Jack Black descended on Austin Wednesday night, taking a brief respite from his Tenacious D world tour to perform alongside longtime partner in crime Kyle Gass at South by Southwest.
And while the audience waited to hear the actor/singer strum his guitar and play a faux saxophone, they were treated to a welcome surprise — a couple of episodes from a funny new web series, “Ghost Ghirls,” a paranormal comedy created by and starring Amanda Lund and Maria Blasucci and executive-produced by Black.
At a panel after the screening, the girls joked about their own dumb luck and poverty. And Black (left with faux sax) enthused: “These two ladies have a chemistry, a natural humor. It was a no-brainer when I saw this amazing pilot that I wanted to be involved. I could appreciate the talents of two young ladies in a hilarious comedy. There are not a lot of female-driven projects out there, so kudos to you both.”
But Black, Yahoo video chief Erin McPherson and Jeremy Konner, the show’s director and co-creator, couldn’t agree on one thing — is "Ghirls" the next “Girls” or the next “Burning Love”?
The comparisons to Lena Dunham’s critically revered but culturally divisive show made sense because “Ghirls” is also a female-driven comedy. For those keeping score at home, it also references its femininity in its title.
But while Yahoo would love to have any show talked about as much as people dissect Dunham’s exploration of the personal and professional travails of four 20-something girls in New York, “Burning Love” proves a more apt comparison after watching the pair of episodes.
For those unfamiliar, “Burning Love” is a Yahoo web show created by Erica Oyama and her husband, Ken Marino, who also starred in the first season — a parody of “The Bachelor.” The second season, which debuted in February, takes on “The Bachelorette.”
The series debuted last June before being picked up by E! as a regular show. It also won several awards, including sweeping the Streamys on the comedy side.
Like “Burning Love,” “Ghost Ghirls” mocks an established TV genre — the procedural. These girls have the power of identifying supernatural activity, in a “’Clueless’ meets ‘Ghostbusters’” kind of way, as Vivi Zigler, president of digital at Shine America, put it to TheWrap.
And as with “Burning Love,” which has featured everyone from executive producer Ben Stiller to Michael Cera, the involvement of a veteran comedian in Black produces a mind-boggling amount of celebrity cameos.
Val Kilmer, Dave Grohl, Molly Shannon and Black all make appearances in the second episode, which ended on a cliffhanger for the small crowd in attendance.
“We thought we cannot go wrong with this,” McPherson told TheWrap. “We were putting out ‘Burning Love’ and thought this would be a great follow-on to that same smart, edgy tone. It worked out really well and we committed off of the pilot.”