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!
  • This guy skipped out on seder at his mom's and won a $1 million in a poker tournament. Worth it?
  • Sigal Samuel's family amulet isn't just rumored to have magical powers. It's also a symbol of how Jewish and Indian rituals became intertwined over the centuries. http://jd.fo/a3BvD Only three days left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • British Jews are having their 'Open Hillel' moment. Do you think Israel advocacy on campus runs the risk of excluding some Jewish students?
  • "What I didn’t realize before my trip was that I would leave Uganda with a powerful mandate on my shoulders — almost as if I had personally left Egypt."
  • Is it better to have a young, fresh rabbi, or a rabbi who stays with the same congregation for a long time? What do you think?
  • Why does the leader of Israel's social protest movement now work in a beauty parlor instead of the Knesset?
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • 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.