Comedian Michael Ian Black’s ‘House Hunters’ Obsession

Michael Ian Black (Jim Spellman/WireImage)
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Michael Ian Black (Jim Spellman/WireImage)

When he appears on VH1's "I Love the ..." series to reflect on 2012, odds are good that comedian Michael Ian Black will be talking about "House Hunters" and its sister show "House Hunters International," in which a couple is given three choices for a new home, weighing factors such as budget, location, and space. Black, who's also known for starring in the MTV sketch show "The State" and the NBC dramedy "Ed," is such a fan of the HGTV reality shows that he often tweets -- in his signature deadpan style -- while watching them. Sample quote: "If they don't pick house #2, I will hire Jason Bourne to take them out." The devotee even hosted a party for the network at a house in New Orleans during Mardi Gras to promote a new game, House Hunters Bingo, that viewers can play along with the show. (Cards with phrases that are often repeated on "House Hunters" like "this is nice," "wow," and "look at the view" are available for free to print out at the show's website.)

Black, 40, who lives with his wife and two kids in rural Redding, Connecticut, spoke with omg! about the reality TV obsession that, interestingly enough, he shares with comedienne Tina Fey and "Cougar Town's" Busy Philipps.

How did you first start watching "House Hunters"?
I started watching with my wife because we have so little to talk about. The one thing we can agree on is watching "House Hunters." And we can yell at that couple on the screen for making terrible decisions instead of looking at our own relationship and questioning every decision we've ever made. We can just fault other people. That keeps us together. Pointing the finger in judgment is the best way to keep your relationship together. I'm willing to give free relationship advice as well.

Michael Ian Black (HGTV/Scripps Networks)
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Michael Ian Black (HGTV/Scripps Networks)

Besides the fact that it helps you bond with your wife, what else do you really like about the show?
Like a lot of people, I am voyeuristic, so I like to see how other people are living or how they would like to live, and then I like to compare the decisions I would make with the decisions they make, and then I also like to compare their actual budgets with my hypothetical budget if I was looking for a house. As a way of keeping score on some level, like, 'Oh, I can afford that house.'

Which city would you want to be doing "House Hunters" in?
Portland, Oregon. Or maybe Athens, Georgia. Or maybe New Orleans. I'm a man with varied interests, and intense knowledge … about everything. So I would enjoy Portland for the scenery, the lively youth culture, and the doughnut shop. I like Athens because of its collegiate atmosphere, and it's a sort of small town with a very sort of fun and clubby -- not in a dance clubby way -- but it's a fun little college town. Now New Orleans you would come to for the culture and the architecture.

"House Hunters" HGTV/Scripps Networks
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"House Hunters" HGTV/Scripps Networks

What would be your requirements for a property if you were on "House Hunters"?
I've got two kids, so I'd say three bedrooms, two baths, stripper pole ... I think that's it. I think those are my non-negotiables.

Those are pretty easy -- except for the stripper pole.
Well, I'm not installing my own, it's got to have the stripper pole. Because you don't want to just install one of these nouveau riche stripper poles. You want it to have had some history, you know, you want it to have grime.

What else are you working on?
I have a [fifth] book coming out called You're Not Doing It Right.

Congratulations! What's this one about?
My marriage and becoming a father, oddly enough. (At this point, Black looks it up on to show me the book's Amazon ranking, #2,211 days before its release.) Could we be doing better in the rankings? Sure, sure, but it's not out yet.

Black's new book, You're Not Doing It Right, hits stores February 28.

New episodes of "House Hunters" air on HGTV at 10 p.m. ET/PT weeknights.

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