A comedic trio originally known for a series of "digital shorts" aired on Saturday Night Live, the Lonely Island feature three of the show's writers, Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone. Samberg originally met Schaffer and Taccone in Berkeley, California while attending junior high school. After graduating high school, the three went their separate ways. They reunited in 2001, formed the Lonely Island, and created sitcoms and sketch shows in hopes of landing a network deal. It didn't happen, but when they partnered with the website Channel 101, their popularity took off. A faux hip-hop project called Incredibad followed, then the Fox network commissioned a sketch show called Awesometown from the crew, but it never made it past the pilot.
After being hired by SNL, a 2005 digital short they created called "Lazy Sunday" became an online phenomenon. Featuring Samberg and fellow cast member Chris Parnell, "Lazy Sunday" spawned the phrase "Mr. Pibb and Red Vines = Crazy Delicious" and was followed a year later by the equally popular short "Dick in a Box" starring Justin Timberlake. That same year they made a moderately successful jump to the big screen with the film Hot Rod. In 2008, they took on the Euro-dance sound with a new short, "Jizz in My Pants." The track was made available as a digital download in order to promote the group's full-length debut. Once again titled Incredibad, the album was released in 2009 and featured guest stars Timberlake, Norah Jones, and T-Pain. Timberlake returned for their sophomore release, Turtleneck & Chain, appearing along with Beck, Snoop Dogg, and Rihanna, plus the king of the power ballad, Michael Bolton.
Their next effort, The Wack Album, featuring guest spots from Too $hort, Kendrick Lamar, and Lady Gaga, arrived in 2013. That same year, Samberg joined the sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine while the group featured with Tegan and Sara for 2014's "Everything Is Awesome," the theme from The Lego Movie produced by Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh. In 2016 they wrote, directed, starred in, and released the mockumentary film Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. The film was produced by Judd Apatow and featured an accompanying soundtrack, with songs including "I'm So Humble" (with Adam Levine) and "Turn Up the Beef" (with Emma Stone). ~ David Jeffries