Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, & Jorma Taccone
The Lonely Island and Saturday Night Live
With a name like the Lonely Island, you’d think these guys would keep to themselves. But Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer are keeping the company of millions. Since 2001, they have cultivated a massive following online by posting hilarious self-produced TV spoofs, wacky rap videos, and videogame remixes on their Web site. Word of mouth soon landed the twentysomethings a full-time gig on Saturday Night Live, where they’ve been writing, directing, and acting in what NBC calls “digital shorts”: low-budget videos with the look and feel of their shot-for-the-Web work.
SNL bits like “Taco Town,” “Lettuce,” and “Lazy Sunday” rocked on TV, but they really took off when fans uploaded them to the Net. “Lazy Sunday” has been watched more than 5 million times on YouTube alone – rivaling the number of viewers who saw it the night it aired on SNL last December. And people didn’t just watch. Do a search for “Lonely Island” on any video-sharing site and you’ll find dozens of fan-created remakes. The group has essentially transformed sketch comedy into an interactive art form. Even more impressive: They’ve made Saturday Night Live hip again.
– Eric Steuer
5 essential ingredients of a Lonely Island spoof
1. The juvenile humor of cartoons
“Cartoons are the best stuff on TV,” Schaffer says. “Wonder Showzen, Aqua Teen, SpongeBob, and, of course, South Park – one of the funniest shows ever made.”
2. The creativity of early SNL
“Albert Brooks’ short films on SNL’s first season in particular have been an inspiration,” Taccone says. “He helped pave the way for what we do.”
3. The ’tude of hip hop
“I hope it shows that we’re actually true fans,” Taccone says. “Nothing’s lamer than a bunch of goofy guys making fun of rap.”
4. The styling of MTV
“I’ve always loved music videos – I used to make my own for bands like Pearl Jam,” Schaffer says. “My favorite directors are Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze, and Patrick Daughters.”
5. The pacing of videogames
“Tecmo Bowl and Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!! have taken up a lot of my life,” Samberg says. “Those are hipster games,” says Schaffer. “I’m all about Halo 2.”