The Lonely Island
The Lonely Island is a group of American comedians. The lineup of the group consists of Jorma Taccone, Akiva Schaffer and Andy Samberg. They have become best known for their parodies of popular musical genres and rose to fame once they caught the attention of Saturday Night Live's Lorne Michaels.
The Lonely Island: The Early Years
The three main members of The Lonely Island grew up in Berkeley, California, where they met at high school. They took an early interest in R&B and hip-hop. Taccone's first ever concert was Keith Sweat and Boyz II Men. All three members of Lonely Island went to different universities once they had graduated from high school. Once they had all graduated, they were reunited and moved to Los Angeles. The name Lonely Island comes from the name they gave to their humble apartment that they rented in LA.
Once in LA, they started making videos with Chester Tam, known as Chez and Jonah Goldstein. They run a website which hosts a number of their podcasts and video skits, which often feature their friends, such as Asa Taccone, Kal Penn and Brandon Routh.
One of The Lonely Island's first comedy projects was an eponymously-titled sitcom. One of the two episodes made featured a cameo appearance from Brooke Shields. During the filming of one of the episodes, Keifer Sutherland got out of his car to interrupt what he thought was elderly woman being attacked in real life. They also filmed a parody of Vanilla Sky, as well as a number of sketches, including 'The Legend of Ander Pants' and 'The Backseatsman'.
The Lonely Island: Breakthrough & Success
Using the name Incredibad, The Lonely Island recorded a number of comedy hip-hop songs, with titles such as 'Just 2 Guyz' and 'Stork Patrol'. They also released a collection of these tracks on a compilation entitled Please, Incredibad, Don't Hurt 'Em (a reference to MC Hammer's almost identically titled album). The group was applauded for their accurate replication of different periods of hip-hop.
They went on to parody the popular US TV show The O.C. Their take on the show was named The 'Bu and featured a talking squirrel as well as the actress Sarah Chalke (of Scrubs). Eight episodes were shown on the internet site Channel 101.
The Fox TV network commissioned The Lonely Island to create a pilot for Awesometown, a new comedy sketch program. Fox rejected the content, as did MTV when The Lonely Island remade the pilot for them. The MTV pilot featured Jack Black.
However, The Lonely Island were asked to write some of Jimmy Fallon's script for the MTV Movie Awards. Fallon was impressed with the trio and alerted Lorne Michaels (the producer of Saturday Night Live) to their work. Samberg was the first member of the trio to audition and become a cast member, followed by Schaffer and Taccone, who were invited onto the writing team.
The Lonely Island filmed a spoof lettuce commercial and showed it to Michaels, unsure whether or not he would agree to have pre-recorded material on the show. Michaels liked the skit and it led to the 'Digital Shorts' series aired on Saturday Night Live. Many of the skits have proven hugely popular on the internet, especially 'Dick In A Box' starring Justin Timberlake, 'I'm On A Boat' (with T-Pain) and 'Natalie's Rap', with Natalie Portman.
The MacGruber skit is also very popular, with Will Forte playing a MacGyver parody.
The Lonely Island's debut Incredibad album is entitled Incredibad and was released in February 2009 on Universal Republic Records.
Samberg starred in the film Hot Rod, in a role originally intended for Will Ferrell. The film was released in August 2007 (at the same time as The Bourne Ultimatum) and performed badly at the box office, barely covering the cost of making the film. Samberg has also appeared in the Arrested Development series as well as the film I Love You, Man alongside Jason Segel and Paul Rudd.
Schaffer has directed music videos for We Are Scientists, a group known for their sense of humour.