It all started on Saturday Night Live in December 2005. Midway through a so-so episode of the New York institution, we were treated to a digital short featuring Chris Parnell and Andy Samberg. The premise was simple enough: two white guys rapping about their Sunday, cupcakes, and The Chronicles of Narnia. The massive reception of that particular digital short, "Lazy Sunday," catapulted the trio -- Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer -- responsible for it into the comedy stratosphere, not to mention the conscience of college kids, moms, your hip Aunt Julie, and Pastor Dan. Four years later, Samberg & Company -- better known as The Lonely Island -- have released a comedy album that showcases their biting, super-stupid sense of humor, as well as their fascination and extreme attention to detail with regards to today's top 40 music scene. The guys are funny, proven by their 2007 film Hot Rod, but who knew they make music that absolutely skews top 40 rap, Rastafarianism, and hipster club jams.
The trio smartly debuted their fantastic send-up of mainstream rap's excessive culture "I'm on a Boat" during the February 7 episode of Saturday Night Live, a few days before the album was due out in stores. Yes, these guys are fortunate enough to have SNL as a launching pad for most of their work, but I am simply thankful that I am able to be exposed to some of their songs in such a way. Most of the time their digital shorts make the whole episode of SNL worthwhile. Case in point: Their spot-on mock-up of hipster club jams and dudes who wear skinny jeans with high-tops and huge scarves, "Jizz in My Pants," was about the only thing watchable during a recent episode.
The album expands on what comedic sensibility Samberg, Taccone, and Schaffer have already established in their numerous years collaborating together. Their's is a pretty silly, stupid, and over-the-top sensibility, but it also is a focused and polished one, too. Take a song like "The Old Saloon," another great send-up of the repetitive, self-serving style of today's rap music. It's a stupid one-minute song about the Old West, placing cowboys and sheriffs in the place of rap stars and MC's. It features a stupid gunshot sound no more than 10 times throughout the song as well as one of the guys screaming "DJ [Wurrhwoo]" in random spots. I can't make out what exactly he's saying, but it doesn't matter -- it's a perfect mockery of a DJ's adamant insistence to get their fucking name plastered over a song as often as possible in as brash, loud manner as possible (yeah, you, DJ Clue).
"Santana DVX," a rap about a champagne created by Carlos Santana, is as unmistakably white and goofy as the hilarious "I'm on a Boat." The hilarious insistence of Samberg to use profanity makes him sound even lamer and goofier -- and I love every minute of it. Turning something like riding on a boat into some sort of real accomplishment, especially in The Lonely Island's manner, just gives the parody even more teeth. "Ras Trent" is takes a hilarious dump all over Trustafarians, touting such lines as "Rastafarianism!," "You no wann test me champion sound" and "shanty dorms." It shows the guys have done their research and wouldn't dare try to mock a certain culture or way of life without first knowing all the pathetic little details that surround white dudes with dreadlocks who attend small, liberal arts colleges all on their parents' dime.
Don't try to fight the fact that The Lonely Island has a widespread exposure thanks to SNL. Sure, your mom loved "Lazy Sunday," but that doesn't make it a bad piece of comedy, by any means. Incredibad is a comedy album rife with hilarious parodies of today's culture, guest appearances by some big names (E-40, Norah Jones, T-Pain) and silly, stupid jokes that may take a few listens to finally understand. It may just seem really dumb at first, but Incredibad is something you will ultimately appreciate.
Incredibad is out now on Universal Records. Check out The Lonely Island's MySpace and listen to tracks like "Santana DVX" and "Old West Saloon (Interlude)."
This isn't on the album, but it's pretty damn funny in it's own right.