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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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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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GIFs via Giphy

Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

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IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….

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IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.

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IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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