Thomas John "Jack" Black (born August 28, 1969) is an American actor, comedian, and musician. With his friend Kyle Gass, he makes up one half of the comedy and heavy metal music duo Tenacious D. His acting career is extensive, starring primarily as bumbling, cocky, but internally self-conscious outsiders in comedy films. He is a member of the Frat Pack, a group of comedians who have appeared together in several Hollywood films, and has been nominated for a Golden Globe award. He has also won an MTV Movie Award, and a Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award.
Black's acting career began with prime time TV. He played roles on several shows such as: The Golden Palace (Taxi Driver), Life Goes On (skinhead), Northern Exposure (Kevin Wilkins, prom king), HBO's Mr. Show, and Picket Fences (Curtis Williams). In a Season 3 episode of The X-Files, titled "D.P.O.", Black played Bart 'Zero' Liquori, friend to Darren, a teen who could cause lightning strikes, played by Giovanni Ribisi. Black appeared in an un-aired pilot episode for a show directed by Ben Stiller called Heat Vision and Jack where he played an ex-astronaut pursued by actor Ron Silver. He was accompanied by his friend who had merged with a motorcycle, voiced by Owen Wilson.
Black later took on small roles in Airborne, Demolition Man, Waterworld, The Fan, The NeverEnding Story III, The Cable Guy, Bob Roberts, Mars Attacks!, The Jackal, Bye Bye Love, Jesus' Son, Dead Man Walking, Saving Silverman, Enemy of the State, and I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. In High Fidelity, he was cast in the role of Barry, the pretentious co-worker to John Cusack's record store owner, which garnered him more exposure.
His career soon led to leading roles in films such as Shallow Hal, Orange County, School of Rock, Envy, Be Kind Rewind, King Kong, Kung Fu Panda, and Tropic Thunder. Black starred in two films in 2006: Nacho Libre, in which he played a Mexican friar following his childhood dream of wrestling and pursuing true victory by fighting for the children of an orphanage, and Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny, a fictionalized account of the band's formation and their quest to obtain a "supernatural" guitar pick. Nacho Libre opened on June 16, 2006; Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny was released November 22, 2006.
He also guest-starred on The Office along with Cloris Leachman and Jessica Alba in a movie within the show.
Jack Black has appeared numerous times on the "untelevised TV network" short film festival Channel101, starring in the shows Computerman, Timebelt, and Laserfart. He also provided an introduction for the un-aired sketch comedy, Awesometown, donning a Colonial-era military uniform. In the introduction, he claims to be George Washington (and takes credit for the accomplishments of other American Presidents such as Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln), and gives viewers a general idea as to what they should expect from the show. Black has also guest starred in the Adult Swim show Tom Goes to the Mayor as a bear trap store owner.
Black hosted the 2006 Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards on April 1, 2006 and hosted it again on March 29, 2008. He also appeared on the MTV video music awards on August 31, 2006. He is also a member of the Frat Pack, which also includes Owen Wilson, Luke Wilson, Ben Stiller, Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn, and Steve Carell. Jack Black has made five appearances on Saturday Night Live: three times as a host, once as a musical guest (with Kyle Gass as Tenacious D), and another appearance with Tenacious D, not as a host or musical guest. He appeared on VH1's Internet video show Acceptable.TV.
Black has also voice acted for The Simpsons episode "Husbands and Knives", voicing the friendly owner of the rival comic book store, Milo. He will be voicing the main character, roadie Eddie Riggs, in the upcoming rock-themed action-adventure video game, Brütal Legend. Black also appeared in a Who Wants To Be A Millionaire celebrity edition along with Denis Leary, Jimmy Kimmel and others and walked away with US$125,000.
In 2008 he appeared in three films. Black starred alongside Mos Def in the film Be Kind Rewind, which was written and directed by Michel Gondry. He voiced the main character, Po, in the 2008 film Kung Fu Panda for which, he won best actor in an animated movie at the 2009 Kids Choice Awards. Finally, he appeared as Jeff 'Fats' Portnoy in Tropic Thunder. On the 14th of December, Jack Black hosted the Spike TV VGA Awards 2008.
