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The Lonely Island (TLI) is an American comedy troupe composed of Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone, and Andy Samberg, best known for their musical parodies. The group is from Berkeley, Californiamarker, and is currently based in New York Citymarker. The group began creating live comedy skits in junior high and continued to do so, expanding its repertoire to comedic shorts, music parody (both songs and videos), and one full-length television pilot, before coming to the attention of Lorne Michaels of Saturday Night Live (SNL). Once on the show, they wrote "Lazy Sunday", a better-produced music parody video much like the group's previous work. It became an instant Internet success, and led to the creation of similar 'digital shorts' which were also aired on Saturday Night Live. "Dick In A Box", "Jizz In My Pants", "Like a Boss" and "I'm On A Boat" have subsequently had huge success both on the show and on the Internet and prompted the recording and release of an album, Incredibad, which has seen the group move in a more musical direction.

In August 2007, the group premiered its first feature film, Hot Rod.

Notable independent productions

Their first project was a low-budget sitcom titled The Lonely Island, containing two episodes: "White Power" in which three friends get addicted to tooth whitener and "Regarding Ardy" in which Samberg breaks his pinky, and Schaffer and Taccone almost murder a "friend" to ensure a pinky transplant. "Regarding Ardy" featured cameo appearances by Brooke Shields and Kal Penn. One episode includes a scene in which an elderly woman is being attacked. Kiefer Sutherland was driving by during the filming of the scene, and stopped to intervene. TLI then explained what was actually occurring. Samberg and Sutherland both mentioned the incident on separated appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman. During Samberg's appearance, they aired the few seconds of brief footage; only a few seconds were recorded as the cameraman stopped taping when Sutherland got out of his car and resumed as he was driving off.The group's shorter sketches include "The Legend of Ander Pants", "Perfecto", "The Backseatsman" and a parody of Vanilla Sky.

The group also made numerous hip-hop songs and videos under the name Incredibad, which include songs as "Ka-Blamo", "Just 2 Guyz" and "Stork Patrol". The group also self-released its tracks in a collection titled Please, Incredibad, Don’t Hurt ’Em, a reference to MC Hammer's album Please, Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em. The New York Times remarked that Taccone (who produces most of the group's songs) has a "keen ear for the nuances of different [hip hop] styles." Rolling Stone said that "[its] music shows a sharp attention to period detail."

The group also made a parody of The O.C. titled The ’Bu, starring the Dudes, Sarah Chalke, and an animated talking squirrel named Frazzles (voiced by Taccone). The Lonely Island produced eight episodes of The ’Bu for the competition Web site Channel 101. The eighth episode was an apology for not being able to make the show because of taping the Awesometown pilot . The show, however, still managed to get the necessary votes to stay on Channel 101's Prime Time and had three more episodes produced by other members of the Channel 101 family, including Chester Tam, Channel 101 Creators Dan Harmon and Rob Schrab, and Dave Hartman. Totaling 11 episodes, including the three that were not produced by TLI, it became the second-longest-running show in Channel 101 history, behind Tyler Spier's Classroom.

Saturday Night Live

With increasing recognition, the trio was invited to write sections of the 2005 MTV Movie Awards, which Jimmy Fallon was hosting. Impressed with their material, he brought them to the attention of Lorne Michaels, the producer of Saturday Night Live, who agreed to see them. Samberg fulfilled a lifelong dream and auditioned for the show. He was the only member of TLI who had also been doing stand-up comedy in his free time. He was called back for a second audition a few weeks later and was ultimately invited to be a cast member; Schaffer and Taccone were invited to join the writing staff based on their work in the trio. Since their arrival, the group has written some of the most popular bits in recent SNL history, most notably, the SNL Digital Shorts.

SNL Digital Shorts

Uncertain if Michaels would approve of a wacky pre-recorded skit on the show, TLI borrowed a video camera and filmed a faux lettuce commercial starring Samberg and Will Forte, a fellow SNL cast member. They presented the finished product to Michaels in December 2005, who liked the short and agreed to air it. It was first of what would be come a regular feature of the program, called Saturday Night Live's Digital Shorts. "Lazy Sunday" the second digital short, enjoyed runaway success in the viral media, as fans responded with T-shirts and response videos. Many of these shorts have skyrocketed to Internet fame, including "Dick in a Box" (with Justin Timberlake), "Natalie's Rap" (with Natalie Portman), "Iran So Far" (with Adam Levine), "Jizz in My Pants" (with a cameo appearance by Timberlake), and "I'm on a Boat" (with T-Pain). One of the more recent songs Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg made is called "Motherlover", which aired on SNL on May 9, 2009. Another recent short is "On the Ground" which aired early October. It features Andy Samberg throwing various objects on the ground for various reasons, often blaming "The System".

"Dick in a Box" won the 2007 Creative Arts Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics. Credited for its production are Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone, and Justin Timberlake, in addition to Katreese Barnes and Asa Taccone for music. Based on 1990s R&B, such as Keith Sweat, Jodeci and R. Kelly, the song is about giving gift-wrapped genitalia as a Christmas present to one's girlfriend.


The group also created the skit MacGruber in which Will Forte plays a MacGyver parody as the eponymous character. In every episode, MacGruber is trapped with his assistants, played by Kristen Wiig (originally Maya Rudolph) and a third person, usually the episode's host and occasionally Richard Dean Anderson as MacGyver, in a room with a bomb that is about to explode. MacGruber starts asking for simple objects to make something to defuse the bomb, but he is later distracted by something (usually involving his personal life) that makes him run out of time. Every skit ends with the bomb exploding and a smash cut to the outside of the room. All of the skits are directed by Taccone (except for 2 episodes which were directed by writer John Solomon).


Incredibad is The Lonely Island's debut album, released on February 10, 2009, on Universal Republic Records.

Taccone and Schaffer also made "Wait (You Guys)" as the Bing Bong Brothers, a spoof of the Ying Yang Twins’ "Wait ."

Hot Rod

As Samberg's fame grew, Michaels thought he might be ready to play the lead role in a comedy movie that had been dormant for years. It was called Hot Rod and was originally written with Will Ferrell in mind as the lead. After the success of "Lazy Sunday", Schaffer and Taccone were brought on as well. Released in August 2007, the film did very poorly at the box office, released the same time as the blockbuster The Bourne Ultimatum, and barely broke even. Additionally, it received mixed or average reviews (, a scenario Samberg anticipated, as he stated is the case with many first time comedies that embrace surreal comedy (ex: Billy Madison).

Individual projects

Samberg appeared on Premium Blend and had a cameo on the season-two finale of Arrested Development. He also made guest appearances on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, The Late Show with David Letterman, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon since joining SNL. Andy Samberg also appears in the film I Love You, Man (2009) in which he plays the gay brother of a man who has no male friends and must find one to be his best man before his wedding day.

Schaffer directed four music videos for the indie rock group We Are Scientists as well as for the Eagles of Death Metal's single "I Want You So Hard ". On SNL, he works as a writer-director, primarily known for directing the SNL Digital Shorts.

Taccone is currently a writer on SNL, and co-starred in the feature film Land of the Lost. He is set to direct the movie for the SNL sketch, MacGruber, which will begin production in August.

Adult Swim

The Lonely Island made a brief appearance on Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!. The episode "Tennis" aired April 12, 2009 on Adult Swim.A brief reference was also made to the band's song Dick in a Box on "Superjail" at the beginning of the episode Terrorarium.



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