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The main duty of a People.com staff writer, it would seem, is writing about people. Which might, one would imagine, entail knowing—or finding out—who said people are.
But sometimes you’re on a deadline. Sometimes there’s no leeway to figure these things out, or it doesn’t seem to matter all that much, so you take a shortcut. About 99 times out of 100, your little trick works just fine. Then, once, it doesn’t.
Yes, Michael Ian Black is many things: comedian, actor, writer, director, former Sierra Mist pitch man, Pixar-hater, reality-show-heckler, and idiocy aficionado. But he may, above all, be a troll—hence his less-than-accurate Twitter bio.
Still, we can spare some pity for People.com writer Naja Rayne, who was surely just looking for any witty reply to Donald Trump’s latest batshit soundbite from a verified celeb with a little blue check mark, and has definitely never seen Wet Hot American Summer, let alone Stella or MTV’s seminal ’90s sketch show The State.
After the error had endured long enough to be screenshot and laughed about, People.com did republish the post, now labeling Black a “comedian.” There was no acknowledgement of the correction, because honestly, it was just that embarrassing.
Miles Klee is a novelist and web culture reporter. The former editor of the Daily Dot’s Unclick section, Klee’s essays, satire, and fiction have appeared in Lapham’s Quarterly, Vanity Fair, 3:AM, Salon, the Awl, the New York Observer, the Millions, and the Village Voice. He's the author of two odd books of fiction, 'Ivyland' and 'True False.'