As big of a city as Los Angeles is, sometimes it really can be a small world.
There Emily and I were, standing in line for the Skype Moment’s Guardians of the Galaxy screening, when we got to chatting with the gentleman behind us, a writer for CONAN named Rob Kutner. We got to talking about the blog and he mentioned that he was in the process of promoting a new geeky comedy album. We’ve always been fans of Weird Al Yankovic’s work—he’s proven that geekery, comedy and music make for a hilarious combination—so we were intrigued by the promise of an “epic music/comedy extravaganza.”
That extravaganda is 2776: A Millennium of American Asskickery and it’s brilliant.
The concept of the album is this: How do you convince invading aliens that our lovely planet is worth saving? The answer, of course, is to show them the history of the most bad ass nation to ever exist, ‘Murica.
2776, created by Kutner and Stephen and Joel Moss Levinson, is a historical parody representing America’s past, present and future that features 28 tracks and more than 80 comedians, musicians and actors.
“The three of us love every kind of nerdy passion, from robots to apocalypses to history to politics,” says Kutner, regarding how they came up with the idea. “Joel is a dynamite comedy songwriter, so we thought, ‘Why not find some grab-bag way to get amazing comics and musicians to perform songs about all the stuff we love?’ We settled on the narrowly focused topic of ‘America’.”
The U.S. President (SNL‘s Will Forte), his Secret Service Agent (Parks and Recreation‘s Aubrey Plaza) and George Washington (Comedy Bang! Bang!‘s Paul F. Tompkins) are our time traveling emcees who guide us through the centuries and outline important historical events (and important topics and issues we see today) such as the annihilation of California (“Farewell California”), the cure of the common cold (“The Cure”) and the poignant court case “The U.S. V. Rock n’ Roll.”
One of the best songs on the album is “These Aren’t the Droids” about sexism in geekdom and what the future might hold.
With this level of talent, it’s not hard to see why the album has quickly gained some attention.
“We’ve gotten a raft of great press coverage. The NY Times just named it a ‘Notable Comedy Release of 2014.‘ I was promoting it at SDCC, and people’s jaws were dropping when they heard who all was on it. And not just because they were dressed as zombies,” says Kutner, who dressed like a Cyborg Patriot during SDCC to spread the news about the album.
Kutner and the Levinsons have collaborated for more than a decade—on an annual live show and their previous album It’s OK to Do Stuff (a parody of the influential 70s album Free To Be You and Me)—and worked together to develop the concept for all of the songs on 2776.
“Occasionally some of the artists, like Aimee Mann, had some great suggestions which we incorporated. And on a track or two, like ‘These Aren’t the Droids’, ‘U.S. v Rock n Roll’ and ‘God Blessed America’, we reached out to some of our favorite writers to help us out,” says Stephen Levinson. “But the real fun of the album was writing songs specifically for these musicians and comedians and writing to their voice.”
All jokes aside, perhaps the best part of 2776 is that all proceeds go to Onekid Oneworld. The mission of OneKid OneWorld is simple: to make a difference in the lives of children in need around the globe. One world, one school, one kid, at a time.
The team, which also includes comic Kate Lenhart, is currently working on turning more of the songs into videos and planning some top secret appearances (come y’all, the President is involved).
There’s so much to like about this album, you’ll have to check it out for yourselves! You can preview the album on 2776’s website and the album is available on CD and digital download from Amazon iTunes, CDBaby and Google Play.
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