Issue-Having Michaels and the State of Things (TV)

Michael & Michael Have Issues Michael & Michael Have Issues, a headbirth of Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter (note that, so as to not get political, from now on I’ll refer to them as M&M because I can’t be sure which Michael comes first in the title, and I only mentioned Mr. Showalter after Mr. Black above for alphabetical reasons), is, simply put, an upcoming television show. Premiering on Comedy Central July 15  at 10:30 EST, the show is a sketch show about M&M making their own sketch show, according to a press release from Comedy Central. We’re in store for some meta-sketching, it seems. But not to worry—we may be in good hands.

The folks over at Punchline Magazine, a website that takes comedy seriously, had the good fortune of seeing the pilot. The show, according to Punchline, is “fucking hilarious” and suitable for those who got down on the idiosyncratic humor of Stella and also for newcomers unfamiliar with M&M but looking for something edgier than SNL.

Comedy Central has had mixed results with its original seasonal programming. Many shows, like Freak Show and Dog Bites Man (and Stella, for that matter), go unappreciated and don’t live to see a second season. Others, like Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist and Strangers with Candy, have a decent go at it. And still others, like South Park and Reno 911!, endure.

What does this mean for M&M? If precedent is any indicator, things could be good for them. Like Chappelle’s Show and Important Things with Demetri Martin, M&MHI features sketches from the minds of very funny people. Chappelle’s show did very well until Dave decided he didn’t want it to anymore, and Martin’s show is getting a second season. Plus, M&M have already proven in their careers that they know how to make some funny sketches, in particular, and funny stuff, in general. There’s also this clip from the M&MHI pilot to consider:

Michael & Michael Have Issues Premieres Wed, July 15, 10:30pm / 9:30c


If this isn’t convincing, take M&M apart and restore them to their original state as Michaels—just Michael and Michael (or maybe Michael versus Michael). By many measures they are individual successes, with, between them, dozens of shows and movies, a few comedy albums, some kids, a bunch of cats, a wife, at least one commercial parody, a collection of mind-blowing essays (in paperback July 14), a web talk show, and a children’s book. (Because I’m being the paragon of pre-Pearl Harbor U.S. noninterventionism and somewhat of a sleeping giant here, I’ll not mention who did or has what, but I will note this: children’s-book-author Michael has a last name that is the color of clothing worn by people in a grim mood, a mood in which one might often find the other Michael, perhaps because he has no children’s book of which to speak. In all fairness it should be noted that grim Michael has dabbled in the erotic-travelogue genre.) That said, it’s M&M’s work together that seems to lend them their greatest notoriety, which collaborations include Stella, a stand-up tour, and, of course, The State.

In the same week that M&MHI hits airwaves, M&M receive their first royalty checks from the DVD sales of The State: The Complete Series, which releases July 14. If you can’t wait until then, check out some clips via MTV’s website.

The DVD set’s release has been much discussed at O&B. First, there’s excitement of the set’s existence and, second, there’s the worry that things’ve changed. Not that the show won’t be funny to us anymore, but that the sketches will have been literally altered. “I hope the music’s the same as when the show originally aired,” O&B’s Chris began to bloviate. “I can’t imagine, for instance, the ‘Pants’ skit w/o [the Breeders’] ‘Cannonball’ . . .” (It’s so obnoxious when Chris speaks with abbreviations and slashes and brackets, though the ellipsis is a nice touch.)

While we don’t know the fate of any of the music or what went on with rights, comments sections everywhere are ablaze with worries similar to Chris’s. See what Venkman1984 (thanks for the tip, Rick Klau), Lifelong Ambition – Movie Usher, or LutherMac has to say about this.

Sci Fi Wire, currently powered by the Sci Fi Network (soon to be SyFy, on July 7 actually, a full week before The State‘s DVD set hits markets; also, Sci Fi Wire will remain just that and not transmogrify into SyFy Wyre, according to a SyFy press release), quotes Thomas Lennon, who you know from The State and Reno 911! (but you may not know him as the cowriter of Taxi [the Jimmy Fallon vehicle not the sitcom], The Pacifier, Herbie Fully Loaded, and both Nights at the Museum even though he is; this isn’t a judgment, mind you; just a little surprising; I’d’ve written all of those and more for a quarter of what Mr. Lennon got paid had I the chance), as saying, “[I]f [the music] wasn’t cleared, we had to redo it.”

The State DVD

Lennon further notes that there are lots of extras, some admittedly crappy (like cut sketches too subpar for televisual release) and others pretty great (like commentary on every episode, if that’s your sort of thing like it is mine). Though the set is complete in a sense, it won’t be packaged with The State‘s uninformed, poorly researched, and out-of-print guide to the United States. That’s a battle for another decade.

To wrap things up, July is M&M Appreciation Month, so, if you enjoy them, why not support them? If you don’t like them, how’d you get down here?

What this accidentally long-winded post should’ve been: Michael & Michael Have Issues premieres July 15. I’m looking forward to it and so should you. Speaking of things we should be looking forward to, The State comes out on DVD the day before the show premieres.

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