Andy Samberg Says People Misunderstood the Bleeps in ‘Dick in a Box’
Was ‘Dick in a Box’ the biggest hit for Andy Samberg and Lonely Island on Saturday Night Live? The long-term answer is debatable (‘I Just Had Sex’ has 339 million views on Lonely Island’s YouTube vs 12 million for ‘Box’ over on the SNL channel) — but for many of the viral hit’s original viewers, ‘Dick in a Box’ wasn’t even what they thought they were hearing.
“We were told because it was bleeped, people thought it was ‘cock,’” Samberg reveals this week on the Fly in the Wall podcast with David Spade and Dana Carvey.
“That’s even dirtier,” reasons Spade.
“And much worse, musically,” says Samberg.
(Carvey brings up a good point about the bleeping when he asks, “So you can’t say ‘dick’ but you can say ‘box’?”)
But the real irony for Samberg? After the multiple bleeps in both that video and an earlier hit featuring a profanely rapping Natalie Portman, Lonely Island was able to sing ‘Jizz in my Pants’ on national television just a few years later with no censoring whatsoever. The only restriction, he says, is that the song had to air after 12:15 a.m. “Whoever was running NBC at the time, I think Jeff Zucker or someone, came down and they had a whole conversation about it,” Samberg said. The video was already completed for a Lonely Island album so Samberg and crew decided to try it on an SNL dress rehearsal and it killed. “Lorne said we should air it,” Samberg says, remembering his reaction as “Can we?” The group had a censored version prepared (with silly orgasm sounds replacing the word “jizz”), but the song aired in its original form — and democracy survived!
Carvey expressed his love for ‘I’m On A Boat,’ mainly for the dryness and simplicity of its concept. “There’s nothing to it but that one idea,” laughs Samberg. “There were a lot of videos at that time where the concept of the video was just that they were on a boat and doing their song.” Spade’s favorite bit was the “throw in a celebrity out of the blue” trick, chuckling at the video’s pan from Andy, Jorma, and Akiva to inexplicably find T-Pain. “It’s almost like a Marx Brothers kind of deal,” says Samberg.
Coordinating celebrity cameos can be tricky, especially with musicians who are always “on their own schedule,” says Samberg. Spade agreed, although he references an old Lorne joke about Geraldo Rivera always circling the building, ready and able to jump into any sketch at any time. Geraldo in ‘Dick in a Box’? Might be time for a remake, Samberg.