The actor/musician talks about his new TV show and with the state of rock today
Your character in political comedy The Brink, Coppins, is in the thick of geopolitical crisis [a rogue general has seized control of Pakistan and its nuclear weapons]. Would you be calm in a crisis?
I am not the person you want in charge during a catastrophe. I am so cowardly. There have been times when I have been in extreme situations where I behaved less than courageously. I am no one’s super hero. I wish that I was. I wish that when there is danger, I could be depended on. But I know myself and unfortunately I’m not.
Why, for you, is this the funniest show of the year?
Well, you know, it is a certain kind of humour which I think is rare – when you get comedy, action and politics mixed together. There’s not that many other shows with that particular hybrid. It’s a kind of humour I’ve never done before.
Episode one has sex, guns and explosions – is that a good indication of what the entire season will be like?
Yeah! Although the characters evolve and go through some changes. I mature a little bit. But I am still that loveable party animal who you’ll always want to hang out with.
Does working on a show like this make you anxious about international events? We live in a world where nations with a nuclear arsenal being overthrown by rogue leaders doesn’t actually seem so fictional…Homeland
Are you an anxious person in general?
I do have some anxiety – but it’s mostly performance anxiety. But don’t worry! There is a pill for that!
You are a producer on the show as well. Is working behind the camera something you’d want to do more of? Would you consider directing?
I’m not looking for directing projects, but I do enjoy producing and getting shows off the ground in the development process. I like telling stories and helping other people to get their visions to the screen.
Is it hard not to collapse laughing on the set of a show like this, with such brilliant characters?
It’s fine, as long as you are not f*cking anyone else up. It’s just a bummer if someone laughs during someone else’s brilliantly, incredibly funny take – that is a real faux pas. I think they should actually dock your pay for something like that – if you hurt the quality of the show. It can be tough [not to laugh], but you just have to bite your lip. Sometimes comedy lightening only strikes once.
Which other comedians out there are making you laugh these days?Saturday Night LiveThat’s When You Break
Have you had any time left to work on a new album release for your rock band with Kyle Gass, Tenacious D? We have a new album in the works, but we are very slow. Don’t hold your breath for that one. Look for it around 2020.
Genius can’t be rushed. Exactly! When the album is released it will be so Earth-shattering that people won’t like it at first. And then five years later they will be like: ‘Wait a second! That was the best album back then. Why didn’t we give them the Grammy?’ And it will be too late. It’s like Stanley Kubrick. People look back and think: “He was the greatest director of all time! How many best director Oscars did he get? Wait – zero?!” He was that good. If you get zero awards, that’s how good you are.
In the UK we’re bit obsessed with the fact that rock‘n’roll is dead – as a rock man yourself, do you think that’s true? Well, I heard that there were a lot of people complaining about Kanye West headlining Glastonbury this year. Y’all need to chill because Kanye is Yeezus! Dude, there is no better album. He is the f*cking king! Just get out of his way. He crushes everyone else. Who would be better, right now, to headline Glastonbury? And you can’t say: ‘Anyone from the particular genre of rock‘n’roll.’ No! That is a lazy answer.
Do you think there is a lot of mediocre music out there at the moment? There is not much good rock at the moment, but there are great musicians. There is no one that is breaking my heart and digging deep into my soul. That’s when I know I’ve struck gold – when I feel alive and love existence. There isn’t much of that out there right now. Who is the Neil Young of our time? That is the question. And the answer is we are in a bit of a lull. But something will be coming soon. I can feel it. A powerful wave of creativity is coming soon to an eardrum near you.
The Brink begins Monday 22 June on Sky Atlantic and Now TV