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The Untold Truth Of Andy Samberg

If you're a longtime fan of Saturday Night Live, you've likely spent years watching talented comedic actors filter in and out of the cast. Huge stars like Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, and Eddie Murphy have become rightful legends since their time at SNL, and while some some of the show's stars haven't quite reached those storied heights, many of them have still gone on to change the comedy game.

Andy Samberg is the perfect example. Casual SNL viewers might just remember him as a goofy guy with floppy hair, but if you've ever emailed a Digital Short to any of your friends, you have Samberg to thank. But there's a lot more to this comedian than meets the eye, and both his backstory and his current projects are incredibly fascinating. From his West Coast upbringing to "Lazy Sunday" to starring in a sitcom, here's everything you don't know about SNL star Andy Samberg.

Andy Samberg made famous friends early in life

According to Biography, Andy Samberg grew up in Berkeley, California, the son of a relatively well-known photographer named Joe and an elementary school teacher named Marjorie. However, anyone who knew him as a kid would've called him by a different name. As it turns out, Andy Samberg was actually born "David" Samberg, but he goes by Andy after telling his parents that he wanted to change his name at age five, a request they granted.

During his junior high days in California, he met Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer at Willard Junior High, and he would reunite with them years later after college. Plus, Samberg met most of his future collaborators at a pretty young age. Samberg made friends with his eventual Brooklyn Nine-Nine co-star Chelsea Peretti when they were kids, and when he transferred from University of California, Santa Cruz to New York University, he was roommates with Murray Miller. Together, the two would later work on the sports mockumentaries 7 Days in Hell and Tour de Pharmacy.

The beginning of the Lonely Island

After graduating, Andy Samberg joined forces with his old college buddies Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer, and the rest was history. Together, they formed a sketch group called "the Lonely Island," making short comedy sketches that they filmed in their modest Los Angeles apartments. Between their own website and a local channel in Los Angeles that aired original sketches from aspiring filmmakers, they got some attention on a smaller scale, but their big break was yet to come.

Between skits like The 'Bu (a parody of the popular teen soap The O.C.) and early stuff like White Power (about a teeth-whitening product with a really bad name), the Lonely Island grew in popularity, and eventually, Samberg's former roommate, Murray Miller, got the trio a job writing for host Jimmy Fallon at the 2005 MTV Movie Awards. Luckily, Fallon was impressed, and he recommended them to none other than Lorne Michaels. By the fall, Samberg was performing on Saturday Night Live, and Taccone and Schaffer were on the writing staff.

The legacy of 'Lazy Sunday'

For some SNL newbies, it takes a little bit of time to really get started on the legendary sketch show, but Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer got off to a running start in 2005. After joining in September, they continued making Lonely Island-style short videos for the show — one of their earliest efforts, "Lettuce," is still an inexplicable standout — but they struck SNL gold during 2005's Christmas show with "Lazy Sunday."

A hardcore rap about eating Magnolia Bakery cupcakes and catching an afternoon screening of The Chronicles of Narnia, "Lazy Sunday" — which starred Samberg and fellow SNL castmate Chris Parnell (and was written by the two stars, alongside Taccone and Schaffer) — was only the second "Digital Short" the Lonely Island ever aired for SNL, and it became an instant sensation. As one of the earliest viral videos to ever hit YouTube, which was in its infancy when "Lazy Sunday" premiered, it gave the online streaming platform an enormous boost and plenty of visibility, with over 2 million viewings shortly after it was uploaded. The video is still credited with putting YouTube on the map, and beyond that, it also made SNL Digital Shorts into a booming enterprise for the series.

Andy Samberg's projects with Adam Sandler

After some time on Saturday Night Live, Samberg managed to hitch his comedic wagon to one of the sketch show's most famous alumni — Adam Sandler, who made his mark on SNL a generation before Samberg showed up, entertaining fans with original songs and outrageous performances. Since then, the two have performed together multiple times, with Samberg joining Sandler in several of his films.

