Stella: The Classic Nightclub Show

Michael Ian Black

Beloved by young and old, Michael Ian Black is America's foremost comedy maker. Does Michael perform stand-up comedy? And how! He regularly tours the country performing his ribald brand of humorous jokes and observations. Michael's new Comedy Central special and CD, "Very Famous," will premiere in August 2011 and will be followed by a national tour, "Black is White". His first comedy CD, "I Am A Wonderful Man" was released in in 2007.
Fans of sketch comedy might know Michael's work from such seminal television programs as "The State," "Viva Variety," "Stella" and "Michael and Michael Have Issues," all of which he co-created, wrote and starred in. Those with a more mainstream appetite may look back with fondness on Michael's role as the quirky bowling alley manager 'Phil' on the NBC show "Ed," a role which earned Michael no awards or nominations. Nostalgia enthusiasts may recall his adorable commentary on VH1's "I Love the..." series. Movie roles include "Wet Hot American Summer," "Take Me Home Tonight" and "The Baxter." Michael is the co-writer of the 2007 comedy, "Run, Fatboy, Run," directed by David Schwimmer and starring Simon Pegg, Hank Azaria and Thandie Newton. He wrote and directed the 2006 release, "Wedding Daze," starring Jason Biggs and Isla Fisher.
He is also the author of the contemporary classic "My Custom Van (and 50 Other Mind-Blowing Essays That Will Blow Your Mind All Over Your Face)," and the children's books "Chicken Cheeks," "The Purple Kangaroo," "A Pig Parade Is A Terrible Idea" and the forthcoming "I'm Bored," all published by Simon & Schuster. His memoir, "You're Not Doing It Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death and Other Humiliations" will be released in February, 2012. Michael is also the co-host of a popular podcast with Tom Cavanagh called "Mike and Tom Eat Snacks." His newest project is a book collaboration with conservative writer Meghan McCain entitled "Stupid for America," to be published by DeCapo Publishing in 2012. Michael Ian Black: truly an American treasure.

I grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, came to New York and went to NYU film school.

While there I met a bunch of guys (and one girl) and we formed a comedy troupe called The New Group. We did live sketch shows and short films and I got a chance to write, direct, perform and edit comedy in collaboration with my friends. I've continued to do that in the years since then, largely with this same group of college pals.

Upon graduation, we changed the name of The New Group to THE STATE and, through a series of lucky breaks, ended up with our own series on MTV. That went well for a few years, until we made a move to CBS which imploded and ultimately ended the group. But we all stayed friends and kept working together. (In fact, all eleven of us reunited recently for a new live sketch show in San Francisco, and the MTV series is now finally available on DVD.)

At around the time The State was fizzling (1997), three of us from the group (Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter and myself) started a weekly nightclub comedy show at Fez Under Time Cafe called STELLA which ran until 2005. As hosts of this show our trio developed into a comedy troupe of its own, eventually spawning a bunch of shorts, a Comedy Central series and a live show that still (sporadically) tours the country to this day.

In 2001 I directed WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER, a movie co-written and co-produced by Michael Showalter and myself. The movie is about the last day of summer camp in 1981 and features Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Molly Shannon, Paul Rudd, Christopher Meloni, Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black, Amy Poehler, Marguerite Moreau, Zak Orth, A.D. Miles - and in their first film roles, Elizabeth Banks and Bradley Cooper. I'm thrilled that the movie still maintains a loyal and active following among the coolest people in coffee shops and college dorms across the land.

The second movie I directed was THE TEN (2007), produced and written with Ken Marino. It's ten comedic stories, each inspired by a different one of the ten commandments, featuring Paul Rudd, Winona Ryder, Gretchen Mol, Rob Corddry, Famke Janssen, Jessica Alba, Liev Schreiber, Oliver Platt, Adam Brody, Ken Marino, Justin Theroux and many more.

My first large scale studio movie, ROLE MODELS, starring Paul Rudd, Seann William Scott, Jane Lynch, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Bobb'e J. Thompson and Elizabeth Banks, was released in 2008 and is now on DVD. It was a Critics Choice nominee for Best Comedy. And yes Paul Rudd as been in every movie, so far.

In between the bigger projects, I've written, directed and performed on lots of TV shows (e.g. Mad TV, The Daily Show, Best Week Ever, Tim & Eric's Awesome Show, Strangers with Candy) and a few movies.

Currently my whiny voice can be heard as "The Warden" on the Adult Swim animated series SUPERJAIL, and I've created & starred in 31 episodes (so far) of my Webby Award winning web series WAINY DAYS, which is a (lightly) fictionalized account of my ongoing quest to meet women in New York.

Also on Adult Swim you will find CHILDRENS HOSPITAL, now prepping season 4, for which I executive produce, write, direct and act.

And lastly, I am now hard at work editing WANDERLUST, a new movie for which I am director, producer and co-writer (with Ken Marino). It's a comedy starring Paul Rudd, Jennifer Aniston, Alan Alda, Justin Theroux, Malin Akerman and many other hilarious people, coming to theaters February 24, 2012.

In my (somewhat) real life I live with my wife (the awesome actress Zandy Hartig) and our two sons, a few blocks from my first NYU dorm room.


Off Sale

SF Sketchfest and Mezzanine are thrilled to welcome back Stella with special guest comedians and live music. Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter and David Wain have been writing, producing, and performing comedy together and apart for over twenty years. They helped create the sketch comedy troupe The State, which went on to a successful television run on MTV, and now each have successful solo careers as writers, directors and performers of comedy. Tonight’s show recalls the early “Nightclub” days of Stella, when they hosted a weekly showcase for alternative and mainstream comedy. Tickets and Information at

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