A conversation with the very hilarious Michael Ian Black

Taylor Bigler Entertainment Editor
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You may know Michael Ian Black from the cult 2000 comedy “Wet Hot American Summer,” the sketch comedy series “Stella” or from Twitter, where he entertains his nearly two million followers.

His next gig is hosting “The Friskies” in October — an awards ceremony for the best cat videos on the Internet — an honor that Black calls his swan song. (RELATED VIDEO: Blind kitten wins grand prize at The Friskies)

I talked to Black last week about cats, his sex scene with Bradley Cooper, his new TBS game show and FOX sitcom — and that Twitter feud with Marc Maron.

So tell me about hosting “The Friskies.”

It was important for me to reassess my life and career. One of the things I had never done was to host the most important Internet cat video award show ever. This is my swan song – after this, I’m done. I will bid showbiz adieu.

I don’t believe you.

Oh, you just wait and see.

What is your favorite Internet cat video?

Here is the thing. I am the host of “The Friskies.” As such, that is a lot of power. I really can’t say. That’s how I have to be. I have to maintain a sense of objectivity. You think the people at Friskies take this seriously? Even saying “cat video” is a gray area for me, even acknowledging its existence. It’s a gray area.

Can you tell me about your new game show (TBS’ “Trust Me, I’m a Game Show Host”)?

Yeah, it’s called “Trust Me, I’m a Game Show Host,” and it’s D.L. Hughley and myself hosting, and there’s one contestant, and the way it works is one of us tells the contestant the truth and one of us lies, and the contestant has to figure out who’s doing what.

What are the kinds of things people have to tell the truth about?

We each present the contestant with a competing fact, so if there’s a category like, I don’t know, Elvis. One of the questions might be, “Quentin Tarantino played Elvis in an episode of the Golden Girls.”

That’s not true.

Well, is it? Or isn’t it? And D.L. says that, and then I say, “Most people know Elvis’s favorite sandwich was fried bologna and peanut butter. Did you know that it was also his favorite dessert?”

I did not know that.

Right, well you have to figure out who’s telling the truth and who’s lying? And then we back it up with some comedic assertions.

Tell me about the FOX sitcom.

That’s called “Us and Them.” It’s based on a British show called “Gavin and Stacy.” It’s based on that, and we’re shooting that now, and I don’t know when it airs because it’s a mid-season replacement, so whenever one of FOX’s shows gets yanked.

Is it annoying that every time you do an interview, people bring up “Wet Hot American Summer?” Because I’m about to do it.

Yeah, that’s fine.

Is there a chance that the counselors will ever get back together?

I think there’s a chance, however slim. I mean, I think people are up for it. It’s just a question of figuring out a way to do it.

So you’re saying there’s a chance?

Yes. But I wouldn’t hold my breath. It’s a lot of people, you know?

What was it like shooting sex scenes with Bradley Cooper? Was he gentle?

Of course, back then, he was just lower case bradley cooper. But I like to think I had a role in his stardom. I like to think that I was a stop on his sleeping the way to the top.

Was your Twitter feud with Marc Maron real? Do you really not like him?

Well, Marc and I have a very long and — what’s the word I’m looking for — complicated is too generic, but complicated relationship. We’re frenemies. Lately, we’re more fre than mies.

Well, I got a good laugh at it.

It’s the same thing with my [former girlfriend]. Like I would never really go after someone like that if I wasn’t friendly with them. I wouldn’t just be mean to somebody. But because he’s my friend I can attack him voraciously.

You mean because he’s your fre.

Because he’s my fre. Yes.

This interview has been and edited and condensed.

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Taylor Bigler