Interview: The Lonely Island
Mon, 02 Mar 2009 08:09:53
The Lonely Island Videos
The Lonely Island is most well known for counting Andy Samberg of
Saturday Night Live among its members. But Samberg's fellow SNL writers, Akiva Schaffer and
Jorma Taccone, also inhabit this Island. The trio have gained momentum thanks to their gut-busting digital shorts on SNL, which feature a host of song parodies. Remember Justin Timberlake cavorting and crooning to "D*ck in a Box?" Yep, that skit was courtesy of Samberg and his crew. But The Lonely Island aren't just rocking with the musical guests of the TV show that they so happen to write for.
They released their own album, Incredibad and even got T-Pain to duet with them. Clearly, The Lonely Island is blazing hot in pop culture and music right now. ARTISTdirect.com chatted with the trio all once about how no man is an island in this exclusive interview…
What are some sources of inspiration for the digital shorts?
Jorma Taccone: We watch old comedy tapes of Jack Benny and WC Fields and jack those old bits and repurpose them. I am kidding.
Andy Samberg: We have a dry sense of humor.
Akiva Schaffer: Honestly, there is no specific place for inspiration. We come up with something when we are sitting in a room and we're desperate. It can come to you from any creative endeavor.
Taccone: We have known each other since junior high and high school so we have a language of our own. We know the same stuff about each other from growing up together in Berkeley and that helps with communication.
Friends since high school, huh? Let me guess, you were the funny, geeky guys, not the popular jocks?
Taccone: We went to Berkeley High in California, and the quarterback was embarrassed around his friends because he was always made fun of—not the typical high school.
Samberg: Being the high school quarterback…is a cliché in Berkeley. There are no set cool kids or nerds. We were definitely nerds but we drank 40 Dogs and how many nerds do you know drink 40 Dogs? We are still nerds today.
“Samberg: Are we going to be on the ARTISTdirect homepage? We would love it. Here is why: Akiva is a starfucker.”
Did you ever plan to release an album?
Schaffer: It was never a plan as much as it was getting together after college and reconvening and moving to LA to do comedy for TV and film. We had a roommate who was in a band who had four-track recording equipment, which you have in your room in, like, 2001. We would go out to our assistant jobs and come home and mess around and make fake songs as one of many comedy projects. We had fun and people immediately responded.
Samberg: We had a web site, and we put up a short music videos that were edited and stylish so they were easy to sit through. When we did “Lazy Sunday” on SNL, and that worked out well. It was really viral. So we decided to do another.
"Lazy Sunday" was my fave SNL skit all year when it premiered! And "D*ck in a Box" isn't too far behind in terms of funniness! Was it easy to get J.T. to cooperate with that? I remember how upset he got on that episode of Punk'd.
Samberg: It was unbelievably easy. We told him the idea, and he was like 'Yes!' The main difference on a show like Punk'd is that you don't know it's funny until after you find out you've been "punk'd." They are like, "Hey, what's up? Your life is ruined. Just kidding!" With us, it was "We want you to do this joke song with us." He knew what was happening!
How you do you plan to promote this record, since it's not a typical album? Would you possibly tour? Seems like you can't go the "typical" route with a record like this!
Taccone: Tenacious D, Flight of the Conchords toured, so it's not out of the question but we have no plan for it, but if it happens, it will be in a feasible way.
Samberg: We worked on clean version in case radio wants to play it. We're not discouraging radio from playing it, but we realize that joke songs don't get a lot of play. That's why we're talking to people like you.
How did you decide to actually put a record out?
Samberg: After "Lazy Sunday" aired, labels contacted us through our agents and Universal Republic stuck around the longest.
How do you want it this to be perceived? As a comedy act?
Samberg: Yes, we're a comedy act and we use musical elements as a medium for that comedy.
Schaffer: Yeah! I say yeah!
Any famous last words?
Samberg: Are we going to be on the ARTISTdirect homepage? We would love it. Here is why: Akiva is a starfucker. It will help us get people who are not web surfers to like us.
— Amy Sciarretto