Michael Ian Black (Michael Ian Schwartz) was born on August 12, 1971, is an American comedian, actor, writer & director. He has starred in different TV comedy series, including The State, Ed, Viva Variety, Stella & Michael & Michael Have Issues. He is also a prominent poker player, appearing on Celebrity Poker Showdown different times. He released a well-received children’s book, Chicken Cheeks, in 2009. Black was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Jill, a store owner, and Robert Schwartz, an executive. He grew up in Hillsborough Township, New Jersey, where he went to Hillsborough High School. His parents divorced when he was three years old. When he was 12, his father died during neurological surgery following a mysterious assault. His birth name, Schwartz, is derived from the German word “schwarz,” w/c has the same meaning as his stage name, Black. Schwartz changed his name to Michael Ian Black because there was already a popular actor named Michael Schwartz. Black attended Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Training Center in New York & Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, but later dropped out. Black wrote a book titled My Custom Van … & 50 Other Mind-Blowing Essays That Will Blow Your Mind All Over Your Face, w/c was published on July 15, 2008. Black is the host of Reality Bites Back, a scripted reality show that premiered July 17 on Comedy Central.
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Black also developed another show for Comedy Central titled Michael Ian Black Doesn’t Understand. The concept was later retooled as Michael & Michael Have Issues; a pilot episode, holding Michael Showalter, was shot in August 2008. Comedy Central confirmed in February 2009 that a seven-episode run of the show would air in July. His 1st children’s book, Chicken Cheeks, was published by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing on January 6, 2009. The book is illustrated by Kevin Hawkes. In a starred review, Kirkus called the book “a perfect collaboration of text & illustration.” An alternative review was aired on the Michael Showalter ShowAlter. Michael Black came out in several Sierra Mist & Klondike commercials, & an eBay commercial with Showalter. On February 21, 2009, Black instigated a “Celeb-Feud” or as he called it, the “World’s first Twitter War” with Levar Burton to see if he can muster more followers than Burton on the popular networking site Twitter. Black dubbed the feud “LeWar.”
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