Reddit’s “IAmA” question-and-answer sessions can be thorny territory for celebrities brave enough to wade into the seething, snarking masses. Redditors who catch the scent of bald PR stunts can rhetorically (and gleefully) crap on promotions-friendly scripts and set them on fire. Comedian, author and Expedia.com naked traveler Michael Ian Black has just braved the wilds of the web’s premiere link aggregator and as far as we can tell, survived.
Reflecting on Woody Harrelson’s no-good, very bad Reddit experience a few months ago, Betabeat asked Mr. Black to comment on the session.
He told us he was familiar with the IAmA sub-Reddit but not a frequent visitor to the site in general. “But,” he said, “I heard they have a subgroup for Furries so I’ll probably be there a lot more often in the future.”
Regarding his reasons for the IAmA, Mr. Black said, “I would never do one of those for kicks. It was too stressful trying to keep up.” The IAmA, he said, was “definitely for my new book.”
Questions posed to Mr. Black went in unpredictable directions. Mr. Black, who first achieved notice as a cast member on MTV’s mid-1990s comedy improv show The State, rolled with the punches. “They were pretty good questions, for the most part,” he told Betabeat, “I mean, what are you supposed to ask somebody other than the normal questions about career or stupid jokey questions.”
“I was more interested in the stupid jokey questions,” Mr. Black said, “But only because the career-related ones were so familiar to me.”
Mashable aggregated some of the funnier exchanges, like the following, which had the added advantage of explaining the conception of the book Mr. Black wrote with Ms. McCain:
unequalized: How did your roadtrip/book project with Meghan McCain come about? Is she as down-to-earth and not-as-nuts-as-her-last-name-implies as she comes across on Twitter? Also, since you were part of MTV in the ’90s, what’s your take on the shitshow it has become now?
One night, I was on Ambien and got on Twitter. Saw that she was on too, and asked her if she wanted to write a book together. (We’d only met, one time, over satellite.) So we didn’t know each other before we agreed to write America, You Sexy Bitch. We just decided to do it on a whim and hit the road together for a month. And yes, she is both as down-to-earth and crazy as you would think.
On Twitter, Mr. Black recently complained of a virulent case of poison ivy:
My poison ivy now has syphilis.
— Michael Ian Black (@michaelianblack) June 9, 2012
We asked him if this apparently Ebola-like strain of ivy had any effect on his ability to answer Redditors’ questions. Mr. Black said, “It’s not Ebola. It’s the leprosy strain. It means that my limbs are going to fall off in the itchiest way possible.” Mr. Black said his severe poison ivy did affect his typing during the IAmA. His fingers, he said, were “bubbly from oozing pus, which is worse for keyboards than Diet Dr. Pepper, and only half as delicious.”
As Redditors might do in any given IAmA thread, we strayed off-topic and asked Mr. Black about the Twitter war he started a couple of years ago with actor and director LeVar Burton, of Star Trek: Next Generation and Reading Rainbow fame.
Mr. Black was solemn. “I will always be at war with LeVar,” he said, “It is now America’s longest Twitter war, eclipsing even the Alexander Hamilton-Aaron Burr Twitter War of 1801-1804.”
We will update this post if Mr. Burton gets back to us or Mr. Black is indeed discovered frequenting the Furries sub-Reddit.