Akiva Schaffer

Akiva Schaffer

Although writer/director Akiva Schaffer attended film school at the University of California, Santa Cruz, he actually began collaborating with his comedic partners during his adolescence in Berkeley. In junior high, Schaffer concocted live comedy skits with fellow yuksters Andy Samberg and Jorma Taccone. These skits soon expanded into comedy shorts and music video parodies, work that was strong enough to win them an invitation to write material for the 2005 MTV Movie Awards. Jimmy Fallon was that year's host and was so struck by the group's material that he alerted "Saturday Night Live" producer Lorne Michaels. In no time, Samberg became a cast member while Schaffer and Taccone joined the writing staff. Schaffer's creative control over his material is considerable, as he directs, co-writes, and edits the so-called "Digital Shorts," some of the most successful skits in recent "SNL" history. The 2005 short "Lazy Sunday," for instance, went on to score millions of hits on YouTube before its removal for copyright infringement. After the success of his short "SNL" material, Schaffer set his sights on feature films, directing the 2007 comedy "Hot Rod," which starred Samberg, Sissy Spacek, Bill Hader, Danny McBride, and Will Arnett. That same year, Schaffer won an Emmy for the "SNL Digital Short" "Dick in a Box" along with his collaborators Samberg, Taccone, and Justin Timberlake.