Forecast: many Michaels

Comedians Michael Showalter and Michael Ian Black bring their antics to Pantages Theater.

Michael and Michael mean-mugging
PHOTO COURTESY MARTIN CROOK

Michael and Michael mean-mugging PHOTO COURTESY MARTIN CROOK

Tony Libera

WHAT: Michael & Michael Have Issues Live Tour WHERE: Pantages Theater WHEN: Oct. 15 TICKETS: $29.50 Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter have always excelled at the comedy game; their seminal sketch-comedy series âÄúThe StateâÄù influenced a legion of young comedians, their 2001 film âÄúWet Hot American Summer âÄù is one of the funniest films ever made and their work on the oftentimes surreal âÄúStellaâÄù provided some of the most hilarious and bizarre material to ever grace television. Their latest show, âÄúMichael & Michael Have Issues,âÄù just finished its first season, one filled with sweatpants, sword fights and the ultimate swear word. Now, the duo brings their issues to Minneapolis with âÄúMichael and Michael Have Issues Live Tour.âÄù A&E spoke with Black and Showalter about âÄúMMHI,âÄù the upcoming live show and a hypothetical real life fight. First off, what are your feelings on âÄúStellaâÄù not being renewed for a second season? Do you have any pent up rage about it? MIB: Well, all the pent up rage in my life doesnâÄôt really center around âÄúStellaâÄù so much. All my pent up rage is directed at all kinds of things, but âÄúStellaâÄôsâÄù pretty far down the list. It was a very good show that just never found an audience for the obvious reason that it was out there. And I think there were a lot of people who just didnâÄôt understand what we were doing at all or did understand it and didnâÄôt find it funny, which is maybe more likely. ItâÄôs easy to say when you do comedy that they didnâÄôt get it, but rarely do you hear comedians say, âÄúOh they got it, they just didnâÄôt like it.âÄù I think it was probably a little of both. WhatâÄôs the status on âÄúStella?âÄù Are you still doing live shows? Or have you just decided to throw David Wain under the bus in favor of the new show? MIB: The three of us hosted a show for charity last night, which was a night of old âÄúStateâÄù sketches that we were showing and just sort of entertaining the crowd. So, âÄúStellaâÄù I would say is dormant at the moment, but certainly not dead by any means. ItâÄôs like Walt Disney . HeâÄôs been cryogenically frozen, thatâÄôs kind of what âÄúStellaâÄù is right now. So Comedy Central doesnâÄôt pick up âÄúStella,âÄù and three or four years later you have this new concept, kind of the same absurdist comedy. WhatâÄôs the process like for dealing with the network? MIB: Well, IâÄôm going to re-characterize your characterization of the show, because I donâÄôt think itâÄôs nearly as absurd as âÄúStella.âÄù ItâÄôs a lot more grounded and that was important to the network and important to us that if we do another show that people watch it, and one of the ways that we both agreed, the network and us, that people would be more likely to watch it if it wasnâÄôt [expletive] crazy. So, we tried to ground it a little bit more, and there are ridiculous things that happen in it, but it hopefully comes from a foundation that people can get their feet on a little bit more easily than the quicksand that was âÄúStella.âÄù Has there been any word on a renewal for âÄúMMHI?âÄù MIB: Not officially. Not yet. How much of yourselves do you put into the âÄúMMHIâÄù characters? MIB: When we were on stage last night, David said that he felt like it was pretty much a documentary of our lives. HeâÄôs not involved in the show, so he just knows it as a viewer and he was saying it was pretty much a documentary, so IâÄôll defer to him on that. Have you two ever fought in real life? MIB: No. If you were to fight each other, would you want it to be shirtless and on someoneâÄôs front lawn or would you prefer something like the sword duel episode of MMHI? MIB: I prefer to think it would be a sword duel; although, in this day and age, itâÄôs hard to find a good sword when you need one. MS: I was going to say swords. I didnâÄôt even know it was multiple choice; I was just going to throw out swords âĦ like pirate swords though âĦ like buccaneer swords. MIB: YouâÄôd want to swashbuckle. You know how heavy those swords are though, right? The swords would have to be pretty short âÄôcause youâÄôd get tired. MS: IâÄôm strong. IâÄôm in good shape. MIB: You are. I would agree with that. There seems to be a fascination on your shows with infantile characters. What is it that makes arrested development or âÄúthe man-childâÄù so funny? MIB: I think when youâÄôre making comedy you have to put yourself in situations where comedy can happen, and one of the ways to do that is to give your main character or characters sort of defects. They donâÄôt necessarily look at the world the same way and that just sort of breeds comedy. So with men in particular, thereâÄôs kind of a few ways you can go, and âÄúidiotâÄù is sort of a tried and true method. And, you know, it also happens to be kind of what we are: arrogant, stupid, retarded man-children. But the difference is, in this show, their kind of juvenile behavior is really directed primarily towards each other and competitors. They can deal with the world in a kind of realistic way. Not always in the best of ways, but they can kind of deal with the world in a way that is not totally unrecognizable, whereas with âÄúStellaâÄù we dealt with the world in a completely unrecognizable way. So, their sort of pettiness and immaturity has to do with jealousy and competition and not necessary a mental defect on their part. What can people expect from the Michael & Michael Have Issues Live Show? MIB: We havenâÄôt really decided yet. MS: I think it will be a little of everything. WeâÄôll perform separately; weâÄôll perform together; weâÄôll do tag team bits. MIB: ItâÄôs gonna be great. YouâÄôre gonna love it. For the full interview, featuring more talk about swords, jigsaw puzzles and Barack Obama, see the A&E blog..