Former Chicago actor Michael Stahl-David has so far been known for more or less serious roles. The youngest person ever to study at The School at Steppenwolf, he appeared here in the About Face Theatre productions of Theater District and One Arm, and the 2003 Chicago premiere of Edward Albee’s The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? at the Goodman  (he played the gay son of a couple whose marriage is threatened when the husband has an affair with a goat). After graduating from Columbia College–where, full disclosure, he was one of my best students–Stahl-David focused on film and TV. He was featured in the 2007 NBC crime series The Black Donnellys (about an Irish-American gang in New York), then popped up on the big screen in the 2008 horror flick Cloverfield, playing a young man whose going-away party is disrupted by a monster.

Now he’s taken steps to display his comic side by starring in his own autobiographical Internet mockumentary, Michael Stahl-David: Behind the Star. Written and directed by Stahl-David and another Columbia alum, Jeremy Beiler, the Web series lampoons a narcissistic young actor’s attempts to conquer Hollywood. Though the real Stahl-David is a down-to-earth, hard-working, disciplined young professional, his portrayal of an ambitious, egotistical dick is so on-target that it might be hard to convince the public he’s not that guy. Of course, being mistaken for an asshole might be a career-booster–the best way to get himself on the cover of the celebrity tabloids.