a college student audience and an audience at say, a larger comedy club in a city?

MIB: Well I don’t play comedy clubs.

SC: At all?

MIB: Never. I play rock clubs and colleges, primarily. And theatres. Comedy clubs scare me.

SC: Can I ask why?

MIB: Well because they tend to attract audiences that are… uhhh… I don’t know. They just scare me. They’re very expensive, and you tend to get an older audience, and I don’t know if older people know who I am, and if they do, if they think I’m funny. I’m just intimidated by them. If I play a place like [UMW], or a rock club, people are coming to specifically see me so it’s a little bit easier for me. …I don’t wanna have to work too hard, is what I’m saying.

SC: So… I’m a little confused. Do you love the ‘70s, ‘80s or ‘90s?

MIB: I’m indifferent to decades as a whole. I have a lot of apathy towards blocks of ten years.

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