Jack Black, YouTube Gamer

If You Like Jack Black, This is a Thing With a Lot of Jack Black in it

Jack Black has had a very durable career. Every time you think he’s disappeared, he shows up with a funny appearance in a music video or he surprises you in a family hit like the Jumanji reboot or he’ll show up on a podcast to promote a very dick-centric Tenacious D animation. His voice might be in your living room as your kids watch one of the Goosebumps movies. It’s easy to forget he was goddamn brilliant in School of Rock. And Bernie. And Kung Fu Panda, plus its many sequels, offshoots, and ancillary products. You know what? He was great in Nacho Libre. I’m Latino and yeah, I said it! He’s put in the time, he’s proven again and again that he’s got the goods.

So if he wants to go make a weekly YouTube show about videogames called “Jablinski Games” with his son Sam, sure, why not? Sam, based on his Instagram, appears to be a very funny and weird teen who’s a strong swimmer in the Pool of Memes. And Jack Black, in the way he not only appears to be trying to entertain this potentially huge YouTube audience but mostly the son filming right in front of him, is very likeable, in a supremely dad way. So let’s take a look at the three videos released so far and rate them as harshly as possible.

Son of Jack Black

 

Hello, Jack Black Here.

Release date: Dec. 21, 2018

Length: 28 whole seconds

Hair and beard: Mountainous! The beard is salt-pepper, but the hair is brown and greasy.

Review: First, I feel like we should ding this because you don’t need punctuation in your YouTube video title, but there’s a lot to like here. We appear to be seeing Jack Black’s home gaming office with two computers side by side (presumably so Jack and Sam can play Overwatch together). How do you know it’s banging times in the Black household? They’ve got dual subwoofers under the desk! No skimping on bass in this family!

Jack, sitting in a gigantic gamer office chair, introduces the Jablinski YouTube channel, promising it’ll be bigger than Ninja and bigger than Pewdiepie. Then he reclines in the seat and it freezes with funky music, then does it again. Very Eric Andre Show, guys!

The meanest thing I can say about this video is that it lacks videogames.

Rating: 3 Jablinksis out of 5 Possible Jablinksis

 

1 mil

Release date: Dec. 28, 2018

Length: 49 close-up seconds

Hair and beard: A switch to vertical video and a much tighter shot gives us a very close view of that giant beard. No crumbs, saliva, or split ends to speak of! Special mention should be made of Jack Black’s eyebrows, which are used to great effect here for emphasis.

Review: Using your second video ever as a YouTuber gamer to brag that you’ve hit a million views seems a little premature. Especially since it wouldn’t take long for the channel’s first video to hit nine million views, so why not wait a month, after you’ve released some actual game videos, to declare yourself the new hot shit of the internet? As of this writing, though, this simple video trumpeting a million views is now itself sitting at 8.5 million, so what do I know?

Bonus Dad Points for turning “Fuuuuuuu” into “Fuuuuuuunnnny you should ask,” thus avoiding salty language around the kid. (Never mind that the kid’s Instagram is absolutely filled with filthy language.)

The meanest thing I can say about this video is that it seems like premature hubris.

Rating: 2 Jablinksis out of 5 Possible Jablinksis

 

A House with a Pin In it’s Balls

Release date: Jan. 4, 2019

Length: 3 minutes, 6 seconds

Hair and beard: Exactly the same as before. Thank goodness there’s some consistency in this crazy world.

Review: Now this is more like it. Actual gaming content! Black answers the question of “When are we gonna start gamin’?” while wearing a “Pitfall!” t-shirt and excitedly touring the Las Vegas Pinball Hall of Fame. I visited this place once and it looks like a run-down laundromat that’s been taken over by Atari-loving mechanics with a lot of the games out of service. But it’s got history and the Blacks capture it before it moves to its future, likely more slick, location. We’re shown a vintage machines such as “Goalee,” dating back to 1945, “Hoe Down” from 1978 and others. “Whaddaya think, Sammy?” Jack asks his son. Sam covers the lens with his hand.

Jack tries to impress Sam with fresh-popped popcorn, leading to a quick cut to a Nacho Libre soundbite for no reason at all. But it gets real Jack Black up in here when the actor spots a Shrek machine and he lays down some vocals for what we can only hope will be a new cover of Smash Mouth’s All Star. Peak Embarrassing Dad In Public! Then he pays 25 cents to watch a paper flip movie of an old Jack Dempsey fight and deems it amazing. It kind of is!

The video ends with an endorsement of the Hall of Fame by Black and a fade to canned videogame noises with a promise of more videos every Friday.

Hard to say what direction the YouTube channel will take, but you don’t have to be a gamer to appreciate Jack Black’s enthusiasm for play or for the joy he’s clearly taking spending time with his kid.

The Twitch era of games has been marked by lots of people having success making video games a spectator sport, but it’s left other people baffled at why a generation of young gamers would watch unknowns sit at a desk making running commentary on Call of Duty. This promises to be something different and a lot weirder, driven by someone we know has volcanic energy and charisma to burn.

The meanest thing I can say about this video is that a week seems like too long to wait for another three minutes of this.

Rating: 5 Jablinksis out of 5 Possible Jablinksis

Omar Gallaga

Omar L. Gallaga is a technology culture writer, formerly of the Austin American-Statesman, but he's not interested in fixing your printer. He's written for Rolling Stone, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, Television Without Pity, Previously.tv and NPR, where he was a blogger and on-air tech correspondent for "All Things Considered." He's a founding member of Austin's Latino Comedy Project, which recently concluded a two-year run of its original sketch-comedy show, "Gentrifucked."

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