In 2012, Samberg starred as Sandler's long-lost son in the raucous comedy That's My Boy (one of the worst Sandler movies ever), and that same year, Samberg lent his voice to Sandler's Hotel Transylvania, playing the comedian's would-be son-in-law. Samberg went on to appear in several sequels alongside Sandler, including Hotel Transylvania 2 and Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation

Ultimately, Sandler returned the favor by appearing on Brooklyn Nine-Nine as himself, lampooning his own career (long before he made dramatic waves with Uncut Gems) as he tells Samberg's character that he's "serious" and writing a movie about the Russian Revolution ... before admitting that Kevin James plays Trotsky.

Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg are in sync

Andy Samberg has collaborated with a number of super famous celebrities, including the one and only Justin Timberlake, the boy band dreamboat turned mega star. After the two paired up for SNL's hit digital short "D**k in a Box," where the pair spoofed groups like Color Me Badd and Boyz II Men with an incredibly unromantic ballad to their ladies, it was clear that Timberlake's comedic chops could match Samberg's. After that, they made two more shorts to complete a sort of "trilogy," following their huge hit up with "Motherlover," co-starring Susan Sarandon and Patricia Clarkson, and "3-Way (The Golden Rule)," which also starred Lady Gaga as their third party.

The NSYNC star turned solo artist isn't above small appearances in Samberg's other projects either, making it clear that he puts his ego aside to have fun working with his friend. Not only did he appear in a split second cameo in a different Lonely Island SNL short, "J*** in My Pants," but he also appeared in the Lonely Island's second feature film Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. In the film, Timberlake appeared as Cyrus, the overeager and easily excitable chef who tours with Samberg's conceited pop star Conner4Real. Sure, it was a box office bomb, but it's still worth watching because it's incredibly hilarious.

He was a superfan of his future wife

Samberg has been married to his wife, musician Joanna Newsom, since 2013, after the couple dated for five years. A self-proclaimed "superfan" of Newsom's music before they even met, Samberg was excited to meet the singer at one of her concerts, and as Newsom told late-night host Seth Meyers, their meet-cute was a lot more profane than anyone would expect.

According to Newsom (via Entertainment Weekly), during a 2016 appearance on Meyers' show, Newsom recalled that the two originally met when ""Fred Armisen brought [Samberg] to one of [her] shows." Newsom continued, "I had just been with my band backstage, like an hour before, watching 'Just 2 Guyz.' He has a tiny part. He plays Steve the c***. So when I met him, he was kinda shy, and I said, 'Oh my god, you're Steve the c***!' He always says he saw heart bubbles." 

For the uninitiated, "Just 2 Guyz" is an early Lonely Island skit starring Schaffer and Taccone — with a small cameo from Samberg as the much-maligned Steve — and clearly, that appearance was all it took to capture Newsom's attention.

Andy Samberg has a long-standing feud with the Meyers family

Seth Meyers and Andy Samberg have remained good friends since the two worked on Saturday Night Live together — Meyers spent 13 years as a cast member on the show, eventually running the Weekend Update segment and becoming head writer — but Samberg does have one bitter ongoing feud with a specific member of the Meyers family. Every time Samberg appears on Meyers' late-night NBC show, he makes it a point to comment on Meyers' beloved Italian greyhound, Frisbee.

Samberg absolutely hates Frisbee, and he never misses an opportunity to insult Meyers' dog. During an appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers in February 2020, Samberg complained incessantly about the Meyers family holiday card, which featured Frisbee prominently, saying that Meyers might as well have sent him "anthrax." He also added that as he was "walking home drunk in New York at 4:00 in the morning," he saw rats that he liked "more than Frisbee." This standoff has been going on for quite some time, and it's pretty clear that Samberg isn't going to give up the fight any time soon.

Andy Samberg is an award-winning artist

Don't think Samberg's silliness means he's not a decorated performer. This comedic actor has been nominated for some seriously big awards, and he's even won one.

In 2007, 2009, and 2011, Samberg was nominated for Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Music and Lyrics for "D*** in a Box," "Motherlover," "I Just Had Sex," "3-Way (The Golden Rule)," and "Jack Sparrow," with his final three nominations all in 2011. Unfortunately, Samberg didn't win any of those, but in 2014, he scored big at the Golden Globe Awards with Brooklyn Nine-Nine when the show won Best Musical or Comedy TV Series. On top of that, Samberg went home with the award for Best Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy. 

