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The Lonely Island poses for a photo in Ohio Union on April 24. Credit: Sallee Ann Ruibal | Arts&Life Editor

The Lonely Island supports ‘Popstar,’ going after goals

Starting a trend of parody viral videos isn’t exactly like being on a boat with T-Pain.

“Being a YouTube pioneer is kind of like being an explorer that never leaves the house, and then someone goes, ‘There’s this thing called America and people are watching your stuff a lot, so you’re a pioneer there now,’” said Andy Samberg, one-third of comedy group The Lonely Island.

The Lonely Island, best known for their “Saturday Night Live” comedy shorts, consists of Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone. The group came to Ohio State Sunday afternoon as part of a promotional tour for their new movie, “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.”

“Popstar” — written by The Lonely Island, produced by Judd Apatow and starring Samberg — follows young superstar conner4real’s descent into irrelevancy. The movie features a large entourage following Conner, consisting of celebrities such as Sarah Silverman, DJ Khaled and Snoop Dogg.

Samberg said that writing for film presents different challenges than writing for television.

“One of the bigger challenges in doing a full length is being like, ‘Oh, we made a joke at the start of the movie, but it’s sort of old now,’” he said. “So we would pull stuff out or add it as culture changed. At SNL, we think of a story Thursday night and we do it Saturday, so you can really have your finger right on on the pulse, as (Schaffer) likes to say.”

Before even hitting television or film screens, the trio were childhood friends. Samberg and Schaffer both went on to study film in college. The two attended University of California, Santa Cruz, with Samberg transferring to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts after two years. Taccone studied theater at University of California, Los Angeles.

“My college experience was very particular,” Taccone said. “There were classes of like rolling around on the floor and being like, ‘Woaaah, movement!’”

Taccone recounted a particular theater assignment where students had to “disrupt” an ongoing class by running in and pretending to be “wild creatures of the night.”

“It sounds like your teacher was a stoner,” Samberg said in response.

Despite attending different colleges, the group still worked together, Taccone sometimes traveling to Santa Cruz to be an actor in Schaffer’s film projects.

Samberg had simple advice for students who want to be pioneers in their field.

“The reason we all got to do what we’re doing is we just started doing it,” he said. “We didn’t wait for anyone to give us permission or wait to have a job that paid us to do it, we just did it.”

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