Thursday, June 11, 2009

Andy Samberg takes the spotlight (Akiva and Jorma ignored?)

Samberg Triumphs, Taccone and Schaffer Stay Quiet at MTV Movie Awards

Written by Liz Shannon Miller

According to MTV, what “everyone’s talking about” with regards to last night’s MTV Movie Awards is Eminem’s close encounter with the scrotum of Sasha Baron Cohen (appearing in character as gay Austrian talk show host Bruno). But to be fair, host Andy Samberg set some face-on-tuckus precedent earlier in the evening during his opening number. In fact, Samberg set the tone for the entire night, giving arguably the best hosting performance in MTV Movie Awards history (a dubious honor, perhaps, but there you have it).

Even despite the fact that Samberg’s collaborators, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer, were visible in the audience and clearly behind both the awards ceremony’s promotion and production, it was Samberg’s show. At least according to MTV it was, which went so far as to arrange a delicious melody of Digital Short classics, performed by Leann Rimes, Chris Isaak and Forest Whitaker (he’s a classically trained opera singer, you know). Its title? The Samberg Melody. If The Lonely Island, the comedy collective that Samberg, Taccone, and Schaffer founded together, splinters apart in a blaze of hurt feelings, I suspect that this night of entertainment will feature heavily in the E! True Internet Hollywood Story episode.

After all, the creative success of last night’s show was due entirely to the collective Lonely Island’s askew spin on pop culture, from imagining the Meryl Streep drama Doubt as a video game to recasting Twilight with Dracula and Teen Wolf. In short, given the fact that Samberg was stuck stringing together a series of promos for lame summer movies and the next Twilight, he and his boys managed to put their personal stamp on the evening in a profound and hilarious way. And Samberg only had to get naked once to do so.

The real triumph of the night was the musical interlude with Will Ferrell and (hey, don’t ask me) J.J. Abrams on keyboards. Cool Guys Walk Away From Explosions represents exactly why the MTV Movie Awards are worth keeping around — incredible access to stars, but an irreverent attitude that allows for the poking of fun at Hollywood’s most beloved cliches.

Watching all these clips, the question becomes: “Does exploiting the talents of a groundbreaking comedy troupe to revitalize an awards show work?” And the is yes well, sort of. Not because the humor stylings of the Lonely Island are particularly well-tailored to the awards show format, but because MTV really gave them free reign to go (in some cases literally) balls-out, which MTV itself admits on the hosting page for the Digital Short Explosions: “We didn’t bring Andy Samberg all the way to L.A., just so he could stand around and introduce celebs. We did it to get in his digital shorts!” Well, MTV, you got what you wanted. Just remember, though — Schaffer and Taccone wear pants, too.


Liz has a good point. I didn't notice it because Akiva was in the Doubt skit and Akiva and Jorma were shown after the medley, but MTV didn't give Akiva and Jorma as much credit as they deserve. Of course, SNL doesn't do that either. This is an actor's world, and right now Andy is playing the actor and acting as the face of TLI.



Kate said...

I understand, but Jorma definitely wasn't really apart of this. It was mainly only Akiva and Andy writing and doing the shorts. Jorm was busy finishing the MacGruber script.
But I understand where she is coming from. But I also don't think the other dudes mind too much that Andy gets all the credit. If they didn't, then you would know.

Anonymous said...

The interview has some good points, just look at the title of "People" 's post below: "Andy's Friend"... not, Lonely Island member, Actor Jorma Taccone, etc. Hopefully they will continually be recognized more for all of their efforts and each of their individual efforts, too. It seems like in more interviews, they are making sure of that.:)

Ed Price said...

Kate, Good points. Yeah, Akiva and Jorma are super humble, so they don't care. They're just grateful for what credit they do get and that TLI is now becoming known as its own entity (mostly due to J*** In My Pants, I'm On a Boat, and the Incredibad CD).

Anony, I think the People article was done more for marketing purposes than because they think Andy's more interesting or whatever other reason. I think Jorma probably understands that it's for his benefit to be associated with Andy.

Thanks for the comments!


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