How To Be Amazing With Michael Ian Black
Folks expecting Michael’s dry wit and heady brand of humor will be pleased for sure, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the How To Be Amazing podcast is ultimately a show about exploring the creative process and finding true fulfillment in life.
Michael Ian Black is disarming with his guests, builds great rapport, and asks all the right questions to unearth real gems of wisdom during his interviews.
He gets beyond the superficial in order to uncover the building blocks of success, the inevitable pains of failure, and most importantly the persistence it takes to truly become amazing at anything.
Ian Black accents these compelling tales of triumph with just the right amount of well-timed humor to make this show a top notch form of inspirational entertainment.
To help pay homage to this finely produced show as well as curate some of the heavy hitter episodes for you, not ranked in any special order, we have compiled an all-star feature.
Here are the top episodes of How To Be Amazing with Michael Ian Black:
1. Lin Manuel-Miranda
I am fascinated by anyone who breaks through convention and shakes up the old guard of long-standing institutions. Melding hip-hop with traditional Broadway-style entertainment was a genius move and clearly, there was a massive audience awaiting it based on the high-level success of Hamilton. Now you can get the backstory on the genesis of this smash his production along with the rise of the creative powerhouse that is Lin Manuel-Miranda.
2. Amy Schumer
Amy Schumer has exploded into a whole other level of stardom for comedy. Being featured in movies and touring in arenas, she is at the top of the comedy game right now with not many other comedians approaching her level of fame. She is also fully empowered and a strong advocate for women’s issues. Amy gives a humorous and vulnerable glimpse into her life in this episode.
3. Brian Greene
Brian Greene is a physicist and string theorist, so in other words a brilliant individual. He clearly has a passion for teaching and a desire for everyone to be intrigued by math and science. Brian has a unique way of taking complex concepts and distilling them down to a relatable level for all of us.
4. Harlan Coben
I love Harlan Coben’s philosophies on creativity and writing. He takes a blue-collar approach towards the craft. Harlan does not believe creativity strikes you like a bolt of lightning but instead it needs to be fostered and tended to through conscious actions of tried and true work. This is a powerful episode for anyone pursuing any sort of writing or creative endeavor.
5. Alexis Ohanian
Alexis Ohanian is a co-founder of Reddit, one of the biggest online properties in the history of the internet. Ohanian has some interesting takes on the importance of the internet for eliminating gatekeepers, allowing for distribution to now be accessible for all, and ultimately becoming a platform that lets anyone pursue any sort of self-directed dream they can imagine.
6. Katy Perry
Celebrity does not get much bigger and brighter than pop music star Katy Perry. I thought she came off cool, self-aware, and inspiring in this discussion with Michael. I give a ton of credit and respect to Perry as well, for being open about suffering trauma in her past. What a fascinating look at one of the biggest names in celebrity right now.
7. Alyssa Milano
Anyone in my peer group, Generation X, most likely has a soft spot in their heart for Milano. We came of age right along with her while she starred in the smash hit 80’s sitcom Who’s The Boss. Milano somehow navigated the treacherous waters of being a child actor in Hollywood and avoided the many pitfalls her peers succumbed to, like drug and alcohol abuse.
8. Reza Aslan
I am fascinated by spirituality and while not an active member of any sort of organized religion I am also curious about their origins and the roles they play in modern society. Reza Aslan is a brilliant thinker and scholar. The first several minutes of this episode, in particular, are interesting, with Reza’s acknowledgment that there is much disagreement and discrepancy on the definitions of words like God and religion.
9. Charles Limb
Dr. Charles Limb is a surgeon, neuroscientist, and passionate enthusiast of all things music. Dr. Limb is on a quest to take a scientific approach towards the studying of the creative process. In particular, he gets into a fascinating discussion about the ways our brains respond and act during periods of spontaneous creativity versus the brain’s response to performing memorized works of art.
10. Ira Glass
To say that Ira Glass is the host of This American Life podcast is probably a bit limiting in describing his connection, value, and contribution to the podcast juggernaut. For anyone who does any sort of content creation or is pursuing any sort of endeavor in life, this episode contains great lessons about persistence, collaboration, and taking control of your vision.
Are you a fan of How To Be Amazing With Michael Ian Black? Who is your favorite guest?