Three longtime friends and comedic writers got together to make a concept album featuring aliens, a zombie apocalypse, time travel, and Alex Trebek. Joel and Stephen Levinson along with Rob Kutner call it “2776”, the year the album takes place. The premise of 2776 entails Will Forte (acting as the future president of America), trying to convince an evil alien (played by Martha Plimpton) not to destroy Earth. Why? Because America, that’s why. The rest of the album involves time travel through the past, present, and future. Spanning several centuries as well as several genres, the 28-track album is a jam-packed hilarious journey into a universe where eventually Canada saves the day.
The album features an incredible roster of talent, including Paul F. Tompkins, Andrew WK, Reggie Watts, Aimee Mann, KD Lang, Will Forte, Martha Plimpton, and many more. All these names signed on, and from there the Levinson brothers and Kutner had to struggle to make an epic album with almost no budget. The album is a labor of love, and all the proceeds go to charity. I met the three ambitious philanthropists at a bar, where we drank and talked about the project.
Filmdrunk: Explain to me what this whole thing is, all of “2776”. How did the idea come about, and what is the concept?
Rob: A couple years ago it was the 40th anniversary of “Free To Be…You and Me”. Joel, Stephen, and I have been working together for many years doing all kinds of stuff. Joel is an awesome songwriter and I thought what if someone did just sort of an homage to “Free to Be…You and Me”, and what if we did it for charity so celebrities can make time for it and it could all go to a good cause. So we planned that all about three weeks, right before the birth of my second child which I don’t recommend.
Joel: We started brainstorming and were just like “what is an idea where we could put in every stupid joke we have?” That’s what 2776 is. A thousand years of American history: the past, the present, the future.
Rob: We could geek out about Thomas Jefferson, and zombie robots.
Filmdrunk: So is there a clear story-line?
Stephen: There is a story-line that comes along in a couple of places throughout it. It’s the year 2776 and Will Forte is the president of the US, and he’s an idiot. Martha Plimpton is an alien about to destroy the earth but Forte says “No, no you can’t destroy the earth. The earth contains America!” So he and his body guard, Aubrey Plaza, take the alien on a time traveling journey throughout all the past and future of America. They pick up George Washington (Paul F. Tompkins) along the way and he’s no help at all.