“What’s up, roxx?”
Jack Black tests this joke out a couple of times over the phone, complete with a Bugs Bunny inflection, to see if it lands. Of course it lands. Black and his longtime bandmate/comedy partner Kyle Gass have made a career out of landing referential jokes and difficult jokes and crude jokes and just about any kind of joke you can think of. It’s what has allowed the duo, known as Tenacious D, to become a comedy institution for more than 20 years.
The pair, whose friendship dates back to 1985, first gained widespread notice with their eponymous HBO series and have gone on to win a Grammy award (for Best Metal Performance of all things), have released their own theatrical film (2006’s cult classic The Pick Of Destiny), and ascended to the status of festival headliner over the course of their three previous studio albums. Album No. 4 arrives on November 2, titled Post-Apocalypto.
But Tenacious D isn’t as interested in talking about their latest album in the context of its album-ness. No, Post-Apocalypto is more a film, being released weekly on Youtube in installments. The movie finds Black and Gass in the world of animation, with Black handling all the artwork and both men providing all the voices. With characters ranging from aliens to terminators to Elon Musk, it plays as a DIY look into their spastic and sharp minds, with the stars capitalizing on their ability to riff on each other, as well as their very R-rated sense of humor.
But while Post-Apocalypto features an abundance of dick drawings and sex jokes, it’s not without its social relevance. The entire concept speaks to the perilous world of the Donald Trump presidency, where the end of the planet seems more real than ever before, be it from humanity’s direct impact or via the people that have been elected to make decisions for us.
And to coincide with the launch of the movie and record, the band will be hitting the road to support it. Black likens the upcoming run to the biggest rock operas ever conceived, The Wall and Tommy, but with surely a ton more laughs than any of those other pieces. Because that’s what Tenacious D do better than any other band in existence, placing humor and songcraft together in harmony, with each elevating the other. Even with a concept as grim as the end of the world, the amount of fun that these guys have together is palpable.
Check out Chapter 4 of Post-Apocalypto below, and catch up on the previous three installments at Tenacious D’s Youtube channel. Below is our conversation covering why robots may be humans’ greatest achievements, whether Dave Grohl would get upset if he didn’t get called to drum for them, and why their Festival Supreme isn’t coming back anytime soon.
There is this realization in watching the film and listening to the album, even though it is really funny, that the world is f*cked right now in a very different way that’s portrayed. And I feel like that’s the impetus behind why you made the album, right?
Jack Black: It’s really just an album and a movie for our times, and we felt like we really had to make this movie and album. We really think of it as a movie, and the album is like the soundtrack, but the real thing here is the movie. We made this movie because we felt like it was our civic duty.
Kyle Gass: Our patriotic duty.
JB: Listen, I feel like maybe we’re uniquely qualified to take on this particular moment in history. We’re kind of similar to and share a disease with Trump. So when Trump goes out there and does his f*cking thing, we recognize it. We know this con that he’s playing because we also have narcissism disorder. I’m like ‘I see what you’re doing by saying you’re the f*cking best and you alone can save the world.’ I know what that is. You know what I mean, Kage?
KG: I do, I do. It takes one to know one.
JB: I don’t see a lot of other bands or musicians really going at him the way that they should, so I’m like ‘f*ck it, we’ll do it!’
KG: I hope we get a Tweet from him
JB: I feel like Kanye has narcissism disease, too, but he’s decided if you can’t beat him, join him. But we’re like ‘F*CK THAT, WE CAN BEAT HIM. LET’S BEAT HIM!’