Yes, he’s that wiseacre from VH1. But there’s so much more to the man best-known for his work with sketch troupe the State and for hosting multiple editions of the “I Love the [insert decade here]” pop-culture flashback series. Black’s new book, “You’re Not Doing It Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death, and Other Humiliations,” is filled with humor, pathos and poetic prose — revealing Black, 40, to be both an empathetic observer of the human condition and an excellent writer.
Why write a semi-serious memoir now?
It came from feeling increasingly misunderstood professionally and, sometimes, personally. I was so shrouded in my own persona that I didn’t give people the opportunity to see me as anything other than an [expletive] on VH1. I am an [expletive] on VH1, but I can be an [expletive] on many other networks, too.
Was it hard to not end every chapter on a punch line?
For a comedian, it’s hard to let go of being funny all the time because so much of that is how you define yourself. I have often felt very constrained by that.
What was the biggest hurdle to writing such an honest book?
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It’s learning to trust that me, as myself, am enough. Even talking to you now, I have to resist the urge to be self-effacing or glib — it’s not easy for me. I’ve built up these expectations for who I am, and I’m now in the process of tearing those down.