Considering his brooding and at times gloomy public personality, it may be surprising to find that The Weeknd is a staunch fan of TBS’s longtime animated series “American Dad”. So much so, in fact, that he’s not only making an appearance in the new episode that airs Monday night, but he’s even co-written the show – and will create a new song, written with Asa Taccone (which also co-wrote and co-wrote – Portugal produced The Man’s smash “Feel It, Still” and contributed to his brother Jorma’s group The Lonely Island), specifically for the series.
Watch an exclusive preview of the show above.
Trailers and footage for the episode – in which we’ll see “Stan kidnapping The Weeknd to teach Roger a lesson” – aired last week, but there are plenty of surprises in store, as he puts it. Variety in the exclusive interview below. The appearance is the latest in The Weeknd’s unusual but fast-growing acting resume, which includes an appearance (as himself) in Adam Sandler’s recent film “Uncut Gems,” a third appearance on “Saturday Night. Live ”in March, and – most impressive – his recent series of videos for songs from his new album,“ After Hours, ”released on March 20.
(Read VarietyThe Weeknd’s exclusive cover story, and our piece-by-piece interview with him on “After Hours.” “)
He also talks about the upcoming vocal work on “Robot Chicken” – and reveals he has an idea for the longest-running TV series in history…
Judging by your Instagram posts, you seem pretty excited about your appearance on the show.
I have been a longtime fan of the show. I’ve been watching since high school but really enjoyed it about seven years ago. It’s been running for so long and I feel like it’s really cult. To really enjoy the show in its entirety, you have to really know the characters.
Do you have a favorite episode?
“The One That Got Away”, “The ‘American Dad’ After School Special” and “Dope and Faith” are my favorite episodes – that’s when I knew the show was special. It’s actually “The One That Got Away” that really inspired me to want to write an episode.
What can you tell us about the song that will air tonight?
I don’t want to say too much, because it’s a surprise to the fans. Congratulations also to Asa [Taccone], who is a genius producer / writer. I will certainly work with him more in the future.
Is the song an excerpt from another project or was it written specifically for the series?
When you hear the song you will understand that it is specifically for the show. I always wanted to play a character who was the opposite of the public’s perception of me – and of course to laugh at me. Once I had the opportunity, I took full advantage of it. [Writer-producer] Joel Hurwitz believed in the vision and he helped execute it beautifully.
Your acting resume becomes more and more unusual with each appearance – how do you think this project complemented your skills and experience?
I want to continue to create different Weeknds in alternate universes. There weren’t a lot of challenges, as the acting was pretty straightforward. I told Joel that I love doing vocals and that I wish I could have gone more into this department, so he took me to the “Robot Chicken” studio, where [executive producer-writer] Seth Green was waiting for me. I was a total geek and he actually let me do several voices on an episode that’s coming out soon. The cartoon nerd in me jumped that day.
What other shows or projects – animated or not – would you like to work on?
“American Dad” was all I wanted. It’s going to be hard to beat in the world of TV cartoons, but an obvious bucket list would be working on “The Simpsons”. It would be a dream – and if they’re reading this, I actually have a pretty cool idea if they’re down.