This is an odd one. And I am not sure what to say about it….so lets try.
With zero fanfare, the Lonely Island recently dropped a new….record? Short film? They call it a “visual poem,” which of course is part of the joke. I would call it a concept comedy album, written from the perspective of José Canseco and Mark McGwire while they were playing for the Oakland Athletics in 1988-89.
Already right there, thats alot of fucking concept. Its hard to imagine how you can stretch this out into 5-6 songs. But I am getting ahead of myself. Lets start with the good stuff.
Visually and thematically, this is WAY ahead of anything else the Lonely Island has done. Ive been a fan for a long time, and I can tell you there really isnt anything like The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience. Even Popstar I dont think was this well put together. It’s alot more totemic than a straight forward narrative. Like a David Lynch film. Its thematically driven by three things: 80s asthetic, cocaine, and steroids. And it leans in on those hard.
The music is as well put together as it always is. The Lonely Island has a remarkable ability to put together really strong songs even about completely stupid shit. And that doesn’t change here. All the songs are really well put together.
As far as performances, Schaffer and Samberg really work the fact that they look nothing like Canseco and McGwire, and thats a big part of the joke. In that regard, they do the typical Lonely Island thing. Deadpan acting in stupid situations.
So, if it looks great, its interesting to watch, the music is good, whats the problem? Well……there is one…..and its a big one……its not funny.
I dont know if its a niche comedy thing. Or if The Lonely Island has worn on me, but I didnt laugh once during this whole piece. Its just kind of fine….. Maybe its something you have to live through. Like I dont like sports, and I didn’t live through the Bash Brothers during their reign. But, this thing doesnt really…operate on that level… It doesnt have a pile of inside sports jokes, or even personal material about either of the Bash Brothers. Its sort of a silly meditation about 80s stardom. This could have easily been about Bo Jackson as opposed to the Bash Brothers.
There isnt anything particularly unique here. Its just kind of, “Atheletes take steroids, do coke, and just want approval from their parents.” Thats pretty much it.
And in that way, I am completely torn about this thing. On the one hand, the Lonely Island has pushed their visual storytelling to the limit, and the results are really interesting. On the otherhand, it isn’t funny at all.
2.5/4 – I kind of hope they take some of these lessons in the future and make some funny shit. Maybe you will like it if you like 80s baseball. I dunno.
Here’s some funny shit.