Wednesday, December 14, 2011

GQ Interview with Andy Samberg & TLI

We've shown the photos, and now let's check out the interview!

The GQ&A: The Lonely Island

Okay, okay, the three wise men of viral-video comedy aren't actually releasing a Christmas album—they're just having a little fun in these photos. We chatted with the be-sweatered comedy trio about their special year, Michael Bolton, and their friendship.

Five years ago, Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone (33, 33, and 34, respectively) resuscitated a comatose Saturday Night Live with three simple moves. (One, cut a hole in a box...) GQ spoke to the comedy trio about their roots, friendship with Weird Al, and what to throw on the ground, when it comes time to throw things to the ground. Or we just spoke to Akiva. Their voices all sound the same. It's impossible to tell.


GQ: It's going to be really hard for me to determine who's talking.
Jorma Taccone: We'll try to say our names before.
Andy Samberg: You'll know Kiv's baby when you hear her.

GQ: So, you guys have known each other since what, the seventh grade?
Jorma: Too long. This is Jorma. We met in junior high in Berkeley, California at Willard Junior High—I was in Spanish class with Kiv when we were 13 years old. How old were we, Kiv? 13?
Akiva Schaffer: Seventh grade, I was 11, 12?
Jorma: No, were we really? 12, I guess. 12. Holy *. And then we met Andy a year later, because we all went to the same junior high.

GQ: Do you remember exactly how you first became friends?
Jorma: I remember seeing Kiv in particular, because he had a Tony Hawk skater haircut, and I was pretty into that kind of thing.
Andy Samberg: I remember admiring them from afar. This is Andy.

GQ: That's pretty astounding, right? I mean, just most people's seventh grade friends turn out to work at the local gas station; you guys found your soulmates when you were 13.
Akiva: Yeah, we reflect on that often.
Jorma: We do.
Andy: We had other friends too, who might work at gas stations.
Jorma: That was Akiva.
Akiva: That was Andy.
Jorma: Oh man, this is going to be the worst.

GQ: How did the name Lonely Island come about?
Jorm: Kiv?
Akiva: So we were all living together in an apartment on Olympic Boulevard in LA, which is a very busy street. And Jorma, being the theater major, decided to bring home a VHS copy of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, but then it just sat there long enough that me and Andy were actually the ones that watched it, and of course it's a great movie: Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman. But still, I wanted to still make fun of Jorm for being so theatrical, so I wrote like a one-act spoof play, I guess you'd call it? A Tennessee Williams-style one, where I was going to have Jorma have to refer to our home as an island in the sea of traffic—the lonely island—and be very dramatic about it. Then we started calling the apartment the Lonely Island when we were out, as in: "Want to go back to the Lonely Island?" And our first videos were all in the apartment, the little experimental videos that we were just kind of doing. So they were always set in the apartment, we named the videos the Lonely Island.

GQ: Nice. I really love Turtleneck & Chain. It's great.
Akiva: Like, as a style, or the album?

GQ: Both, I guess. The first song, "We're Back," has a lot of pe*is-not-working-right outposturing each other. And that kind of seems to be a common trope with you guys. Is there a reason?
Andy: Calling it a trope seems to give that joke more—
Akiva: More credence.
Andy: More credence than maybe it deserves.

GQ:Well there's "Ji* in My Pants" of course and "I Just Had Sex," which has a line about lasting only 30 seconds...
Akiva: Okay it's fair to say penile inadequacy is definitely a trend in our stuff, yeah.

GQ: Is that for any reason?
Jorma: We're pretty big into self-deprecation.
Andy: And self-mutilation, am I right, Jorm?
Jorma: Nail on the head, Andy.
Akiva: We're really good at sex. We might be the best ever.
Akiva: That was Andy talking.
Andy: No that was Akiva talking!
Jorma: Spread it around. Be sure to spread that around.
Akiva: I mean, except for the times when we're terrible. Then we're not good. So like, when it's on it's on, you know what I mean?
Jorma: Like Donkey Kong.
Andy: We set the expectations really low in our songs.

GQ: Did you write Jack Sparrow with Michael Bolton in mind?
Andy: He was definitely the first person we wanted for it, yes. We came up with the premise for the song and then I believe Kiv said that the perfect person to do the hook would be Michael Bolton. And then we were basically relentless and didn't sleep until we got him to do it.

GQ: How did you convince him?
Jorma: On the first call he said he wanted to do it, and then it took another handful of calls to actually—
Akiva: There were lyrics he was uncomfortable with.
Jorma: Yes.
Akiva: It was really our charming personalities that put him over the top, though.
Jorma: We broke bread.

GQ: Wait, what were the lyrics that he was uncomfortable with?
Andy: Uh, we can't say that.
Jorma: They were terrible.

GQ: Have you guys ever heard from anyone who was mad you parodied them?
Akiva: I don't think so.
Andy: No, I'm sure they just curse in private.
Jorma: I bet President Mahmoud probably wasn't too keen on his video.
Andy: Oh, yeah. Ahmadinejad, I can say on the record, was probably not psyched on that video.
Jorma: He keeps emailing and emailing.
Andy: His Twitter feed was going crazy that whole day.
Jorma: Yeah. Little does he know, we barely check our email.
Andy: "I thought we were cool!"

GQ: Have you ever met Weird Al?
Akiva: Absolutely.
Jorma: Yeah, we're in definite communication. He sent us a bunch of gear recently.
Akiva: I was emailing with Weird Al last night, no joke.

GQ: Really? About what?
Jorma: It was I, actually.
Akiva: They had a special on Comedy Central of him performing live—
Jorma: He didn't send it to me, Kiv. I'm looking at the Blu-ray now. Is it Comedy Central?
Akiva: Yes.
Jorma: The Al-pocalypse tour, right?
Andy: I don't have kids yet, but I'm pretty sure he's going to perform my future son's bris.

Read More

Thanks to SamJae and X-tina Smith for the scoop!



Anonymous said...

GQ: It's going to be really hard for me to determine who's talking.
Jorma Taccone: We'll try to say our names before.
Andy Samberg: You'll know Kiv's baby when you hear her.

SamJae said...

IKR!!! i freaked when i saw that... TOTALLY KNEW IT!!!

X-tina Smith said...

well,yes. i thought everybody knew it. there is some piece of iformation on the internet.

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