Accidental Terrorist meets Noted Expert Michael Ian Black

Michael Ian Black: NOTED EXPERT on Epix

It was a magical moment. That's how Barry put it, and who am I to disagree?

Barry Goldblatt is my friend and literary agent. He also happens to be literary agent to actor/​comedian/​author Michael Ian Black, with whom you may be familiar. This past November, Barry took a small group of us to see the taping of Michael's new standup comedy special at John Jay College in Manhattan.

Now, this happened to be the very next day after my book release party for The Accidental Terrorist, so 1) I was still on a pretty big high, and 2) the comedy outing felt almost like a continuation of the party from the night before.

Tricia Ready, Colleen AF Venable, and Barry Goldblatt at The Accidental Terrorist Release Party, 10 November 2015

As the line of showgoers entered the auditorium, a woman we called the Sorting Hat directed each little group to the exact row where she wanted them to sit. "Are you big fans of Michael Ian Black?" she would ask, before sending the young and attractive college students to the front of the house and the rest of us to the anonymous back middle. She needed the audience to look good and enthusiastic on TV.

Look, the show was hilarious. Josh Gondelman opened, and though I think we old people were prepared to hate him, he charmed us with a very funny set. When Michael Ian Black took the stage, however, there was no looking back. His set seemed to effortlessly ride a line between his signature ingratiating archness and smarm, surprising hints of vulnerability, and some of the most potentially offensive material imaginable. We were weeping with laughter.

Toward the end of the hour, Michael launched into a long story about getting arrested on an old warrant for a brief lapse interregnum in his auto insurance. Suddenly, at the point in the story where he's being hauled off to jail, he asked the audience, "Who's been to jail here before?"

Anticipation at the Noted Expert viewing party!


I don't want to spoil anything for you, but the others in the group and especially Barry started hissing at me to stick my goddamn hand in the air already. After taking stories from two other audience members, Michael called on me. My mouth was dry and it felt like I couldn't get enough breath, but somehow I managed to elicit from him the reaction you can see in the Instagram video below.

'...and said there was a bomb on it.' --William Shunn in Noted Expert

After the show, a few people asked me if the story I'd told was really true or if I had been an audience plant. And Barry swore up and down that he'd had no idea the jail question was going to come up.

On Friday, May 13, I invited a bunch of friends over to watch Michael Ian Black: Noted Expert when it debuted on Epix. It turned out to be a lucky Friday the 13th for me because I didn't have to explain to my guests why I had dragged them over to my house to watch a show that I wasn't even in.

I hope you'll watch the special too. If you have Epix, it runs again this Wednesday night on Epix2, or you can watch it on-demand through the Epix app on many different streaming devices.

I encourage you to watch the full hour, because it's a very funny show, and because Michael Ian Black really needs this, guys. But if you're only interested in seeing my bit, start from the 48-minute mark. That should give you enough context for maximum enjoyment.

Oh, and buy my book, okay? The ebook editions are all on sale.

More info: Michael Ian Black to debut stand-up special on Epix—exclusive

Crossposted from Inhuman Swill

The Accidental Terrorist: Order Your Copy Now!

About the Book

What happens when an ambivalent young Mormon missionary is pushed to the limit in a challenge to prove his faith? Hint: the outcome is explosive. The Accidental Terrorist is the long-awaited memoir from Hugo and Nebula Award–nominated author William Shunn, based on his popular podcast. Available now from Sinister Regard!