Actor Michael Ian Black said in an
interview Thursday that he was furious at his mother and her partner
for assuming that he was gay as a teenager.
Black, who is 44, appeared on NPR's
Fresh Air to promote his new book, Navel Gazing: True Tales
of Bodies Mostly Mine (But also my mom's which I know sounds weird).
He said that his mother came out when
he was about 5.
“And that broke up my parents'
marriage, not that it was on very firm footing to begin with,”
Black told Terry Gross. “And then she entered a very long kind of
abusive relationship – which is the relationship that I grew up
within – with a woman I call Elaine in the book. We talked a lot
about the traumas of her sexuality, and a lot of it was traumatic.
Her parents forced her to undergo shock therapy when she was in her
late teens ... to 'un-gay' her. ... In fact, it kind of wiped her
memory clean of a lot of her early life.”
“I was probably 13, 14, something
like that, and I was mortified and infuriated and it was so
presumptuous of them and crossing so many boundaries,” he said of
his mother and her partner assuming that he was gay. “I didn't
even know how to respond. I was just sputtering with rage when they
said this to me. In retrospect, I get it. I do understand why they
thought I may have been gay, and the answers are because I was
interested in theater and because my friends were mostly female and
because, I don't know, I maybe expressed myself a certain way or
spoke in a certain way.”
Black added that he's often cast in gay
“I'm almost always hired to play gay.
Like, it's never left, that whole thing. My first movie role was in
Wet Hot American Summer, where I play a gay counselor. I've
played gay in so many things. It's like with anything else, you just
kind of make peace with it at a certain point. I can do that for you.
I can do other things and hopefully people will see me and let me do
other things, and they have thankfully, particularly in recent years.
But yeah, I always get hired to play gay,” he said.