A few illuminations about Josh Groban 

Operatic  megastar Josh Groban is eager to discuss his latest artistic endeavor. But maybe his fans should sit down first.

Last week, he stopped by the offices of Seth Green and Matthew Senreich’s hilarious stop-motion animated series “Robot Chicken” for some impromptu voiceover work.

“Remember the game ‘Contra’ for Sega Genesis? Seth made a skit where I was Contra Red Pants and Breckin Meyer was Contra Blue Shorts,” says the devout Nintendo fan, whose tour buses are always Player-One ready.

“But we realize pretty quickly that when one of us dies, we just fall down from the ceiling and re-live again. So we start playing hot potato with grenades, and bending over so the alien that we’re supposed to beat can slap our ass.”

There’s a lot more — Groban (who’s also chimed in on “American Dad”) doesn’t want to spoil it.

“But it’s always fun to just say yes,” says the rafter-rattling singer, who performs from his new Rick-Rubin-produced stylistic experiment “Illuminations” in San Jose on Tuesday. “It’s good to be a yes-man when it comes to being offered opportunities to do stuff that people wouldn’t expect. So I always say yes to those things.”

That’s how he ended up in the new Steve Carell film “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” playing opposite Emma Stone as the sleazy commitment-phobe lawyer Richard.

Groban, 30, was studying acting when producer David Foster discovered him, then assigned him a career-launching task: standing in for an ailing Andrea Bocelli in a 1999 Grammy duet with Celine Dion.

But the plum “Crazy” part? “I auditioned, fair and square,” he says. “I’m very serious about the music side of things. But when it comes to comedy, I don’t get that nervous. So I had a really fun time, playing this
complete D-bag.”

Stone generously showed the newbie the cinematic ropes. Expect a slew of Blu-Ray blooper reels, he adds, “because before they would call ‘action’ for the actual lines on the page, they had us all sitting around saying douche-y lawyer things to each other.”

“Illuminations” — which paints Groban’s panoramic voice into Wyeth-folksy soundscapes like “Hidden” and “Higher Window” — was another yes moment. Rubin, he says, “felt like there was room to explore within my genre, so we really had fun combining our two worlds.”

But Groban has said no a few times, too. “There was an offer to have my face on a lot of frozen pizza boxes, but I tuned that down,” he says. “I could’ve taken the money and ran. But whenever you’re asking yourself, ‘Can I get away with this?’ it’s usually a risk.”


Josh Groban

Where: HP Pavilion, 525 W. Santa Clara St., San Jose
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday
Tickets: $78.25  to $110.75
Contact: (800) 745-3000, www.livenation.com

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Tom Lanham

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