Dr. Girlfriend: “Wait, one more thing, who are you really?”

The Sovereign (as Bowie): “Just some bloke who wanted to be anyone but himself.”

Like The Onion Joe Biden or Yacht Rock Michael McDonald, #VentureBros David Bowie—more accurately, The Sovereign as Bowie (TSAB)—was a larger than life persona blending homage and gag. TSAB was an all-powerful, shapeshifting villain that was simultaneously terrifying, cool, omnipresent, and omniscient. Above all else for series creators Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer, TSAB seemed to be a manifestation of their admiration for the real Bowie, a way to personify his influence and inspiration.

“I’ve been pacifying myself,” Hammer told me today for @ArsTechnica. The long-awaited S6 of Venture Bros. starts on 1/31 and Adult Swim began setting up interviews for the duo back in December. They never could’ve been prepared for the news of the day. None of us could.

“It’s weird because there are two David Bowies,” he continued. “There is David Bowie that’s a human being that is married to Iman and lives five doors down from me. The loss of that David Bowie is heartbreaking, devastating.

But then there’s the #DavidBowie that you and I know. We don’t talk to David Bowie as a real part of our lives, he’s a cultural phenomenon. That David Bowie is still here, nothing happened to him. The music is still here, what he did to fashion is still here, everything he’s done still exists.

That David Bowie did not and cannot die. It’s a really hard thing to grapple with, that paradigm. That’s what I’m kind of dealing with. Prove it. If he’s gone, someone prove it to me. He’s still a huge part of my life.

He’s always been this very powerful thing to us—he’s the pinnacle of cool. When you just say his name, it means so much. The character that stole his name understood that a lot of power comes from just saying, ‘I’m David Bowie.'”

The rest of our chat was as insightful and funny as you’d expect. But like the series itself, the duo offered uncanny eloquence and thought on something many are grappling with. Venture Bros. is a show about dealing with your past and finding new direction, and the next few days are about Bowie. Each will merely be disguised as something else from time to time.

This post originally appeared on Instagram.

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