2012 has been a big year, already, for Andy Samberg. Not only did he announce earlier this month that he had left Saturday Night Live, his home for the last seven years, but he's headlining a film alongside his comedy idol and snagged a starring role in a new BBC comedy series.
But that doesn't mean Andy won't continue to dazzle his fans with sublime shorts and magical music videos, as he also plans to record another Lonely Island album and hopes to contribute more shorts to SNL in the years to come. All of which I learned after sitting down with the actor when he was in NYC promoting That's My Boy.
TheInsider.com: As a self-confessed Adam Sandler superfan, would you have made this movie regardless of the script just to play Adam's son?
Andy Samberg: Yea [laughs]. But I also really liked the script. When I first read it, it was written by David Caspe, who created Happy Endings, and there had been a pass by Ken Marino and David Wain, who are on my comedy hero list. So it was already really goofy and up my alley. From there it got crazier and crazier.
Insider.com: What would 14-year-old Andy think about you playing this part?
Andy: He wouldn't believe you. Doing a movie with Sandler would have been head explode time. Even in college, my friends and I would quote Billy Madison as part of our daily conversation. So even college Andy would be like, "Noooooo way!" [laughs] It's been a dream come true.
Insider.com: You must have gotten a lot of comparisons coming up in the comedy world.
Andy: Oh yea I did standup for 7 years before I got SNL and 50 percent of the time they’d introduce me as Adam Samberg, or Andy Sandler. Also, I've modeled a lot of my own comedy after his work, especially his earlier comedy. It really hit a nerve with me in my formative years of becoming a comedy nerd.
Insider.com: I also loved that this movie played like an SNL vet highlight reel with Ana Gasteyer, Will Forte and Rachel Dratch joining you two.
Andy: I've got to commend Sandler on continuing to invite SNL people into the fold. So many of them are so funny, but if you're not immediately a huge movie star from the show, people will think, "Well, that's it." But they are hilarious and the number of people he has kept in movies is amazing. And they always deliver. SNL really trains you to know where the laugh is.
Insider.com: Sandler definitely thinks outside the box with his casting choices. I was surprised to not only see Vanilla Ice in the movie, but that he was really good.
Andy: I know, right? Who would have known. And the screenings with Ice have been insane. The crowd goes batsh*t for Vanilla Ice. It's amazing.
Insider.com: 80s music is well-represented in the movie, with your NKOTB back tattoo. Were you a big fan?
Andy: Oh, absolutely. I had two older sisters so we were rocking a lot of Please Don't Go Girl.
Insider.com: What's worse, a NKOTB back tattoo or Mike Tyson-esque face tattoo?
Andy: That's tough. If you're somebody like Mike Tyson, I think a face tattoo makes perfect sense. I think who you are as a person dictates whether you can get a face tattoo or not.
Insider.com: While I'm fully in support of any NKOTB reference, I don't know that I condone the extreme usage of "Wazzup" in the film.
Andy: You and me are on the same page with that my friend [laughs]. A huge running joke on set was that I refused to get on board with the wazzup thing. Initially in the script it was very sarcastic, but by the end of the movie, I was like, "Uh, are we really doing this now? Are we actually trying to bring this back?" There were screenings where after the movie people walked out going, "wazzup" and it's like, "Waaaaaait! No! We did it as a joke." There's something about the wazzup from those commercials that haunts me. My first Weekend Update sketch on SNL was with Bill Hader and we did this thing called The Impression Off because I knew he was so good at impressions and it was just me going "Wazzup" – and that was 7 years ago. I think I am now inextricably linked.
Insider.com: In addition to That's My Boy, you just signed on to star in a BBC comedy -- how did that come about?
Andy: They called me. This producer -- who is part of the original Office and The IT Crowd, which are obviously amazing shows -- called about this pilot and they liked me for the titular character, Cuckoo. I love British comedy, I've followed it my whole life ever since my parents made us watch Faulty Towers. I loved the script and I'm super excited about it.
Insider.com: Any plans to do more Lonely Island albums?
Andy: Absolutely -- and if we're making another album, we're definitely making music videos. And we'll cross this bridge when we get there, but I hope that if Lorne [Michaels, SNL producer] still wants them, we can still air them on the show. And if not, I'll put them on YouTube or something.
Insider.com: That's kind of the great thing about the comedy landscape at the minute, there are so many outlets to push work through, you don't really need that TV platform.
Andy: Well, I would argue that SNL is still one of the best platforms, but if you make something genuinely funny and put it on the internet, it's going to find people – which is a really beautiful thing. It's been hard on some pocketbooks, but for people who would be doing this whether they were paid or not, like me, it's exciting to think that I will be able to do something because it's interesting or funny to me. In a lot of ways, I've found that when I follow that instinct, it ends up being the stuff most people like anyway.
That's My Boy is now playing.