Book Review: ‘You’re Not Doing It Right’ by Michael Ian Black

Michael Ian Black will be here at BookPeople Monday, March 5, 7p.

Book: You’re Not Doing It Right by Michael Ian Black
Reviewed by: Joe T.

**Signed copies of this book are now available!**

Like many people my age, I discovered Michael Ian Black during his time on the MTV sketch comedy show, The State. It’s still, to this day, one of my major touchstones for comedy and I’ve followed all the cast members’ careers throughout the years since. With Michael Ian Black, it was Viva Variety, Sierra Mist commercials, Wet Hot American Summer, the television show Ed (highly underrated and richly deserving of a DVD release), and much, much more, so I leaped at the chance to read his new book You’re Not Doing It Right.

I’m not so sure what I expected from the book. Maybe something along the lines of Tina Fey’s Bossypants or Simon Pegg’s Nerd Do Well, or any one of the many comedy books that come out each year: good, funny reads, yet slightly empty of calories. Yeah, that’s pretty much what I was expecting. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

You’re Not Doing It Right is funny. Not laugh out loud funny, but funny nevertheless. But more importantly, it is touching. A couple of times whilst reading it I may have even teared up. But that could have been allergies. For all intents and purposes, it is the story of Michael Ian Black meeting his wife, having children, and basically becoming an adult. It skips through time, covering his childhood raised by his mom and her girlfriend, his first attempts at acting and the progression of his career, and the ins and outs of his relationships. In its touching honesty, it reminds me of a way less sad and maybe even happy version of Rob Sheffield’s memoir Love Is A Mix Tape.

I loved this book. I’ve passed it on to friends singing its praises. I would love to see a Woody Allen-esque film made from it. So, if you read only one Michael Ian Black book this year, read You’re Not Doing It Right.

~Michael Ian Black will speak & sign You’re Not Doing It Right here at BookPeople on Monday, March 5, 7p.

52 thoughts on “Book Review: ‘You’re Not Doing It Right’ by Michael Ian Black

  1. I’ll be in a plane to San Diego this afternoon. With my Kindle Fire. And I’m HOPING this book is available for download, because it sounds like exactly the kind of writing I enjoy!

    As a freelance writer by profession, I enjoy quirky, interesting, thoughtful books. Thanks for the suggestion!


  2. I already knew I’m not doing it right and I demonstrate that every day without fail…over and over and over almost like I have no ability to learn and yet I possess college degrees….it’s very strange….so here’s what I need: a used copy…not highlighted please! with a title like this: “How To Do One Thing Right Enough To Win Approved From The Free Federation Of Feminist Thinkers Or Die Trying….For The Compleat Idiot”…with illustrations please…” send me some prayer too…please….it’s funny…but not to me….

  3. I am so uncool that I have no idea who he is, possibly because I am in bed by 8. Nonetheless, I now want to read it- thanks!

  4. This is great to know. I’ve loved Michael Ian Black ever since I discovered Wet Hot American Summer and Stella, so I’ve been somewhat eager to read his new book but also very hesitant. Knowing that it’s not just another cliche comedian’s book makes me happy to hear. Thanks for the insight!

  5. I agree with your comment on Fey’s book. If you’re looking to another deep comedy book, check out Tracy Morgan’s “I am the New Black”.

    I’m looking for Michael Ian Black’s now on your recommendation. Don’t forget his work in STELLA – the show and the special

  6. Thanks for the review. I haven’t heard of him and probably wouldn’t just pick up this book on my own, but the review makes it sound good enough that I just might. I also like the chance to learn about BookPeople and what you’re doing. Congrats on being FP!

  7. That man has a lot of demons that none of us will probably ever know. Saw him do standup last year. Much different on stage than he is on TV talking about Pop Culture in 15 second intervals. A lot better.

  8. I’m so glad I happened upon this post, I picked this book up yesterday and now cant wait to read it !

  9. I, too, “discovered” Michael Ian Black from “The State” (favorite skit: 240 dollars worth of pudding) and I completely agree that “Ed” IS deserving of a DVD release!!! I loved that show and love Michael Ian Black. I can’t wait to read this book!

  10. Waiting for mine to arrive. Simon Peg’s book is good, but as you say, there are too few funny books. Just the odd one kicking. Have you looked at Malice in Blunderland by Jonny Gibbings yet? So outrageously funny and dark. A new benchmark.

  11. Great review! I’m in the middle of reading this book and I can’t put it down. I do like the combination of humor and the darker sides. I, too, found myself a little misty in some parts (could also be allergies). I went to Michael Ian Black’s reading in NYC last week and it was great to hear him read passages in his deadpan delivery. Hearing him read aloud made some of the more serious passages sound funny.

  12. Nice review! I was a big fan of Ed and his character in particular, though sadly I never got to see the final season through and The State never aired here but I will try and find some to watch all the same.

    This sounds like a book worth reading and I will definitely be looking for a copy.


  13. The first time I ever saw MIB was on those VH1 “I Love the [insert decade here]” specials. I remember thinking, wow, this dude is really funny. Then I saw him in Wet Hot American Summer, which is so awesome. I didn’t know he had written a book at all and after reading your post, I’m eager to read. Thanks!

  14. I do not appreciate Mr. Black’s style of comedy (and didn’t like Ed much) but I am glad to hear he is having success as a writer. I always think it is helpful for entertainers to branch out into different fields. If I come across this book in the library I will definitely check it out.

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