Tenacious D Interview: Jack Black and Kyle Gass Preview Their Santa Monica Pier Comedy Fest

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Tue, Oct 15, 2013 at 5:00 AM

click to enlarge MICHAEL ELINS
  • Michael Elins

Four stages, seven hours, one of the most impressive gatherings of musical-comedy acts ever assembled (plus Neil Hamburger). On Saturday October 19, Tenacious D's inaugural Festival Supreme brings the likes of Adam Sandler, the Mr. Show Experience, Monty Python's Eric Idle, Sarah Silverman, Reggie Watts and many more together on the Santa Monica Pier.

The Greatest Band in the World turned Greatest Festival Organizers in the World phoned up to talk logistics, lineups and artistic legacies.

How go the preparations for Festival Supreme?

Jack Black: It's insane! Not all is champagne at the Skybar. It's not all unicorns and rainbows. You've got to crack a lot of skulls. You've got to crack a lot of whips. You've got to stay on people. My ear's hurting from cellular heat. We've got to make sure that the foods are delicious and nutritious. We don't want it to be the usual things, so we're talking to the vendors about the different options and all the prices. Making sure that everything's succulent but yet organic.

Kyle Gass: We have to come up with names for the cocktails.

What are some of the leading names so far?

Black: I think the drinks names have to be a surprise when you get there and you get to the bar, and you see the names of the drinks.

Gass: Unless...you can promise us a [L.A. Weekly] cover.

That might be out of my hands.

Gass: You drive a tough bargain.

Black: But that's the thing. When you curate a festival, one of the jobs is to think of fantastic drink names that are appropriate. And you've got to make sure that those toilets are scrubbed clean, pay the extra money to have the most pleasurable trips to the abode possible, and I mean squeaky clean. I want them to smell good! This is important! We've been to hundreds of festivals, and these are the things that we walk around, going, "You know, if someone would have just done this and that..." So this is the time where we have to say, "Okay, let's not do all the things that they don't do right!"

Gass: Spare no expense!

Was that the primary goal you had in mind when setting this up?

Black: Well, it's kind of like throwing a party. You want it to be the most pleasurable experience for everyone. You don't want to ever let the ball drop, so a lot of the planning is just with schedule and looking at the lineup, and shuffling the cards over and over so you go, "Oh yeah, this flows nicely into that, these people belong in a tent, this person's comedy is going to do better in an intimate setting so put them over there, this comedy is obviously big band, big explosions, so put them on the open-air stage." It's a lot of dealing with the artists' needs. A lot of the artists have a lot of needs and want to talk a lot about the things they want to do. There's a lot of building happening for certain people. Some people have choreography; we've got to make sure that they're going to be safe and well taken care of.

Gass: In terms of the lineup, we just made a wish list of who's the greatest comedian/musical performers that we know. And most of them are doing it.

Black: You're not going to be able to see everything. You'll have to make some tough choices. But if you plan correctly, you will be able to see the perfect festival for you. That's the way festivals work, though. Sometimes you've got to make Sophie's Choice. You're going to go see Sarah Silverman, or you're going to go check out Tim Minchin, or whatever the choice may be.

See also: 10 Best Stand-Up Comedy Shows in L.A.

After the original lineup announcement was made there were some additions: Patton Oswalt, Tim Minchin, as you said, and Sasquatch.

Gass: He might have been our hardest booking. It's hard to get a hold of him.

Sure, with him not having a phone or computer. Is there any hint to what role he might be playing in the Festival, or who some of the "Mega Mystery Guests" might be?

Gass: Well, if the cover comes through, all of these secrets will be revealed. And we would love to tell you.

Black: I don't think we can give them even with the cover.

Gass: Yeah, you're right.

Black: It's a secret. We're legally binded by that secret. But it's safe to say that the Mega Mystery will be revealed at the end of the night. But it's big. It's Mega.

Up next: How Eric Idle got involved

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