With the release of their debut feature, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, mere days away, the men of The Lonely Island decided to go head-to-head-to-head in an all-out, no-holds-barred compliment battle, likely the first and last of its kind. Vanity Fair, sponsor of the event, has posted a video of the battle to its YouTube channel. Against a stark white backdrop, Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone, and Andy Samberg praise each other without mercy for four solid minutes. “Hey, yo, Andy,” says a pugnacious Taccone, “you’re handsome. But it’s not just a surface level thing. It’s your insides. You’re very attractive.” Sick burn. But Samberg is quick to retaliate: “Jorm, you’re so cute, you’re cuter than Nermal, the world’s cutest kitten.” And so it goes. The men pause between rounds to declare everyone the champion. Never have mutual respect and admiration been so aggressive.
Though this comedic exhibition has been described as being “in the style of a rap battle,” the roots of what Samberg, Taccone, and Schaffer are doing go back much further than that. The compliment battle seems to be Lonely Island’s parody of the Dozens, a game that has been popular in the black community since at least the 1930s. The Dozens normally entails the exchange of blistering insults, many of them sexual in nature. During a normal game, it is customary for players to make highly critical remarks about each other’s mothers. This tradition is echoed in the compliment battle when Schaffer says, “Andy’s mom is so dumb that it only took her three years to graduate from college instead of four.” Part of the joke here is that the clueless white guys from The Lonely Island have completely neutered the Dozens, copying the format of the game but missing the point entirely.
[via Laughing Squid]