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An Anton Ali Pop-Ed: Where Are They Now -- The Lonely Island

With Andy Samberg gone from Saturday Night Live, so are the infamous Digital Shorts that became a viral sensation on the Internet. The Digital Shorts were the much-needed boost SNL was looking for to gain viewers. Who would have thought SNL would be cool again with Samberg around? Now that he's making waves on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, I wondered what became of the rest of the Lonely Island crew.

Akiva Schaffer 
Since leaving SNL, Akiva Schaffer seems to have carved a career out as a director. In addition to directing many of the Lonely Island shorts (including the breakout, "Lazy Sunday"), he directed a bunch of music videos for We Are Scientists before starring at directing his first movie, Hot Rod. The movie didn't do very well in terms of box office receipts, but it seems to have gained a little bit of a cult following. With some directing experience under his belt, Schaffer directed The Watch with Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller. The movie did better than Hot Rod but barely made back its budget after taking into account the total worldwide gross. Schaffer has another project called The Adventurer's Handbook in development. The movie is supposed to star Jonah Hill and Jason Segel, but there doesn't appear to be a lot out there on its current development status as of 2010. Jonah Hill wrote the script, and with his second Oscar nomination in tow, he seems to be the key in getting this movie made.

Jorma Taccone
Jorma Taccone is the primary music producer for the Lonely Island. In addition to also being an actor in Hot Rod with Schaffer and Samberg, he was also the man behind "MacGruber." I never really thought "MacGruber" was all that funny when it was on SNL, so I was surprised to see this become a movie in 2010. The world appeared to agree with me, as MacGruber failed to make its money back on a modest budget of roughly $10 million. Taccone silently left SNL sometime in 2011 and seems to be spending a lot of his time working on acting. He was in Will Ferrell's Land of the Lost in 2009 and more recently can be seen as Booth Jonathan in HBO's Girls. I also read that he's directing AT&T's "It's Not Complicated" advertising campaign.

Andy Samberg
With Samberg gaining the most popularity from the Lonely Island and being credited with SNL's resurgence thanks to the popular Digital Shorts, it's no surprise that we're seeing him more and more these days. His busy year as a movie actor in 2012 led to his departure in 2012, but it didn't seem to take off as he expected. Then of course came Brooklyn Nine-Nine. We've covered how awesome this show has been so far and even though he has numerous Emmy nominations and a Grammy nomination with the rest of the Lonely Island crew, this show seems to be the one that will make him a breakout star. In its first season, Samberg has managed to pull a Golden Globe win for Best Actor in a Comedy Series. I wouldn't be surprised that his growing popularity as an actor on this show will lead to additional developmental deals that will keep us hearing his name a long time from now.

The Lonely Island as a whole
The Dudes were formed when they all went to junior high together and their work together led all of them to get jobs on SNL. All of of them played roles as writers as some point, but Samberg became one of the castmembers in 2005. The group built quite the following not only with the Digital Shorts but also with their three albums: Incredibad in 2009, Turtleneck and Chain in 2011, and The Wack Album in 2013. The latter was released when most of The Dudes were in the midst of leaving SNL. Most recently, the group contributed to The Lego Movie soundtrack.

The Lego Movie has beaten analyst predictions so far with close to $70 million in its first week of release (domestically). Perhaps the popularity of this movie will give the Lonely Island a bigger boost in the coming months? Most successful out of the three has been Samberg, but with the group now being involved with a movie that's doing really well thus far, it can only mean positive things for Schaffer and Taccone as well.
An Anton Ali Pop-Ed: Where Are They Now -- The Lonely Island Reviewed by Anton Ali on 2/12/2014 Rating: 5

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