That the Lonely Island has managed to sustain the same joke for more than five years is remarkable.
How hilarious you find the blend of trunk-rattling hip-hop beats and profane, goofy lyrics is a matter of personal taste, but The Wack Album, the trio’s third studio effort in four years, continues to fuse rap swagger and raunchy humor to mostly amusing effect.
Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer make up the Lonely Island, which first catapulted to fame on Saturday Night Live with Lazy Sunday and the infamous, Emmy-winning [Expletive] in a Box.
With each successive single, the comics have been forced to go weirder and more disturbing, incorporating ferociously scatalogical and even incest jokes in an effort to top themselves.
Part of the humor stems from the troupe’s affection for hip-hop cliches and attitudes (hence the large number of marquee rappers and producers willing to join in, even if it’s not always entirely clear if they get the punch lines), and The Wack Album serves up plenty of knowing jabs.
But, even at a relatively lean 45 minutes, The Wack Album grows repetitive and, worst of all, boring. There are a few highlights — the Adam Levine-augmented YOLO; the clever, Solange-assisted Semicolon — but when the Lonely Island tries to go back to the Box with 3-Way (The Golden Rule) or knock out minutelong skits between songs, the effect is enervating.
Perhaps it’s time for the Lonely Island to find fresh inspiration.