I grew up watching Lonely Island sketches on SNL and YouTube, to the point where I can still sing/rap nearly every one of their tracks. In fact, this used to be my desktop background in high school for the longest time:
That’s the original file too, I’m not kidding. Don’t judge me. I was 16.
The Lonely Island just announced that they are going on tour for the first time in their storied, 18-year career. The Lil’ Tour will run for two weeks at the end of June, when all three band members, Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone, will visit 8 destinations in the US. I’m super excited! The tour is guaranteed to be hilarious. That’s because while this is the group’s first tour, their first concert was last June at Clusterfestin San Francisco. Vulture wrote an excellent review of it, in which the article describes how the live show was so wonderfully dumb and subversive, acknowledging that The Lonely Island’s whole image is to make fun of hypermasculine, “serious” rappers and singers. Although performing in concert is almost the opposite of that, they made a concerted and successful effort to remind everyone that that isn’t the case. Likewise, the Lil’ Tour is going to be filled with gags, bits, and subverted expectations. In other words, the epitome of Lonely Island humour.
Many of The Lonely Island’s tracks feature guests and celebrities, so are they going to make an appearance at these concerts too? I think The Lonely Island’s tenure on SNL and their fame have banked them enough star power to call in some favours. Their discography has some big names attached to it like Justin Timberlake (who is currently on tour but is conveniently done this April), Michael Bolton, Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar, Akon, T-Pain, and Adam Levine. I’m hoping that each stop on the tour includes a different guest (so that as I follow them around the country, I’m not seeing the same show each time). Maybe there will even be new songs and stars that we haven’t heard or seen yet! Guests joining the show wouldn’t be a first – Michael Bolton and Chris Parnell were on stage with the group at Clusterfest – so it’s not a farfetched idea.
Even without stars, the group members themselves have built up quite a reputation. Andy Samberg is rising rapidly in his career with a starring role in Brooklyn Nine-Nine, a show so popular that it was brought back from the dead by other celebrities, and he was charming af with Sandra Oh at the Golden Globes this year. Andy Samberg is our favourite, non-problematic celebrity which is probably why he always looks like he’s 27. Akiva and Jorma have worked more behind the scenes, working on writing and directing projects. The three collaborated for Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, and Jorma has most recently worked on Miracle Workers, a show with Dan Radcliffe where Steve Buscemi plays God. (I’m watching it this weekend, it’s supposed to be a riot.)
Amidst the hype, I can’t help but wonder why The Lonely Island is going on tour now. The last track they released was a parody song about Oscar losers 11 months ago. Plus, as far as tours go, it’s a relatively short run in a small geographic area. It’s entirely possible that this tour will be one of a kind, and that it’s just something they have chosen to do for fun. With Samberg’s filming schedule for Brooklyn Nine-Nine, I imagine it’s pretty hard to schedule something like this. But maybe this is a tester tour to gauge the feasibility and popularity of a larger, grander production. (Or a documentary on Netflix.) Are we seeing the rebirth of The Lonely Island golden age? I certainly hope so.