Audio Mixer: Warren Woods.
Recording information: The Trocadero, Philadelphia, PA (03/11/2011).
Photographer: Natalie Brasington.
Thanks to the television shows Stella and The State, Michael Ian Black is a standup comedian with a loyal following, which on Very Famous he uses as a springboard to ascend above cult status. After warming himself up to this Philadelphia audience by categorizing their city as "kind of a dump," Black introduces himself with "You guys may know me from such shows as `Canceled,' `Comedy Central Presents No Longer on the Air,' and my sitcom `Two and a Half Episodes.'" From here, the comedian embraces his `acquired taste' style with "Strangers Don't Find Me Funny," which brings down a snide wall possible fans have long faced. This then opens into an often hilarious set that plays by traditional standup rules of set-up and flow, while Black himself loses none of what makes him unique. He's still that seemingly milquetoast guy who gets drunk on a sip and never does anything extraordinary, yet is able to instantly raise things to an uncomfortable level with talk of a cocktail named the Greasy Tampon or Louis C.K.-styled disgust with his kids. Talk of an out-of-character crack at skydiving and a horrifying trip to the doctor makes him more human than before, when he often seemed like an irony-fueled android with its "wit" and "brash" settings turned up the whole way. Fans looking for their friends to join the Black cult have never had better ammunition, and when it all comes packaged in a fantastic Dr. Dre homage, this ends up a great effort to recommend, and maybe even advocate. ~ David Jeffries