NEW YORK — They were supposed to remain suspended in a glass cage above Times Square for 45 days. Tenacious D didn't even make it 45 minutes.
A mere 23 minutes after being hoisted in the air to begin what they claimed would be an extended hunger strike, Jack Black freaked out and Kyle Gass pulled handfuls of hidden M&Ms from his costume, plunging them frantically into his mouth. The goofball rockers were lowered to the ground and carted away in an ambulance.
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Not everything went wrong. The "hunger strike" had been coordinated to encourage fans to buy their DVD, "The Complete Master Works," and the pair's antics made "TRL" viewers and curious onlookers more than aware of the Tuesday release. And the duo didn't even have to miss a meal to do it.
The ruse began four hours earlier when Tenacious D swaggered into the conference room of the Millennium hotel dressed like superheroes. Black and Gass wore capes and silver, skin-tight spandex that revealed their bulging bellies. Their chests were emblazoned with large D's, and their faces were creased with the grim determination of mega-men on a mission.
The Tenacious D press conference was announced to the media without any details, and throughout their hunger strike announcement, Black and Gass played it straight, insisting they planned to remain in the glass booth for a month and a half with no food and little water.
Black said he and Gass would remain aloft for 45 days or until their DVD went platinum, world hunger came to an end or there was peace in the Middle East. When they got hungry, they would "live off the power of each other's rock" via a guitar they were bringing with them, Black said.
Like a marathon runners, Tenacious D made preparations to deal with the ordeal. "I had five McSurf and Turf deluxe cheeseburgers earlier today," Black said. "Also, I took a multivitamin. It was a large, horse-pill-sized super-multi."
There were signs early on that the D were in way over their heads. They may have at one time been starving artists, but like most successful rock stars, they don't have much recent experience avoiding food.
"I have gone over eight hours without eating [once]," Gass said. "I feel fully prepared."
"One time I slept for 12 hours, so I think I've pulled 13 hours," added Black. "This is gonna test our will, but I feel confident we're gonna make it 45 days."
Tenacious D's publicity stunt is similar to an act of real tenacity by New York illusionist David Blaine, who remained suspended in a glass cage over the Thames River in London for 44 days.
At the press conference, Black bristled at the idea that the D had copied Blaine. "I want to make one thing clear," he said with a straight face. "We are not out on some bullsh-- thing where you go up for 44 days and 44 nights. We're going for a full 45 days and 45 nights, and not only that, but I have evidence that David Blaine had liquid cheeseburgers pumped into his box through a tube. We will not have a tube."
Minutes after being driven off in an ambulance, Black and Gass were pushed into the "TRL" studio in wheelchairs and feigned complete disorientation. "I lost track of time," Black slurred. "I'm pretty sure we were in there for 45 days."
After regaining his equilibrium, Black blamed the aborted hunger strike on design flaws in their costumes, adding that after he was removed from the tank, he was fed an IV of gravy and quickly recovered.