Andy Samberg is maybe the nicest Jewish boy in Hollywood right now. Although he’s not a boy — he’s 40, gasp — he embodies the NJB stereotype. (Which, is he hot? Is he Jewish hot? Anyway. That’s a discussion for another day!)
1. Born and raised in California by Jewish parents, Samberg attended elementary school with fellow Jewish comedian (and future Brooklyn Nine Nine co-star!) Chelsea Peretti.
One more classic photo of them:
2. His third cousin is U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin). Their grandfathers were first cousins!
I was today years old when I learned that Andy Samberg and Tammy Baldwin are cousins
— Jessica Blum (@jessleighblum) October 24, 2018
3. At age 8, he became obsessed with Saturday Night Live. He joined the cast in September 2005 alongside friends Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone, thanks to the videos they had been making on their website TheLonelyIsland.com.
4. Their first big hit was “Lazy Sunday,” a digital short (that wasn’t actually filmed on a Sunday)! Fun fact: The video was downloaded over a million times the day after it aired.
(Andy would later win an Emmy in 2007 for his short “Dick in a Box” with Justin Timberlake.)
5. On a Jewish scale that Andy described as “like Hitler to Moses,” where would he place himself? “Somewhere between Larry David and Steven Spielberg.”
6. He’s not particularly religious, but was “saturated with Jewish comedy growing up.”
7. Andy started dating singer-songwriter and harpist Joanna Newsom in 2008, and they got married in 2013. They welcomed a baby daughter in August 2017!!
8. On his first year of fatherhood, Samberg said, “It’s been the best thing that’s ever happened to me.” What prepared him for being a dad? “I had good training for parenthood by working at SNL. The sleep deprivation part of it has been like, ‘Oh, right — this feeling.’ But there’s so much less stress because the baby’s not going live at 11:30.”
9. Joanna Newsom told Larry King that Samberg is “my favorite person in the world. He’s the person I would most want to hang out with at any given moment.” Plus, “He’s probably the biggest superfan of my music.”
10. Andy gave super Jewish wedding advice to his Brooklyn Nine Nine co-star Stephanie Beatriz. As Beatriz explained, Andy told her that at his wedding, he and Joanna “took a moment for themselves between their ceremony and their reception to just soak in the moment themselves.” Which is a Jewish tradition (whether he knows it or not).
11. His show, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, is one of the most quietly diverse (and funniest) shows on TV. Andy’s take on why? “The worst kind of comedy, the worst kind of stand-up to me is when they talk about what you’re looking at — ‘I’m Jewish’ or ‘I’m wearing glasses. You want to hear jokes about life and things you can relate to. I don’t think this show will ever go out of its way to make comments in that regard.” It was cancelled on FOX, and then renewed at NBC, and we love it so much.
12. Andy made a cameo in a Santigold music video, “I Can’t Get Enough Of Myself.”
13. He’s starred in a lot of movies — he’s the voice of Johnny, the token human in the Hotel Transylvania trilogy, the love interest (or ex-love?) of Jewish actress Rashida Jones in Celeste and Jesse Forever, and the starring role in the criminally underrated pop mockumentary Popstar: Never Stop Stopping.
14. Andy also starred in two other documentary parodies — Tour De Pharmacy (a professional cycling parody) and Seven Days In Hell (of a tennis match, co-starring with Kit Harrington, a.k.a. Jon Snow). They are so worth your time.
Why sports comedy? “I actually am a sports fan,” Samberg explained. “I grew up playing sports and watching sports and I really have a genuine love for sports, so I also have watched a lot of sports documentaries — I enjoy the language of them. And the second one is I love doing comedy about machismo and male aggression and competitiveness, and I might also have an affinity for it, and those things together make for a rich tapestry of laughter. I hope!”
15. When Andy left SNL after seven years, Seth Meyers (SNL’s head writer at the time), made a bracket of the Lonely Island’s 101 digital shorts. The #1 seeds? “Lazy Sunday,” “Dick In A Box,” “Jizz In My Pants,” and “I’m On A Boat.” The winner? “Mother Lover.” Read the whole oral history of the bracket here.
In the meantime, treat yourself by watching Alma’s personal favorites, featuring Natalie Portman (“Natalie Raps” and “Natalie’s Rap 2.0”):
(“Natalie’s Rap 2.0” was Andy’s first digital short since he left SNL.)
16. Andy’s favorite Brooklyn Nine-Nine cold open? “It’s really hard to choose one, but one of my favorites is when Charles watched Bullets Over Broadway over the weekend. It’s so dumb and so simple and Joe Lo Truglio is so funny in it. The slow burn of how it played made me laugh every time we shot it, and seeing it cut together with the cameras popping in more and more as Jake is bummed and Boyle is psyched, it just makes me giggle. Also I will always love how much Boyle loves Dianne Wiest. As should we all.”
But arguably one of the best cold opens is featuring Andy himself:
(Did you watch? Please watch!! Then you can keep reading.)
17. In 2012, Andy delivered the class day speech at Harvard. He starts with Adele’s “Someone Like You” playing, and begins, “Students, faculty, parents, grandparents, uncles that weren’t invited that showed up anyway, handsome young janitors that are secretly math geniuses, and the homeless guy from With Honors, my name is Andy Samberg and I am as honored to be here today as I am unqualified.”
18. In 2018, the Lonely Island performed their first ever concert, with songs from four albums (Turtleneck & Chain, The Wack Album, Incredibad, and the Popstar soundtrack).
And a bonus one? On hosting the Golden Globes, Andy said yes because Sandra Oh was doing it. (He’s “obsessed with Killing Eve.”) And Sandra Oh said of Andy, “We’re soul mates. We’re fuckin’ co-dependent soul mates.”