Jack Black Makes Global Chaos Funny in HBO’s ‘The Brink’

HBO struck gold with its critically acclaimed political satire Veep, and this summer, it will make another entry into the genre with The Brink. The latest teaser for the upcoming dark comedy turns major geopolitical crisis into edgy humor with help from stars Jack Black and Tim Robbins.

The Brink follows the story of three disparate and desperate men who must pull through the chaos surrounding them to save the planet from World War III. Robbins stars as the womanizing U.S. Secretary of State Walter Larson, who recruits foreign service officer Alex Talbot (Black) and ace Navy fighter pilot Zeke Tilso (played by Orange Is the New Black star Pablo Schreiber) to help him solve a conflict in Pakistan that could potentially result in global turmoil. The Daily Show vet Aasif Mandvi portrays a disdainful embassy worker. Maribeth Monroe, Eric Ladin, Esai Morales, and Geoff Pierson also co-star in the 10-episode series.

The grim premise may not sound particularly funny, but the show manages to squeeze plenty of comedic moments out of political havoc. As evidenced by the newly released trailer, all three of the leads are hilariously flawed — far from your usual heroes. The clip picks up with Black’s character getting dropped in Islamabad, Pakistan. “This is definitely no gay pride parade,” he says as he’s driven through a violent mob of protesters. When something is thrown at the car and breaks the rear windshield, a harried Alex adds, “Where the hell’s a drone when you need one?”

Meanwhile, Robbins — who, unlike Black, is not usually known for comedic gigs — shows off his funnier side as an ethically questionable secretary of state. His character is caught literally tied up in a tryst, or what he calls “ the middle of a meeting.”

In addition to its well-known trio of leads, the comedy features a notable team behind the scenes. Roberto Benabib (Weeds) created the series with brother Kim Benabib. Jerry Weintraub (producer of the Ocean’s Eleven franchise and the upcoming Westworld) and Jerry Roach (Austin Powers, Meet the Fockers) will serve as co-executive producers. Roach, who has plenty of recent experience creating more serious politically themed hits for HBO — such as the Emmy-winning Game Change and Recount – also directed the pilot episode. Aside from co-starring in the show, Mandvi will reportedly be co-producing and writing the series.

With its dark humor and star-studded cast, The Brink seems to be a promising new entry into HBO’s already impressive slate of comedies, although we’ll have to stay tuned to see if it can quite measure up to the success of Veep. The forthcoming comedy is currently set to debut in June, following the Season 2 premiere of the crime drama anthology series True Detective. The Brink will also be paired with Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson new show, Ballers.

As for the other comedies on HBO’s lineup, the network recently green-lit Divorce, a single-camera series that will bring Sarah Jessica Parker back to television more than a decade after Sex and the City’s end. The channel also issued an 18-episode straight-to-series order to Vice Principals, a new comedy series from Eastbound & Down creators Danny McBride and Jody Hill. Meanwhile, an untitled Sarah Silverman vehicle, Brothers in Atlanta, and an Issa Rae-starring series are all still under consideration for pickup as part of the network’s comedy pilot slate.

The Brink will air Sunday nights at 10:30 p.m. Eastern, beginning June 21.

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