Andy Samberg | Interview

As he closes his SNL chapter, Samberg opens the next one: starring in summer comedies.

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Andy Samberg

Andy Samberg Photograph: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP; Photo illustration: Jamie DiVecchio Ramsay


Adam Sandler as Andy Samberg’s loser dad? Sounds like a comedy premise waiting to be written ever since the younger A.S. helped Saturday Night Live appeal to a new generation with Lonely Island’s digital shorts. In That’s My Boy, Sandler is Donny Berger, who found fame as a teen for an illicit tryst with his teacher; Samberg plays their now-adult offspring, who hides his shameful past and his pot-smoking, Bud-swilling father—till the latter shows up just before his successful son’s wedding. Days after announcing his departure from SNL, and before heading to Chicago to promote his new movie, Samberg speaks by phone from an L.A. hotel.

That’s My Boy is a hard R: a lot of bodily fluids, cross-generational sex.
We definitely would do all takes ’cause we were like, if this is going too far raunchwise, we want to have a backup. But they’ve been doing a lot of screenings and people seem to be going for it, which has been very relieving.

You look uncannily like you could be Adam Sandler’s son. Has he become a kind of professional father figure for you?
He’s more turned into an older brother figure for me. He definitely has the kind of career I’d like to have. The thing that surprised me is how hard the guy works. It’s hard work to make it look like fun.

Susan Sarandon sort of reprises her “Motherlover” role here. You ever have any inappropriate encounters with a teacher?
I don’t think in any sexual way. I certainly said some inappropriate things in class that got me kicked out, but I was never putting the moves on. I wasn’t that confident.

Ever hot for teacher?
Hot for many teachers, both men and women. There’s something about authority figures, just gets my engine revving.

James Caan’s cameo leads to another have-you-ever question: Ever been in a fistfight with a religious figure?
No, I’ve had a lot of inner fistfights about spirituality, but that’s probably for another publication.

Was religion part of your life growing up?
A little bit. My parents raised us in Berkeley, and we always knew we were Jewish, but it wasn’t a heavy part of our lives. It became more so as my folks got older. When I’m home, they do Shabbat and high holidays. I wouldn’t say we’re super-religious, but we’re very much in touch with the cultural aspect of it in remembering to always pay respects to that.

Holiday Jews.
Exactly. That’s the name of my next movie: Holiday Jews.

It’ll be a hit. You know, for all the movie’s goofy humor, there’s something sexually radical about its suggestion that this teen boy and adult woman have a real and lasting love.
I thought it was really sweet, personally. Obviously the premise of it is not really something anyone who worked on the movie condones. Statutory rape is not something to be made light of. But there are stories like this that have circulated in the news, and there are couples that, once the guy came of age, did end up staying together. Some people are just meant to love each other, and age doesn’t necessarily dictate that.

Fox News’s resident psychiatrist called for a boycott of the film, saying Sandler tries to make it funny for 13-year-olds to be raped.
Oh, boy. [Laughs] Well, I wish that person the best of luck in their boycott.

Why leave SNL now?
It’s a really hard question to answer. It was a very difficult decision for me to make ’cause I’ve loved my time there so much. I talked to a lot of ex–cast members and I talked with Kristen Wiig, and everyone agreed that there’s just a point you reach where you feel like you’re ready; it’s just about feeling like the time is right for you to stop working there full-time. But I still feel conflicted about it. It was always my dream job, so it felt a little crazy to say I wasn’t coming back.

So the decision wasn’t timed to this film—leaving SNL as you’ve got a big summer comedy with Adam Sandler coming out?
No, even if I had nothing coming out, it was more just about what I was feeling about working there. People found out that I was leaving and they’re: “I can’t believe you’re leaving! You just got there!” And I’m like, “I’ve been there seven seasons.” And they go, “Holy shit! Really? Okay. That sounds like a good run.” [Laughs]

Your dad’s an art photographer. What do he and your mom make of you?
They were worried about me for a while there ’cause I was very laid-back about a lot of things and all I really wanted to do was comedy. Once that started working for me, they were able to take a big sigh of relief ’cause I wasn’t gonna be living on the couch for my whole life. I have a very silly family. My dad’s one of the silliest people I’ve ever known. Both my sisters are really funny. My mom is very sweet. [Laughs] My mom’s a professional eye-roller when it comes to the family.

How many “Dick in a Box” Halloween costumes have you seen?
I’ve seen a lot. It’s really flattering actually, but me and Timberlake have texted about it a few times, like, “Wow, there are really a lot of ‘Dick in a Box’ dudes out tonight.” I heard a guy did it at work and used his real dick, and he got fired. That sounds to me like a guy who hates his job.

That’s My Boy opens June 15.


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