Arts & Culture

The Four Questions: Michael Ian Black

Before the day technically started (Pre-waking up, shower, coffee) I liked Michael Ian Black.  After reading about how he handled a heckler who compared Obama to Hitler(“He killed six million of my people, which is six million more than Obama … Read More

By / August 23, 2010

Before the day technically started (Pre-waking up, shower, coffee) I liked Michael Ian Black.  After reading about how he handled a heckler who compared Obama to Hitler(“He killed six million of my people, which is six million more than Obama has killed.  You’re a fucking idiot”) I liked him more, and bothered him with four questions.

Do you really feel bad? He heckled you, didn’t he deserve it?

I do feel bad. Not because he didn’t deserve a response, but because he didn’t deserve the response he got, which was more or less an inarticulate string of profanities. It was easy and cheap, and I could have found a way to make the incident funnier instead of just upping the vitriol. To be fair to myself, after I screamed at him, I did ask him if there was anything he wanted to say to defend himself, but by that point he was gone. (I couldn’t see him because, as I said in my piece, he was shrouded in darkness.)

Is this an example of “Jewish guilt”?

No. My guilt has more to do with being an American. I’m the first person to bitch when people start screaming past each other over political/social/religious disagreements in this country, and yet what do I do when presented with an opportunity to lose my shit? I lose my shit. Not good. I definitely don’t want to come off sounding all high and mighty, but I don’t like what’s going on in my country, and I don’t want to make it worse.

Is this just a new routine for you? Are you going to plant people in the audience to ask moronic questions like this so you can become an “angry comedian”?

I should ask that guy to go on the road with me. That’s a great idea. Before this happened, I was thinking about developing a long piece about the nature of being offended. What does it mean to say “I’m offended?” Why are people so offended all the time? This incident made me think I should try to figure that piece out because I think there’s something worth talking about there.

If the same situation happened, except it was on “Celebrity Poker Showdown”, and Hank Azaria (also a Jew) said Obama was like Hitler, would you tear into him?

It would never happen. I mean, I would have to believe a Jewish comedian saying that would be saying it as a comment on people who say stupid shit like that. However, if I pressed, and it turned out that person was actually expressing that sentiment, I would zero problem tearing into him, even if that celebrity was as ripped as Hank. I would just try to do a better job at it.

That’s nice…

Incidentally, although I love Obama, I hope my reaction would have been as vehement if the heckler had said the same thing about W, who I did not care for. Here’s something I believe that nobody else seems to believe: people are doing the best they can. They’re trying to make good decisions, and instead of seeing everybody who disagrees with us as the enemy, we should first take it at face value that they are doing their best. Even when we think they’re fucking morons.