In NPR Interview on Their New Movie "Popstar" The Lonely Island Shout Out Amoeba As Part of Their Musical Upbringing

Posted by Billyjam, June 2, 2016 11:10am | Post a Comment

During Wednesday's NPR broadcast of Fresh Air, in which host Terry Gross conducted an indepth interview with comedy troupe The Lonely Island about their new mockumentarty Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping that opens Friday, June 3rd Amoeba Music got a nice shout-out. The musical satirical comedy trio of Andy Samberg, and Akiva Schaffer, who came to fame over the past decade with their Digital Shorts (“Dick in a Box,” “Lazy Sunday” etc.) during their popular tenure at SNL,  officially formed The Lonely Island in 2001 in Berkeley where they grew up. But the trio had been inseparable friends from years earlier when they all first met attending Berkeley's Willard Middle School and then afterwards attending Berkeley High School* together.

That friendship, bonded by a love of music, comedy, skateboarding, and graffiti, continued after they graduated Berkeley HIgh in 1996 and heading off to college. [*Note that the successful comedy trio generously donated funds to Berkeley High a few years back to help with needed renovations of the school buildings.]

It was growing up in Berkeley where the three would make trips to Amoeba Music on Telegraph Ave. to find new music. In their NPR interview earlier today when Terry Gross asked if they ever had aspirations of being actual music artists when they all growing up, they responded that they were always into the satirical aspect of looking at pop and rap music but fans of music nonetheless. "I was into doing jokey rap stuff in high school but it was never serious. It was always, it would be cool to do this as a form of comedy," offered Samberg with Schaffer adding, "We were just kids who liked comedy and we liked music. We were nerds about that stuff. We were the kids who would go out of our way to find the new song, the new record at Amoeba." Little did they realize that years later Amoeba Music would be carrying their albums including Incredibad, Turtleneck & Chain (also on vinyl), and The Wack Album.

The shared love of music by The Lonely Island comes across in Popstar including in the list of artists that they invited to make cameos (as themselves) in the film. Nas, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Usher, Questlove, Seal, Mariah Carey, Pharrell Williams, and DJ Khaled are among those in the film. Others include Ringo Starr, Justin Timberlake (personal chef to Samberg's character), Sarah Silverman (his publicist), and Simon Cowell (as himself). Co-produced by Judd Apatow, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping was written, directed, and produced by The Lonely Island trio.

The film, that pokes fun at the entire music industry, is a fun tale of the fictional rap/pop boy band the Style Boyz who rise to fame in their teens, but break up at their peak with Samberg's character Conner 4 Real becoming the only breakout star when they go solo. A cocky but dumb white-boy rapper/singer, Conner 4 Real is a seemingly familiar celebrity character that combines the traits of a myriad of rap/pop stars that we've all witnessed over the years. While Rob Reiner's pioneering 1984 music mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap may appear to be the clear inspiration for Popstar, in this week's interview on NPR, Samberg credited the 2013 One Direction documentary by Morgan Spurlock, 2013's One Direction: This Is Us, as more of a direct influence on Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.

Stream or download the 37 minute NPR "Fresh Air" interview with Samberg, Taccone and Schaffer under the title "The 'Best Fake Rappers Out There' Satirize Breakout Success In 'Popstar'" with the Amoeba shout out appearing at the 11:45 mark. The film opens on Friday June 3rd at theaters everywhere. Check local listings for times. And peep the movie trailer below.

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Trailer (2016)

Relevant Tags

Mockumentary The Lonely Island (1), Andy Samberg (5), Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (1), Conner 4 Real (1)