Jack Black is best known for his infectious
comedic presence on the screen and on the stage as the lead singer
of band Tenacious D.
But there's plenty more to this energetic, attention-getting
funny-man than just slapstick routines and an over-the-top
hyper-hip persona. He's also a dad, a quiet champion for the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation, and
most recently, a lazy hunter/gatherer in the comedy, Year One.
Do you feel you embody Cosmic Shame (the lyrics in
this Jack Black, Kyle Glass compilation urge listeners to "follow
your heart/even when your heart cuts like a fart") like in your
Tenacious D song?
Exactly. Nice reference.
Other than the animated films you've been in, what
is your favorite animated film?
Well, my favorite performance in an animated film is probably
Robin Williams in [Disney's] Aladdin. I thought he was so awesome
as the Genie. That was like one of my favorite things he's ever
done for sure. And when I was a kid I really loved [Disney's]
Fantasia and this other movie called Allegro non troppo [a Bruno
Bozzetto animated parody]. I was a big animation buff as a kid. I
wanted to be an animator for a while.
Part of your comedy lies in what you've referred to
as your eyebrow technique. Does this technique come into play when
you're doing voice work, too?
There's plenty of that eyebrow workout happening, yes. I burn a
lot of eyebrow calories.
Do you find that it helps with your comedic
My eyebrows? Of course. I should insure them with Llloyds of
London. Powerful brows.
What was your secret desire as a
You know, I wanted to be in the arts. I didn't have a secret
about it. Everybody I knew wanted to be a painter, or an actor, a
musician or something but I just liked having attention, and I
think that's why I ended up going into acting because it felt like
that was where the most attention was. So maybe that was my secret.
I was desperate to be the center of attention.
Has being a dad changed the way you look at your
career? Do you find yourself drawn towards different types of
I guess I definitely feel more comfortable doing movies that
are, you know, strictly for like a family-oriented audience. I
don't feel insecure about that at all anymore. Like I might've
before gone, oh no, that's going to hurt my indie cred in the rock
world. I don't really care about that now.
When you did The School of Rock it involved nothing
but hanging around with kids all day. At the time, it was probably
a pain. Now that you're a parent, do you think that it was a good
Yes, it was good because I definitely got over my fears of kids
when I did that movie. Going into it I was like, oh no, what if
they don't like me? What if they think I'm boring or uncool? And
now I realize that you don't have to have all those insecurities.
Just be yourself. And kids are people too.
They were probably worried about the same things in
terms of hanging out with you.
Yes. Maybe. So at the end of that movie I didn't go oh, never
again, at all. On the contrary. I was like, that was the best cast
I've ever worked with and I'll definitely work with kids again. And
yes, it was all positive.
On to fatherhood part two. Congratulations on said
part two by the way.
Thank you. My personal family sequel.
What is the most surprising or unexpected thing
Samuel's taught you? My other half wants to know if you eat his
I do eat his leftovers, now that you mention it.
I eat my own son's leftovers, too! Well, what his
dad doesn't get dibs on first.
Well, yes, he doesn't eat all of his broccoli. I'll help him out
with that as well as the mac and cheese that there's on his plate
uneaten, and well, you know, as for unexpectedness, I didn't know
how musical he was going to be.
Physically musical or is he a
He's not playing instruments so much , but he's good with a
I hear that.
But he likes to sing and dance a lot. And I've been doing a lot
more dancing than I thought I would be as a dad.
It's like a mini School of Rock…
Yes, it is a School of Rock. He'll be dancing and then he'll
come over and grab my hand and pull me up to dance with him. So,
yes, that. I'm going to say that.
Tell me about your involvement with the United
Mitochondrial Disease Foundation. How did you come about choosing
that particular cause?
Someone close to my family is afflicted with mitochondrial
disease [symptoms include loss of motor control, muscle weakness
and pain, gastrointestinal disorders and swallowing difficulties,
poor growth, cardiac disease, liver disease, diabetes, respiratory
complications, seizures, visual/hearing problems, lactic acidosis,
developmental delays and susceptibility to infection], so I got
involved early on and continued to be involved to gain awareness
and you know, try to get support for it and get a cure for it
Maria Pilar Clark is a mom times two and Windy City-based writer.
See more of Pilar's stories here.
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