The Lonely Island Sail Through Their Hilarious Hits at NYC’s Pier 17 (SHOW REVIEW/PHOTOS)

The year was 2005. Saturday Night Live had hired Andy Samberg as a new cast member, along with Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone as writers. The trio, also known as The Lonely Island, would herald a new era with their groundbreaking SNL Digital Shorts, which helped bring the show into the YouTube era with viral hits like “Lazy Sunday” and “Natalie’s Rap.”

Flash-forward over a decade later, and The Lonely Island are finally giving their fans a proper live concert experience chock full of their comedic raps. Along the way, the trio have been behind a bunch of albums, cult comedy films (like Hot Rod and Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping), and, most recently, a Netflix special, “The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience.” It was fitting that they would bring their show to NYC’s Pier 17 on June 2st- a crucial juncture in their earlier careers.

With a deep well of jams, the group brought fans on a career-spanning journey full of laughs, classic costumes and hilarious visuals. Here are five things that stood out from the set:

SNL Brings Even More Star Power

The past and present of SNL were represented at the show. Former Weekend Update co-host Seth Meyers kicked off the evening by introducing the band, commenting on how “Lazy Sunday” gave a glimpse of “the future of comedy in America.”

Fittingly, The Lonely Island’s collaborator Chris Parnell made an appearance for the performance of the iconic SNL Digital Short. The group kept things fresh, though, by breaking into a Hamilton interlude in the middle of the track. 

And right before the end of the main part of the set, the group brought out current cast member Kenan Thompson, who collaborated live with Samberg on their deeper cut “Reba (Two Worlds Collide)” — the first time the song has ever been performed live.

Costume Department

Apart from their clever lyrics, The Lonely Island also rely on visual gags and funky costumes — and thankfully they didn’t stray from this winning formula live.

Andy Samberg was game to assume the role of many of his memorable characters, whether that was the dreadlocked bro “Ras Trent,” the bespectacled, soul patch-wearing hipster of “Threw It on the Ground,” or the dorky (but secretly expert emcee) “Shy Ronnie.” Once again, the trio gave the skit a modern spin by trotting Shy Ronnie out to mumble over the beat of Travis Scott’s “Sicko Mode” before launching into his own rap.

Never Stop Never Stopping

The trio also leaned into their more recent output, between “The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience” and and Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. Humble,” Samberg transformed into the style of lead character Conner4real, getting pushed around the stage in a giant golden throne — all while wearing a neck brace.

As the song quickly transitioned into “Finest Girl (Bin Laden Song),” he leapt out of the chair: “I was fine the whole time!”

Master of Puppets

The band quickly cut through three more classic SNL collaborations that originally featured Justin Timberlake: “Dick in a Box,” “Motherlover,” and “3-Way (The Golden Rule).” Samberg returned to the stage in his sleazy ‘90s R&B star style. Taccone expertly controlled a JT puppet, while Schaffer did the same for the Lady Gaga puppet on the latter track. And yes, there was a raunchy puppet three-way to cap things off.

With a number of medleys, the group kept the set snappy with multiple quick cuts between songs. This meant that there was a trade-off: The audience got to hear the vast majority of The Lonely Island’s hits, but some witty lines got the ax when songs got cut short in favor of transitioning into the next track.

Regardless, the trio kept the crowd engaged simply by showing just how much fun they were having. The group also showed off serious performing chops and chemistry, especially with their vocal interplay and Samberg’s flow.

The Encore

The Lonely Island bid farewell to the crowd after closing out the main portion of their set with “I Just Had Sex,” getting the fans to clap along as they belted out the words to the chorus. (Fittingly, Taccone was wearing his chain and turtleneck sweater.) The trio quickly returned, sandwiching their two Michael Bolton collaborations, “Incredible Thoughts” and “Jack Sparrow,” around the “Donkey Roll” dance.

However, they saved the best for last with their famed hit “I’m on a Boat” — a perfect closer for a concert at Pier 17. Just like in the original video, Samberg and Schaffer clowned on Taccone (who was wearing a giant “landlubber” dunce cap for most of this song). Buoyed by some new yacht-related visuals, all three vocalists joined forces one more time to cap off the evening. While The Lonely Island have built a career out of getting laughs, the crowd was no joke — the thousands of screaming fans at this sold-out show were “as real as it gets.”


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One Response

  1. I was at their Detroit show and, after waiting almost 15 years, can finally cross this off my bucket list. It was the most amazing, emotional 90 minutes of my life as I stared at the faces of the three guys that made me and my friends laugh for so many years. To top everything off, they even pointed and laughed at the Channel 101 custom “Hoobastank” t-shirt I was wearing while I Elvis-fan-girl’d them from the third row.

    If by any chance any one of the guys read this: Thank you so much for a great show, but thank you even more for being there to make me laugh for nearly half my life.

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