NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 13: Jack Black arrives at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on September 13, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
Jack Black is many things: an actor, a comedian, a singer, a guitarist, a writer, a trained butcher (NOTE: not actually true). But you know those crazy Hollywood multi-hyphenates. They’re never satisfied doing just ninety things at once. And so Black will now attempt to become a TV producer by adapting author AJ Jacobs’ book “My Life As An Experiment” into a comedy series. From Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva:
Esquire Editor-at-Large Jacobs is known for immersing himself in a self-improvement project and then writing about it. In My Life As an Experiment, he provides a humorous account of his 10 month-long exercises in self-improvement—from assuming the identity of a beautiful young woman to outsourcing his life to a couple of Indian assistants, to living a life of Radical Honesty…
(Production company) Reveille’s EVP scripted TV Carolyn Bernstein called the stories “tailor-made for television,” noting that they “chronicle A.J.’s real-life adventures in immersion journalism and their unexpected comedic impact on his domestic life.”
Oh, I don’t think that impact is unexpected at all. Jacobs is a talented writer, but he is one of the pioneers of the new literary genre of Stunt Memoirs. A stunt memoir is when the author decides to do something WACKY for a certain period of time specifically so they can write a book about it. Jacobs is quite good at this (he also spent a year living according to Bible and a year reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica), but the contrived nature of stunt memoirs tends to make them, well, lame. I can’t think of another word there. Maybe I should spend a year memorizing the dictionary. And then write a book about it.
Anyway, Deadline notes that Reveille is currently looking for a writer to write the pilot, which is odd given that Jacobs is surely available to handle the task. Either way, Black has a pretty solid track record when it comes to making television. He starred in both “Tenacious D,” which was excellent, and “Heat Vision And Jack,” the fabled Ben Stiller comedy pilot that never aired but is now considered one of the great unaired shows of all time. Black has a way of taking outlandish ideas and pushing them until they’re beyond ludicrous, and he’ll likely be able to do the same with Jacobs’ book, taking it from just wacky to completely insane. That’s always a good thing.