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Jack Black on His Crafty, Conflicted Son

06/18/2009 at 06:00 PM ET
George Napolitano/FilmMagic

Things are looking up for 3-year-old Samuel Jason Black, son of actor Jack Black, now that new baby Thomas David, 13 months, is “starting to get a personality.” Noting that “the first year is kind of a gelatinous period,” Jack said during a recent appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman that Sam is warming to the role of big brother. “[At first], Sam was like, ‘Ugh, I don’t want this thing around me,’” Jack recalled. “But now he’s starting to say, ‘Okay, there’s something I can work with here. I can maybe play with this guy.’”

Although Jack and wife Tanya Haden Black consider the thaw in sibling relations “promising,” there is always room for improvement! Adds Jack,

“[Sam] still once in a while gets really mad that there’s another baby there, and he will punch him in the face. And I say, ‘No, no, he’s a baby. You don’t punch.’ So he’s learned to get crafty with it, where he’ll come in for a loving embrace but then you’ll see it, he’ll [squeeze Tommy too hard on purpose]. I’ll say, ‘No no no, don’t squeeze.’ But I feel that there’s going to be a good bond there, eventually. That’s my hope.”

Jack is approaching his 40th birthday later this summer, and he said he’s been thinking long-term. “I figure I’ve got, like, 30 really good years left, and then five or 10 not very good years after that, and I just want to get it all in,” he explained. “I want to raise my boys and lead them into manhood, to be responsible, kind gentleman.” To that end, when asked by host David Letterman whether he’ll someday make Sam and Tommy hold summer jobs, Jack joked,

“Yeah, I’m going to encourage them to work the land, work with the soils. Primarily, I wanna have a good relationship with my boys and have things in common with them. So I hope that they’re into the arts…and the Lakers. But, you know, I can’t force them to do anything. We’ll see what happens.”

Source: Late Show with David Letterman

– Missy

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Anon on

Jack black is 40??? dang. I’m glad that even though he’s made his career off immature jokes and crude humor, he’s got his priorities straight as a dad. I respect that.

Sage on

Jack seems like such a good father. I love the part where he wants to have things in common with his sons, but doesn’t want to force them to do all the things he wants. I wish alot of parents could see that!

Sam & Freya's Mum on

What a great-sounding dad, can’t believe he’s nearly 40. As mum of a son Sam it’s nice to hear of another (boy!) Sam & that he’s now having fun with little brother Thomas (and of course there’s another Sammy now with Naomi’s Samuel/Sammy – or now Kai?,lol, which is a cool name too). Seem to be a lot more Jacks, Harry’s, Henry’s, Charlie’s, older names still popular but find Sam’s less. So many Jacksons, Max’s!, Ethan, Braydons, etc too, esp. in the US going by this site, seem to be very popular there – esp Max, although I know it’s an older name with meaning, not made-up! Maybe because Sam’s not a ‘trendy’ made-up name Sam’s not as popular so is nice to see some celebrities with the name, although in celebrity world they’re generally into naming them something wacky so a refreshing change. Almost like it’s the ‘done thing’, although may like it too of course!, but IMO it’s like they’re expected to be very way-out with names, to impress/be unique, not thinking of the poor kid later on – Bronx, Zuma, Peanut, Pilot, Zoltan etc, lol. We called our son Sammy when he was little, but now Sam. We liked the ring to Sam, not a name to get teased about & figured no one will have probs spelling it, meant it was easy for him to learn to recognise his name in books and to write. My cousin has a Thomas & Sam, must have a similar name choices to Jack Black, lol. Wonder if they’ll go for a 3rd, Jack sounds happy with his boys which is great. Sam was one of the few names we agreed on, but I really liked Noah (and now also like Finn/Flynn/Finley since Sam arrived but as we’re done at two kids, it’s too late!). Sam is a bit like Max in that it could be a dog name as & say Ben or Jake so can’t win! I know some will think they’re nicknames but to us it’s his name. A bit tired of so many Jacks, the parents obviously like it even if popular/common, their choice like ours so am not judging, just not a fan of Jack, as they may not be of Sam, what makes the world interesting, diff tastes and all – although still don’t like Zuma or Bronx, Pilot etc at all, never will…lol…

Angela on

I appreciate his candor and I can relate. My 22-month-old daughter would rather kiss our dog than her 4-month-old brother. :)

Anon on

I feel the need to point out that Pilate/Pilot is a real name~

Mira on

Zoltan is a really ordinary Hungarian name. Doesn’t belong together with Peanut, Bronx and the other made-up stuff.

Lis on

I love Jack Black! I really hope they have just one more…I can see them having a little girl! That would be sweet :)

Eric on

Ahh…comedians and parenting, what a great combination. I know exactly what he’s talking about with the “don’t punch”, “don’t squeeze”.

Anonymous on

Same thing with my girls. They were just over two years apart and the older one used to do the same thing. Lean in to kiss the baby with a smile, and pat her head while pinching her nose or scratching her ear on purpose. We used to have to watch her like a hawk. It got so bad that the baby used to flinch when big sis came running over to say hello.
I think the truce began when little sis was old enough to yell No! and went through a biting phase, lol.
Today at 14 and 12 they are very close and rarely even argue.

Anonymous on

I guess Pilot is a “real” name in the sense that Jason Lee’s poor kid is saddled with it, but it’s unconventional, odd, and more of a noun than a name. Zoltan may be a big hit in Hungary, but in the USA it’s just plain goofy to name your baby “Zoltan Jones” if you don’t have some kind of close foreign/ethnic family ties to explain it.
I agree its refreshing to see some celebrities give their kids names that won’t make spectacles out of the poor kids throughout their lives.
Sam is a great name. I hope he and little Tommy have happy lives.

Meream on

Funny and cute! Jack Black must be a great dad. Happy Father’s Day to him. :)

Sarah M. on

Anonymous – Zoltan is actually his mother’s last name. That’s where they got it. So they didn’t make it up.

Kid are very devious when they choose to be. They are a lot smarter than we give them credit for, much of the time. Very cute story!

FC on

Ha, Sam’s pushing boundaries already, seeing what he can get away with, and if it it’ll get Tommy to go when he wants him go away!

Jack’s storytelling just makes Sam’s antics with his brother Tommy that much more hilarious. Sounds just like a kid who doesn’t know what to make of his new sibling who is eating up some of Sammy’s spotlight. Sammy has his days of where he’s okay with the new kid on the block, then he has his moments where he’s contemplating, “Okay, this new guy has got to go! He’s running way too much interference with my parents. Now, what will it take to make him go back to where he came from?”

LOL, but at least Sammy’s warming up to Tommy!

Sarah on

I saw this interview and could not stop laughing!! I was so afraid of waking up my sleeping family, but I just couldn’t help it. I think Jack is so hysterically funny!

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