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The Weeknd is mostly known for crooning popular songs and developing a reputation for being mysterious. He showed another side of himself, however, when he popped up in Uncut Gems. More recently, he appeared on Seth MacFarlane’s popular TBS series American Dad! and now he’s revealed exactly why voicing a character on the animated show was important.
In fact, he joined American Dad! directly because of that mysterious reputation I alluded to above. Except he calls it a “dark, shadowy aura.” He says it’s not reflective of his real personality and so he wanted to show a different side of himself, noting,
Yes, because I’ve been doing this for a decade now and everyone thinks I have this dark, shadowy aura. I wanted to show people that I don’t take myself too seriously.
The guest stint on American Dad! happened earlier this spring and saw The Weeknd playing an animated version of himself who was literally a virgin. Producer Joel Hurwitz told Variety in the same interview the ultimate goal of the episode was to go against “The Weeknd’s brand.” The writer’s room originally thought the virgin idea would be hilarious if he were game for it, but they actually had to approach the singer-songwriter about the premise, which could have gone either way. Luckily, as The Weeknd noted, he doesn’t take himself all that seriously.
What ended up happening was that he loved the virgin joke and he ended up fully collaborating on the episode, which also involved him working on a song for American Dad. If you were to ask The Weeknd, it’s not a big surprise that any of this came together though Joel Hurwitz still contends he’s “too famous to be watching our dumb cartoon.” But The Weeknd says this is the type of project he really likes diving into.
I’m very approachable and people don’t really know that about me. It might be surprising to some to learn how inquisitive I am and how much I love talking to people and going deep into conversation.
American Dad! has been on the air since 2005, originally airing as part of Fox’s Animation Domination block before flip-flopping to TBS. In that time, there have been a ton of big guest stars joining the show. More recent episodes, for example, had Chris Parnell, Patrick Stewart, Ron Perlman, Paget Brewster, David Koechner, Ted Danson, Craig Robinson, Bill Nye, Lauren Lapkus, and many, many more. The Weeknd may be a little more famous than some of these other actors, but he’s also not known for acting or voice work. You have to start somewhere.
The Weeknd’s big episode “A Starboy is Born” originally aired on TBS on May 4 and includes the song "The Weeknd's Dark Secret." If you missed the episodes of American Dad! it can also be streamed on Hulu or you can check out the musical moment on YouTube.