Andy Samberg Breaks Caricature
By Joshua David Stein
Halfway through writing one of his lauded digital shorts at the Saturday Night Live studio at 30 Rock the Thursday before it�s supposed to air, Andy Samberg is ruffled in his raffish, lackadaisical way. It�s already 9 p.m. and he�s got all night to go. His hair is mussed, but that�s to be expected. His style is slacker-cool (plaid work shirt, corduroys) except for a pair of new brown-and-pink argyle Gravis skate shoes.
�I�m the number 1 dandy-preppy-skate poseur,� he says happily, breaking into his million-dollar grin and settling in for an interview. Samberg has a lot to smile about. As the crown jewel of the strongest SNL cast in years, Samberg, 30, has an ardent and large following, a future of guaranteed-profitable films (see Ferrell, Will), and his good looks. But the thing he�s got most -- and what makes you love him -- is laughter, huge skeins of it that unspool and fill up a room. And more than his laughter even, he�s got the ability to make others -- me, you, the rest of the world -- laugh.
I Love You, Man, Samberg�s second live-action feature (after Hot Rod), is, in his words, �a dude-on-dude romantic story that straight guys can feel comfortable watching.� Written by John Hamburg (Meet the Parents), it stars Paul Rudd as Peter Klaven, a man on the verge of marriage. Concerned about her soon-to-be-husband�s lack of male friends, his fianc�e, Zooey (The Office�s Rashida Jones), encourages him to find some. Inexplicably bereft of the programmatic behavioral quirks that bring men together -- a love of football and talking about pussy -- Peter turns to his younger brother Robbie, played by Samberg, for advice. Robbie is a classic bro. He works at a gym, likes to give pounds (terrorist fist jabs!), and refers to men as dudes and stuff as shit, as in �Dudes like shit like that.�
�Apropos to your magazine,� Samberg explains, �he�s gay.� And not just any type of gay, but a het hunter.
�My character knows men really well, and knows straight men really well, because he only fucks them,� says Samberg. As a scholar and lover of men, Robbie doles out advice on how to catch one. The word man-date is used a lot, and Peter goes on a number of them. Hilarity and high jinks promptly ensue. Many end in disaster, but one ends in a friendship with Sydney Fife, a bro-ish investor played by Jason Segel, which forms the crucible of the narrative.