Black is the lead singer for the rock comedy band Tenacious D. They have released two albums, a self-titled debut, and the follow up, The Pick of Destiny, from which one of their songs "The Metal" was used in the music video game "Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock" and "Master Exploder" also went on to be used in music video game Rock Band 2 along with their album 'Tribute'. These two songs feature in the film Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny. The film, directed by Tenacious D veteran Liam Lynch, features recurring characters such as Lee the superfan and Sasquatch. Tim Robbins cameos (both Black and Gass appeared in Robbins' 1999 film Cradle Will Rock), as does Dave Grohl as Satan. Ben Stiller also makes an appearance as a worker at Guitar Center, and also another appearance in the music video for Tribute.
Tenacious D recently helped the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation to raise awareness and funds in San Diego on June 16, 2007. Tenacious D can also be seen performing in the Pauly Shore film Bio-Dome, where the duo are performing their song "The Five Needs" at a "Save the Environment" party. Black was also a guest star on an episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show entitled "Ellen the Musical", alongside Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth and teenage singer-actress Olivia Olson. On the show, besides singing, he discussed his then-upcoming film Nacho Libre with the host.
Black has also appeared on Dave Grohl's Probot album, providing vocals for the hidden song "I Am The Warlock", and Lynch's Fake Songs album, providing vocals for the song "Rock and Roll Whore". Black performed a cover of Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" in the last sequence of High Fidelity. He lent his musical abilities to the Queens of the Stone Age song "Burn the Witch" with rhythmic stomps and claps, some performed with his eyes closed. He also provided vocals for The Lonely Island's track "Sax Man" from the album Incredibad.
Black has appeared in music videos by Beck, "Sexx Laws"; Foo Fighters "Learn To Fly", "Low", and "The One"; The Eagles of Death Metal, "I Want You So Hard (Boy's Bad News)"; Sum 41 "Things I Want"; and Weezer "Photograph."
Black's comedic style combines many key elements from both sides of the traditional double act. Black typically begins a skit in which he presents an earnest introduction to a premise or subject that quickly reveals itself to be flawed or fundamentally ludicrous. Black then switches completely to a far-extreme caricature of human emotion.
His would-be straight-man Gass often functions to trigger these outbursts. Tenacious D’s subject matter illustrates this technique. In "Tribute", Tenacious D tells a story in which they claim to have performed "The Greatest Song in the World" for a "Shiny Demon" who would otherwise "EAT THEIR SOULS". In "Inward Singing", Black does not merely discover a new vocal technique, he discovers what he refers to as "the most powerful tool in singing technology since yodeling". Black's skits also use the catchphrase 'more cushion for the pushin', a self-deprecating reference to his abdominal body fat.
1991: Our Shining Moments
1992: Bob Roberts
1993: Demolition Man, Airborne
1994: The NeverEnding Story III, Blind Justice 1995: Waterworld, The X-Files (episode D.P.O.), Touched By An Angel (episode Angels On The Air), Dead Man Walking
1996: Bio-Dome, Mars Attacks!, The Fan, The Cable Guy, Crossworlds
1997: The Jackal, Bongwater
1998: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, Enemy of the State
1999: Jesus' Son, Cradle Will Rock
2000: High Fidelity
2001: Shallow Hal, Saving Silverman
2002: Orange County, Ice Age
2003: School of Rock, Melvin Goes to Dinner
2004: Shark Tale, Envy, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
2005: King Kong
2006: Nacho Libre, The Holiday, Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny
2007: Margot at the Wedding, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, The Simpsons (episode Husbands and Knives)
2008: Be Kind Rewind, Kung Fu Panda, Tropic Thunder
2009: Year One
2010: School Of Rock: America Rocks!, Gulliver's Travels