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Three Best Friends

10 Things You May Not Know About The Lonely Island

Catch The Lonely Island tonight at 11:30P on Comedy Bang! Bang!.

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Comedy trio The Lonely Island, aka Jorma Taccone, Akiva Schaffer, and Andy Samberg, have really hit their stride in the last few years. Direct a feature, drop an album, star on a hit sitcom — there isn’t much these talented guys can’t do. With the boys stopping by Comedy Bang! Bang! this week to promote their new comedy blockbuster PopStar: Never Stop Never Stopping, we thought it was high time to expose their darkest secrets. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any, so here are a few fun facts instead.

10. The Boys Met In Junior High.

Lonely Island
Universal Republic

The three members of The Lonely Island met back in the early ’90s, at Willard Junior High School in Berkeley, California. Akiva and Jorma became friends first, and eventually let Andy, a year younger, into their crew. The three bonded over their mutual love of skateboarding, before discovering comedy.


9. Chelsea Peretti was there too.

Something must have been in the water in 1990s Berkeley, because these weren’t the only three comedy heavyweights to come out of it. In fact, Andy knew future Brooklyn Nine-Nine costar Chelsea Peretti long before he’d met his Lonely Island cohorts. The two went to elementary school together, and Chelsea has admitted she had a huge crush on the homeroom heartthrob. She used to call his house over and over again, hanging up as soon as someone picked up.


8. Kiefer Sutherland once went all “24” on them.

In their early twenties, The Lonely Island boys all decamped to Los Angeles, where they started making short comedy videos for fun. One of these shorts — a video called “White Power” in which the boys get addicted to tooth whitening paste — almost came off the rails thanks to a certain TV super spy. While shooting a staged fight on the side of the road, a passerby hopped out of his car and tried to break up the fisticuffs. That stranger turned out to be Jack Bauer himself, Kiefer Sutherland.


7. They can thank Dan Harmon for their first viral success.

While the boys were making videos together in the early ’00s, they didn’t have much of an audience. The Internet was still more of an information superhighway than a hub of cat videos and low rent comedy skits. Thankfully, future Community impresario Dan Harmon had just founded a short film festival, which would evolve to become the now famous Channel 101. Each week, aspiring filmmakers could show their shorts, and if the audience liked them, they would vote for another installment to be made. The boys hit it big with their second series, a Malibu-set parody of The O.C. called The ‘Bu, which would eventually help them secure representation.


6. Akiva directed a video for Wilmer Valderrama.

Of the three members of The Lonely Island, Akiva Schaffer operates the most behind the scenes. A frequent director of the boys’ work, he’s also branched out to helm a variety of other projects, like the big budget comedy The Watch. He also directed a number of music videos for bands like We Are Scientists and Eagles of Death Metal, and, yes, even one for That ’70s Show alum Wilmer Valderrama and his musical persona Eduardo Fresco.


5. They made an “awesome” pilot before landing on SNL.

The boys had their ups and downs before making their way to Saturday Night Live. Big breaks came and went, including their first real shot at stardom. Having made a name for themselves with their online shorts, they were hired to shoot a pilot called Awesometown. A surreal mix of the music spoofs and anti-comedy that would come to define their style, the pilot was genuinely funny, but went nowhere. In fact, Fox, MTV and Comedy Central all passed on it, leading the boys to question whether their style could translate to a larger audience.


4. They owe Jimmy Fallon big time.

Jimmy Fallon
MTV

It would take Jimmy Fallon to introduce them to the big time. With their pilot going nowhere, the LI guys were hired to write jokes for the future Tonight Show host, who was hosting the 2005 MTV Movie Awards. Impressed with their comedy chops, he recommended them to SNL guru Lorne Michaels. The boys auditioned soon afterwards, with Samberg impersonating a 1980s jogger commenting on the recession. (He later did the character on the show.) Andy was hired as a Featured Player, while Jorma and Akiva were brought on as writers for the 2005/06 seasons. The three struggled at first, getting only a couple sketches on the air. Both got them a little notice, but nothing compared to their next sketch, which would change their lives, the show and the Internet forever.


3. They saved YouTube.

In 2005, “Lazy Sunday,” The Lonely Island’s first SNL digital short, dropped like an atomic bomb and became an overnight sensation. T-shirts were made, radio stations started playing the now hit song, and a fledging website called YouTube became THE place for people to check it out. NBC, not yet understanding the power of the Internet, fought like hell to keep the sketch off the site, but not before the world realized what a viral video was. YouTube would soon become a billion dollar company and The Lonely Island would become superstars.


2. Jorma’s brother is a rock star.

Jorma Taccone has built quite a career outside of The Lonely Island, co-writing MacGruber and guest starring on shows like The League, Parks and Recreation and Girls. But he’s not the only talent in the family. His brother, Asa Taccone, is the lead singer of the indie rock band Electric Guest. The band has made appearances on Late Show with David LettermanLate Night with Jimmy Fallon and Conan, and made MTV’s list of Artists to Watch in 2012.


1. Adam Sandler showed up to Andy’s wedding in character.

Adam Sandler
Sony Pictures

Not many people saw Andy Samberg’s comedy collaboration with Adam Sandler, That’s My Boy, and even fewer actually enjoyed the thing. Still, the flop may have been worth it for this one anecdote. It seems Andy Samberg invited his costar to his 2013 wedding, not expecting the movie bigwig to actually make it. So you can imagine his surprise when Sandler showed up to the rehearsal dinner as his That’s My Boy character, yelling things like “Oh, am I f*cking embarrassing you, buddy?” We’re guessing Andy’s soon to be wife, indie folk singer Joanna Newsom, probably answered “yes.”

