No Calories! A Q&A With Michael Ian Black

Published on March 19, 2016 · Last updated July 28, 2020

After packing houses in Seattle and Los Angeles, the Leafly Comedy Tour is making Denver its third stop, descending on the Gothic Theater on March 24. Headlining the night’s show is none other than Michael Ian Black, a cult comic, actor, and author. Tickets to the show are free, and if you haven’t RSVP’d already, you should do it now.

Whether you remember him from Wet Hot American Summer (or the reunion) or have just fallen for him on Another Period, Black’s quick, sometimes subtle, sometimes outlandish antics make him a unique and formidable voice in comedy. He caught up with Leafly from a rented room in L.A. and spoke about his flirtation with cannabis, his thoughts on the Democratic primary, and the extent of his cannabis technology knowledge. Here’s an edited transcript of the conversation:

Leafly: Michael Ian Black, it’s about 4 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon. Are you on the East Coast, West Coast? What are you up to? 

Michael Ian Black: I’m on the West Coast, lying on a couch in an Airbnb that I secured about an hour ago.

I saw you on Getting Doug with High, where you did admirably. And you mentioned there you almost died in Amsterdam. Would you still describe yourself as, say, a novice when it comes to cannabis?

Oh my god, if there’s a level below novice, that’s what I am. Like, I’m open to it, I’m open to doing it, but I haven’t figured out how to do it correctly or well. All I’m trying to do is replicate a kind of sleepy, happy buzz that maybe alcohol can give you — but it has no calories! And then maybe I enjoy myself for 60 to 90 minutes and then I fall asleep. That’s what I’m looking for.

So as far as deciding to headline the Leafly Comedy Tour, what was that like? Do you have feelings one way or another on doing a cannabis-oriented event?

Not particularly. No, I mean, it seems to me that— I mean, I’m in favor of national legalization. I’ve thought a moderate amount about the issue. I don’t really smoke pot or take it myself, but I don’t have any problem with it and it seems like a natural outgrowth of legalization that there would be events like this that sort of support the industry.

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I know you follow politics rather closely. I won’t mention one candidate, but Bernie and Hillary are pretty close. What do you think?

I keep going back and forth a lot. I mean, my heart is kind of with Bernie because I’m a lefty and a big fan of revolution in general, and sort of gentle revolution, I think, sounds fantastic. But at the same time, I am certainly a little bit concerned about his foreign policy credentials, interest, and experience, and his ability to move legislation through Congress. Whereas with Hillary I feel like she’s probably more likely to get shit done but it probably won’t be the kind of radical shit that Bernie would get done.

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I’m a big fan of yours, but kind of in a dated way — Stella, Wet Hot American Summer, that sort of thing. What exciting new stuff do you have now or on the horizon that you might want to plug?

Oh, I don’t care if you plug anything. I mean, I have a book that just came out called Navel Gazing. I’m on a fewTVshows at the moment.

And let’s say people are in Denver, getting ready for the Comedy Tour. What would you point them toward to get in the mood?

I mean, I have any number of things you could look at online. Podcasts [this too], a book, I have a standup special, I have television shows. I’m a very successful man. You can find me.

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There are some pretty wacky strain names. I know you smoked Blue Cheese on Getting Doug. I don’t suppose you have any favorites?

All I know is you can buy pot that’s in gummi bears. That’s really the extent of my knowledge about current cannabis technology.

If someone said, “Hey, Michael Ian Black, I just came out with a new strain and want you to name it,” what would you call it?

Uh, does it have to have the word ‘kush’ in it? How about Ch—, Ch—, G—, G—, Go—

Good Pot?

Awesome, sells itself. OK, last question. I put a little tweet out, like, “What should I ask Michael Ian Black?” and because it’s 2016, I feel like have to ask you. The question is: What does Bradley Cooper smell like?


Like the inside of a department store, maybe?

Yeah, but like a high-end department store. Neiman Marcus or something.

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Ben Adlin
Ben Adlin
Ben Adlin is a Seattle-based writer and editor who specializes in cannabis politics and law. He was a news editor for Leafly from 2015-2019. Follow him on Twitter: @badlin
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