Black first began acting in a television commercial at age 13 for the video game Pitfall!. Black's acting career began with prime time television. He played roles on shows including Life Goes On, Northern Exposure, Mr. Show, Picket Fences, and The X-Files. Black appeared in the unaired TV pilot Heat Vision and Jack, directed by Ben Stiller, in which he played an ex-astronaut pursued by actor Ron Silver. He was accompanied by his friend who had merged with a motorcycle, voiced by Owen Wilson.
Black later took on small roles in Airborne, Judge Dredd, Waterworld, The Fan, The Cable Guy, Mars Attacks!, Tim Robbins' Dead Man Walking, Enemy of the State, and others. He had a small role in True Romance as a security guard, but the scene was deleted.