• Andy Samberg as Detective Jake Peralta on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. (SBS)Source: SBS
SPOILER: Samberg’s success is partly owed to hiding his southern appendage inside a gift box, then singing about it with a megastar.
Jeremy Cassar

25 May 2016 - 1:53 PM  UPDATED 25 May 2016 - 2:11 PM

Andy Samberg is the kind of guy that revels in the ‘fun’ aspect of ‘funny’. A laid back comedian who performs with an air of the frat boy prankster – never overtly taking himself or his work too seriously.

How then, did a dude like Samberg end up with a slew of award nominations as the headliner of a successful sitcom?  Here, we trace the twists and turning points of the Brooklyn Nine-Nine star’s flourishing career.


Three larrikins (1978-1996)

While at Willard Junior High School in Berkley, California, a young Samberg met two kids – Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer. In the two boys, Samberg found an outlet for his silly-funny tendencies, performing weird skits for classmates – a choice that Schaffer insists was helpful in “not getting beat up”.

In 1996, the three boys parted ways, with Samberg bailing on a degree in Santa Cruz after a year to study film at NYU.


Naming an apartment (2001-2005)

In 2001, the trio reunited in L.A. with one thing on the mind – comedy. They rented an apartment and filmed sketches between its walls, eventually nicknaming their experimental haven as ‘The Lonely Island.’

And so, the troupe borrowed their flat’s moniker and took to YouTube with a series of ‘digital shorts’, a term they coined to make playtime sound official while avoiding getting real jobs.


The dream begins (2005-2007)

While back at Willard Junior High, Samberg was obsessed already obsessed with Saturday Night Live. So when the Jimmy Fallon-hosted 2005 MTV Movie Awards came knocking; asking those three hilarious underground comics from the Internet to write for the star-studded event, he was understandably chuffed.

Not as chuffed as after the show, when Fallon took such shorts as “White Power” and “Awesometown” to SNL EP Lorne Michaels, who asked them to come in and audition.

All three were hired as writers, but only Samberg was brought on as a cast member.


The face of Saturday Night Live (2007-2009)

Just as Tina Fey had left the building, and after a few of the Lonely Island’s bits debuted on SNL, one particular digital short made Samberg a household face, if not name.

Alongside Justin Timberlake, Samberg and his islanders wrote a mock R&B song with a title that isn’t a metaphor —“D**k in a Box”—surprising the industry not only with an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Original Music & Lyrics, but also with the win. 

In the years that followed, Samberg and his troupe continued to attract attention from the Emmy’s with sketches such as the hilarious Rihanna-co-starring song “Shy Ronny”.


More strings to the bow (2009-2012)

While continuing as the face of the show he’d always idolised, Samberg went on to star in the ridiculous Schaffer-directed Hot Rod – a feature film with an almost aggressive cult following, and made a big bang with a small role as Paul Rudd’s brother in I Love You, Man.

In 2009, The Lonely Island’s debut album, entitled Incredibad, became the first comedy album to hit the no. 1 spot on iTunes.


The world is his island (2012-present)

Samberg left SNL in 2012, and after a few more feature film roles and a short TV stint in Britain’s Cuckoo, he became the lead on the surprise hit show of 2013 – Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

For his performance as the over-confident Detective Jake Peralta, Samberg picked up a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Comedy Series, and the show won Best Comedy.

Now coming into its fourth season, Samberg continues to take on comedy on all fronts, with a sitcom, a comedy troupe, hit albums and an Emmy-awards hosting job under his belt.


Watch season 3 of Brooklyn Nine-Nine on Wednesdays at 8pm (AEST) on SBS 2. After they air, episodes will be available on SBS On Demand.

Missed the last episode? Watch it right here:


The rise of the millennial sitcom
No steady jobs, a complicated relationship with sex and lots of time to walk and talk...
10 of the most hilarious Chappelle’s Show sketches that will put you face-to-face with genius
Chappelle’s Show was as ferocious as sketch shows come, and even today it retains the sharpest of bites. Also, it’s a riot.
Horatio Sanz and Fred Armisen launch Latino-focused comedy channel
You can watch it even if you don’t speak Spanish!