Sisterhood Blog

Andy Samberg: Jewish Feminist

By Naomi Zeveloff

  • Print
  • Share Share
Getty Images
Andy Samberg

Four years ago, when “Saturday Night Live” comic Andy Samberg wore a National Organization of Women shirt to a Spike TV event, feminists wondered whether he was just ribbing us. Best known for the satirical rap videos he produces with his comedy trio, The Lonely Island, Samberg trades in dick jokes and fake vomit — not in feminist theory. So when Samberg said that his sartorial choice was “totally sincere,” in an interview with Nerve.com, even the most accommodating among us had a difficult time believing him.

But now, with the recent release of The Lonely Island’s new album, “Turtle Neck and Chain,” it’s safe to say that Samberg was, in fact, sporting his feminist bona fides at the Spike show. I’d even go one step further: Andy Samberg is the first Jewish feminist male comedian.

Samberg gets the feminist moniker not because of his portrayal of women — in fact, most ladies in his videos are stereotypical hotties with zero personality — but because of the way he depicts men. Samberg holds a mirror to the most loutish of American males, rendering Peeping Toms, self-righteous belligerents, and cocksure ladies’ men with heavy-handed mockery. The fact that Samberg so brutally lampoons sexist men and yet remains extremely popular among the “bro” cohort is a testament to his dexterity. Samberg is doing what feminists have asked of their male allies forever: Instead of marching alongside women, Samberg is talking to other men.

For example, in The Lonely Island’s debut album, “Incredibad,” Samberg and Jorma Taccone take on deeply insecure men who cover for their sexual and relationship failings by blaming female promiscuity. Check out this video in which he declares, “Don’t tell your friends or I’ll call you a slut, plus it’s your fault you were touching my butt.”

The wildly popular “SNL” skit “Dick in a Box,” which appears on the same album, also has a feminist message. As comic feminist blogger Lady T points out, “In this video, Samberg and Justin Timberlake make fun of the sexist guys who act like their penises are God’s gift to women…”

In “Turtle Neck and Chain,” Samberg and his Lonely Island collaborators Taccone and Akiva Shaffer (also Jewish) continue their crusade, taking a jab at men who aggressively ogle women, oblivious to their discomfort in “The Creep.” With slicked back hair, pencil mustaches, and high-water pants, Samberg, Taccone, and Shaffer “do the creep” one too many times and finally find themselves in court. But they can’t help themselves there either: “When the judge is a hottie and you can’t control your body, do the creep, do the creep,” they sing.

The most provocative track on the album, however, doesn’t deal with the way that men treat women, but with the way that heterosexual men treat each other — policing one another for latent signs of homosexuality. In “No Homo,” Samberg, Taccone, and Shaffer come up with a way for men to admire each other without seeming gay: “When you want to compliment a friend, but you don’t want that friendship to end, to tell a dude just how you feel, say ‘no homo’ so he knows the deal.”

The dialogue in “No Homo” is so spot-on that it’s hard not to wonder whether this phrase will get picked up in earnest by Samberg fans who are terrified of “seeming gay.” But perhaps that’s the risk with the most thoughtful satire. We’re lucky that Samberg sees through the gendered nonsense society churns out by, well, making more of it.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Saturday Night Live, Jorma Taccone, Feminism, Comedy, Andy Samberg, Akiva Shaffer, Turtle Neck and Chain

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.