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Very NSFW

The Brockmire Premiere Is All Truth

Watch The First Episode of Brockmire Right Now for Free

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GIFS via Giphy

At long last, the Brockmire pre-premiere has arrived. Which means you can watch it right now—on IFC.com, at Funny Or Die, on IFC’s Apple TV and mobile apps, on Youtube, on Facebook, on the AMC apps, and right here. So grab some headphones and get watching.

No seriously, get headphones.

Because whether he’s giving a play-by-play or ruminating on the world around him, Jim Brockmire calls it like he sees it. And how he sees it is very NSFW. His take on life is actually quite refreshing, even to the point of being profoundly sage. For proof just look at these pearls of unconventional wisdom from the premiere…

Brockmire On The Internet

“If I need porn I just buy a nudie mag, like my father and his father before him.”

Brockmire On Sex-Ed

“Kids, a strap-on is a belt with d— on it that mommies use to f— daddies.”
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Brockmire On The Perfect High

“Somewhere between 10 cups of coffee and very low-grade cocaine.”
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Brockmire On The Tardiness of Spring

“Old man winter’s reaching his hand inside your coat to give that thing one more squeeze.”

Brockmire On Keeping Perspective

“I thought I hit rock bottom in a handicap restroom in Bangkok where a Thai lady-boy snorted crank off my johnson while a sunburnt German watched us on the toilet”
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Brockmire On Humanity

“If you want to look directly into the gaping maw of oblivion, don’t look up to the heavens. Just look in the mirror.”
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See these nuggets and more in the first episode of Brockmire, and see the whole season beginning April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Thank Azaria

Best. Characters. Ever.

Our favorite Hank Azaria characters.

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Hank Azaria may well be the most prolific voice and character actor of our time. The work he’s done for The Simpsons alone has earned him a permanent place in the pop culture zeitgeist. And now he’s bringing another character to the mainstream: a washed-up sports announcer named Jim Brockmire, in the aptly titled new series Brockmire.

We’re looking forward to it. So much so that we want to look backward, too, with a short-but-sweet retrospective of some of Azaria’s important characters. Shall we begin?

Half The Recurring Simpsons Characters

He’s Comic Book Guy. He’s Chief Wiggum. He’s Apu. He’s Cletus. He’s Snake. He’s Superintendent Chalmers. He’s the Sea Captain. He’s Kurt “Can I Borrow A Feeling” Van Houten. He’s Professor Frink. He’s Carl. And he’s many more. But most importantly he’s Moe Szyslak, the staple character Azaria has voiced since his very first audition for The Simpsons.

Oh, and He’s Frank Grimes

For all the regular Simpsons characters Azaria has played over the years, his most brilliant performance may have been a one-off: Frank Grimes, the scrappy bootstrapper who worked tirelessly all his life for honest, incremental, and easily-undermined success. Azaria’s portrayal of this character was nuanced, emotional, and simply magical.

Patches O’Houlihan

Dodgeball is a “sport of violence, exclusion and degradation.” as Hank Azaria generously points out in his brief but crucial cameo in Dodgeball. That’s sage wisdom. Try applying his “five D’s” to your life on and off the court and enjoy the results.

Harold Zoid

Of Futurama fame. The crazy uncle of Dr. Zoidberg, Harold Zoid was once a lion (or lobster) of the silver screen until Smell-o-vision forced him into retirement.

Agador

The Birdcage was significant for many reasons, and the comic genius of Hank Azaria’s character “Agador” sits somewhere towards the top of that list. If you haven’t seen this movie, shame on you.

Gargamel

Nobody else could make a live-action Gargamel possible.

Ed Cochran

From Ray Donovan. Great character, great last name [editorial note: the author of this article may be bias].

Kahmunra, The Thinker, Abe Lincoln

All in the Night At The Museum: Battle Of The Smithsonian, a file that let Azaria flex his voice acting and live-action muscles in one fell swoop.

The Blue Raja

Mystery Men has everything, including a fatal case of Smash Mouth. Azaria’s iconic superhero makes the shortlist of redeemable qualities, though.

Dr. Huff

Huff put Azaria in a leading role, and it was good. So good that there is no good gif of it. Internet? More like Inter-not.

Learn more about Hank Azaria’s newest claim to fame right here, and don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Flame Out

Brockmire and Other Public Implosions

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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There’s less than a month until the Brockmire premiere, and to say we’re excited would be an insulting understatement. It’s not just that it stars Hank Azaria, who can do no wrong (and yes, that’s including Mystery Men, which is only cringeworthy because of Smash Mouth). It’s that the whole backstory of the titular character, Jim Brockmire, is the stuff of legends. A one-time iconic sportscaster who won the hearts of fans and players alike, he fell from grace after an unfortunate personal event triggered a seriously public meltdown. See for yourself in the NSFW Funny or Die digital short that spawned the IFC series:

See? NSFW and spectacularly catastrophic in a way that could almost be real. Which got us thinking: What are some real-life sports fails that have nothing to do with botched athletics and everything to do with going tragically off script? The internet is a dark and dirty place, friends, but these three examples are pretty special and mostly safe for work…

Disgruntled Sports Reporter

His co-anchor went offsides and he called it like he saw it.

Jim Rome vs Jim “Not Chris” Everett

You just don’t heckle a professional athlete when you’re within striking distance. Common sense.

Carl Lewis’s National Anthem

He killed it! As in murdered. It’s dead.

To see more moments just like these, we recommend spending a day in your pajamas combing through the muckiness of the internet. But to see something that’s Brockmire-level funny without having to clear your browser history, check out the sneak peeks and extras here.

Don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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