Michael Ian Black: You're Not Doing It Right
We’re the holdouts. Every married couple we know has kids or is having kids or is trying to make kids. My wife and I were one of the first couples we knew to get married and we almost definitely will be the last to become parents. In his recent memoir, You’re Not Doing It Right, Michael Ian Black (actor, writer, co-founder of The State, Sierra Mist pitchman, and former VH1 pundit-in-residence) perfectly sums up how my wife and myself and many other otherwise responsible adults feel about parenthood: self-absorbed disgust and absolute pants-shitting terror. Black’s second book tracks his journey through the major milestones of life, from sexual awakening to marriage to fatherhood to couple’s therapy. Black’s trademark glib tone and affected smugness pop up throughout, but this is largely a sincere memoir, albeit one that equates living with a newborn to being a prisoner at Abu Ghraib.
Black’s comedy has always been very performance based, less about jokes and observations than about crafting a persona of a shallow, arrogant fool. You’re Not Doing It Right makes it seem like that persona is an exaggeration of either Black’s real self or what he sees as his most negative personality traits. Or maybe he’s just being honest. When Black talks about how he hates his wife and kids sometimes, he sounds like Louis C.K. Although loaded with hilarious observations and asides, You’re Not Doing It Right is a fairly serious look at a typical self-absorbed Modern World Man coming to grips with the responsibilities of marriage and parenthood.