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The Lonely Island Admitted One Big Regret From Saturday Night Live

From 2005 to 2012, The Lonely Island — the musical comedy trio comprised of Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer — helped make "Saturday Night Live" bigger than ever with their Digital Shorts. Hits like "D*** in a Box," "Motherlover," and "Jack Sparrow" were huge viral sensations after each show aired, and the ridiculous songs the close friends created together definitely helped their careers reach incredible new heights. They have one big regret about those songs, though.

As the trio told late-night host Seth Meyers (who worked alongside The Lonely Island on "SNL" during their shared tenure) on the quartet's podcast "The Lonely Island and Seth Meyers Podcast" — where they discuss their old Digital Shorts — they're all parents now, and their songs are too profane for their kids. "Every one of our songs is too dirty to play [for our kids]," Taccone admitted. "There's only 'YOLO' and maybe like one or two others."

As for Schaffer, he said his kids are old enough to understand the jokes: "I just play them for them now, but my kids are older." (Though Seth Meyers said there's probably censored versions of Lonely Island hits like "I'm On a Boat," Samberg says it exists but "it's just bleeped to all hell." That wasn't the only thing about their old work that The Lonely Island regrets, though; as Schaffer pointed out, none of them thought about what it might be like for a younger viewer watching "SNL" while they were writing and performing on the show.

The Lonely Island thinks they were somewhat careless during their time on Saturday Night Live

According to Akiva Schaffer, it's not just the bad words or ridiculously explicit content — seen in shorts like "J*** in My Pants" or either of Natalie Portman's rap sketches — that gives him pause about the group's time on "Saturday Night Live." As a parent, he's spent years thinking about kids being exposed to jarring or frightening content without any warning, and he feels like they were a little careless with things of that nature, particularly because the show is on so late at night.

"For all 'SNL,' what we really didn't care about was being really dirty or really scary with no warning it was going to happen on the show," Schaffer told Seth Meyers. "Like an Update joke can quickly flash Freddy Krueger's face in a way that a kid who had never seen Freddy Krueger would go, 'Oh, what was that?' in a way that could give them nightmares. We would not have thought twice about something like that. Because we'd be like, 'Yeah, it's a Freddy Krueger joke, here's an image of Freddy Krueger. It's midnight, who cares?'" This is a pretty good point by Schaffer, frankly; something like that could certainly freak out a kid who's just trying to watch some sketch comedy.

Schaffer went on to say, "And now, when I'm watching with my kids, they like watching 'SNL' but they're afraid it's going to scare them or show them something that they don't want to see and it's going to haunt their dreams, literally. So I would have been cognizant of not scaring or putting something dirty in the middle of something that's not dirty for no reason."

What is The Lonely Island doing today?

The Lonely Island left "Saturday Night Live" in 2012, and they've been working together pretty steadily ever since. One year after leaving the NBC institution, the trio worked together on "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," the police workplace comedy led by Andy Samberg (Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer both directed some episodes), and they also followed up their irreverent 2007 comedy "Hot Rod" with yet another feature film. The music mockumentary "Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping," released in 2016, is directed by Taccone and Schaffer, with all three serving as writers, and in 2019, the trio worked together on a short film for Netflix titled "The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience" (which features Schaffer and Samberg as Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire). They've also released four studio albums, including soundtracks to both of those movies, and in 2019, The Lonely Island toured the United States, playing a selection of their delightfully bizarre songs.

The trio also spends a lot of time working as producers for other major projects; two of the most notable shows they've helped by producing them are the coming-of-age comedy "PEN15" and the Emmy-winning sketch series "I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson." Maybe they weren't super responsible during their time on "Saturday Night Live," but these days, The Lonely Island is still going strong — and making their unique brand of raucous, weird content.