Andy Samberg Biography: The Lonely Island, 'SNL'

Born August 18th, 1978 in Mill Valley, California, David Andrew Samberg grew up with comedy idols like Steve Martin, Mel Brooks and Adam Sandler. As teens, he and his friends Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone began performing schoolyard comedy routines to avoid being beaten up, and eventually the trio started making unpolished videos as The Lonely Island. They posted these digital shorts online to almost immediate success, and eventually a chance encounter with "Saturday Night Live" alum Jimmy Fallon led to an audition on the show. Samberg joined the cast, and together with his friends produced even more popular digital shorts until he left the show in 2012. In this video, learns more about the life and career of Andy Samberg.

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Biography of Andy Samberg

He’s on a boat. Welcome to, and today we’ll be learning more about the life and career of Andy Samberg.

Early Life

David Andrew Samberg was born August 18th, 1978 in Mill Valley, California. Comedians like Mel Brooks, Steve Martin and Adam Sandler inspired him as a child, but he was truly tickled when he discovered “Saturday Night Live.”

Jorma Taccone, Akiva Schaffer

Samberg and classmates Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone performed comedy to avoid schoolyard beatings. After leaving high school in 1996, Samberg eventually ended up graduating with an experimental film degree from New York University in 2000.

The Lonely Island

Samberg then returned to LA and his buddies, where they formed a comedy troupe called the Lonely Island, named after the apartment they shared. He put his degree to good use when the trio started filming crudely-produced comedy clips they called digital shorts, and posted them online.

The First Digital Shorts

Internet popularity followed, thanks to outrageous skits like “Awesometown” and their O.C. spoof “The ‘Bu.” Meanwhile, Samberg was working as a production assistant on the sitcom “Spin City” and doing stand-up in his spare time.

MTV Movie Awards

Online fame translated to real work when the Lonely Island was invited to write for the MTV Movie Awards. “Saturday Night Live” alum Jimmy Fallon hosted in 2005, and was impressed by their hard work.

“Saturday Night Live”

Fallon introduced Samberg and his pals to “SNL” creator Lorne Michaels, who had them audition for the show. Samberg became a cast member for the 2005-2006 season, while Schaffer and Taccone took writing jobs.

“SNL” Digital Shorts

During his first season, Samberg also landed his first acting job on “Arrested Development.” Meanwhile, the Lonely Island began airing their unpolished digital shorts on “SNL” to immediate popularity. The breakout came in December 2005 in the form of “Lazy Sunday.”

“Lazy Sunday”

Samberg, Schaffer and Taccone, along with “SNL” cast member Chris Parnell, penned the rap parody. The corresponding video was an overnight success: it was downloaded over one million times the day after it aired, was labeled one of the top “SNL” moments of the 2000s, and was even credited with popularizing YouTube.

“Dick in a Box”

Samberg continued appearing in shorts like “Laser Cats” and performing goofy characters and impersonations on the show. The next digital short hit came at Christmas 2006 when he and Justin Timberlake mocked early-‘90s R&B with “Dick in a Box.” That won them a Creative Arts Emmy for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics, and triggered the beginning of Samberg’s mainstream success, despite the vulgarity.

Movie Career

In 2007, Samberg’s star power got him the lead in “Hot Rod.” The flick co-starred Taccone and was directed by Schaffer, and eventually became a cult hit. Samberg then appeared in “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist,” “I Love You, Man,” and “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” before he hosted the MTV Movie Awards in 2009.


2009 was another big year for Samberg and the Lonely Island: the trio released their first album “Incredibad,” which featured tracks they produced for “SNL.” This was the first comedy album to hit number one on iTunes, and was the eighth-highest selling hip hop album of the year.

Award Nominations

Award consideration followed: the Lonely Island received more Emmy nods, while their alliance with T-Pain earned them a Grammy nomination for Best Rap/Song Collaboration.

“Turtleneck and Chain”

They repeated that success in 2011 with their second album, “Turtleneck and Chain,” which featured tracks like the Akon-backed “I Just Had Sex” and the Michael Bolton song “Jack Sparrow.”

More Work Outside the Group

Outside the group and “SNL,” Samberg appeared in films like “What’s Your Number” and “Friends with Benefits,” while he also hosted the Discovery Channel’s popular Shark Week in 2011.

Retirement from “SNL”

The next year, Samberg and friends marked some milestones: they produced a star-studded 100th digital short on “SNL,” as well as “Lazy Sunday 2.” His film career picked up in 2012 with his first serious role in “Celeste and Jesse Forever,” and well as two movies with his idol Adam Sandler: “That’s My Boy” and “Hotel Transylvania,” which came to theatres after Samberg announced his retirement from “Saturday Night Live.”


With his trademark silly smile and bushy hair, Andy Samberg has gone from underground star to mainstream success in a few short years. He and his friends represent the idea of do-it-yourself filmmaking, and have gained the respect of many celebs in the process.

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