Samberg even hosted the 2019 Golden Globes ceremony alongside fellow Globe-winner Sandra Oh, a pairing borne out of the duo's excellent chemistry while presenting at the 2018 Golden Globes. And he was well-prepared for the job, as he'd previously hosted the 2015 Emmys shortly after his Globes victory.

The Lonely Island is still going strong

Even though Andy Samberg is busy on an acclaimed TV show, he still has time to spend on his passion projects, and the Lonely Island is a huge priority for the star. Since 2009, the group has released four studio albums: Incredibad, Turtleneck & Chain, The Wack Album, and The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience. Plus, they created two majorly underrated comedies — Hot Rod and Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. They even went on their first nationwide concert tour in 2019 after their first-ever live show at 2019's Bonnaroo music festival. 

On top of all that, the group creates and produces shows in which the trio don't appear, including Alone Together, I'm Sorry, and the beloved Hulu original PEN15. Schaffer and Samberg also teamed up for the Netflix sketch series I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson. Schaffer directed several episodes, while Samberg appeared in the final episode.

And while any fan of the Lonely Island knows just how funny their songs can be, some might not know there's actually an underlying social message underneath the silliness. Many of the Lonely Island's songs are actually meant to spoof both the opulence and over-the-top nature of rap music, as well as toxic masculinity. Another fact about this ridiculous trio is that none of their songs exceed three minutes. According to Samberg, the group doesn't think the audience could stand it if they were longer.

The weird way Andy Samberg joined Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Andy Samberg's most famous post-Saturday Night Live venture is definitely Brooklyn Nine-Nine, a Michael Schur-produced workplace comedy about Brooklyn's enigmatic 99th precinct. Samberg stars as Jake Peralta, a goofy but incredibly talented detective, alongside a stacked cast that includes Andre Braugher as the deadpan Captain Holt, Melissa Fumero as Jake's type-A detective wife Amy Santiago, and Terry Crews as the precinct's extremely buff sergeant. The show was actually canceled by its original network, Fox, after five seasons in 2018, but after plenty of outcry, NBC swooped in and saved the show, renewing it for several more seasons.

It's no surprise that Samberg was excited to sign on to a series with Schur, as he was a big fan of Schur's Parks & Recreation. (He even appeared in one episode.) But it might be surprising for some fans to learn that Samberg signed on to the show before the first script even existed. Clearly, his gamble paid off, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine fans can only hope Samberg will keep playing Jake Peralta for years to come.

Old friends still come first for Andy Samberg

Between his time-consuming work on Brooklyn Nine-Nine and producing new projects from up-and-coming comedians and showrunners, Andy Samberg is a busy man, and if that's not enough, he and Newsom had their first child, a daughter, in 2017. With so many people to answer to, from showrunners to his wife and child, Samberg has to touch base with a lot of people before he takes on any potentially big new projects, but there are two other people he checks in with before making any big decisions — Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone. 

In a 2020 cover story for Men's Journal, Samberg admitted that before he picks any projects, he checks with his friends as well as his family. As he put it, "In the same way, I have to go to my wife and go, 'Hey, would I be able to do this movie?' I also need to call those guys — even if it has nothing to do with them — and go, 'In six months, are we thinking that we would do something together?'" The bond between the Lonely Island guys runs deep, which means fans will get to watch these three friends keep having fun on screen together for quite some time.

He broke a ridiculous record at Sundance

Andy Samberg might be an award-winning actor on a show beloved by everyone from Lin-Manuel Miranda to Sean Astin, but his humor definitely still skews towards the juvenile side of the spectrum ... which is exactly what makes him so endearing. This was on perfect display in early 2020, when Samberg made headlines at Sundance for the most ridiculous reason possible.

Samberg's latest film, Palm Springs, a comedy in which he stars alongside Cristin Milioti, set a new sales record at the film festival in January 2020. In the end, Neon and Hulu won exclusive rights to the film for a total of $17.5 million dollars ... and 69 cents. (The previous record-holder was 2016's Birth of a Nation, which sold for $17.5 million exactly.) According to Samberg (via The Hollywood Reporter), it was all Akiva Schaffer's idea — Samberg and the other two members of the Lonely Island will also produce the film — and though their reps begged them not to do it, the whole situation makes for a hilarious and lucrative punchline.