Former R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills sings a humorously intense verse on “Stop the Presses,” a new novelty rap about the death of newspapers. “‘Shut down the papers’ was Hitler’s first dictum,” he sings, with copious Auto-Tune partway into the song. “Now we’ve done it to our own damn system.” He also contributes a “Goodbye” chorus between verses about the funny pages, courtesy of Key and Peele actor Colton Dunn, Epic Rap Battles of History’s Zach Sherwin and Monsters University’s Brandon Johnson. “What’s black and white and unread all over?” Dunn asks at one point.
The tune appears on the comedy compilation album 2776, which features 28 tracks and more than 80 comedians, musicians and actors. Proceeds from sales of the record benefit OneKid OneWorld, which helps provide education to children in Kenya and El Salvador. Patton Oswalt, Aimee Mann, Yo La Tengo, Reggie Watts and Neko Case are among numerous celebrities participating.
The compilation also released a volleyball-themed video for another track, “Live It Now,” whose video features Whiplash actor J.K. Simmons and comedian Michael Ian Black, among others, facing off across the net from the Marymount High School varsity girls’ volleyball team. In the clip, Black appears to be watching and kvetching at the game on a laptop as the men fumble with the ball and do the robot. Simmons dons piece after piece of protective gear but still winces when he moves. Meanwhile, two sportscasters – comedians and former ESPN Classic hosts the Sklar Brothers – rap about how they need sports “so our wives don’t force us to spend weekends going apple-picking.”
2776 is the brainchild of writers Joel Levinson (The Tonight Show), Stephen Levinson (Comedy Central producer) and Rob Kutner (Conan, The Daily Show). The album’s plot revolves around an alien (Martha Plimpton) threatening the planet, prompting the President (Will Forte) and a Secret Service agent (Aubrey Plaza) to challenge her. It’s best explained on the album’s website.