Akiva Schaffer

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Akiva Schaffer
Akiva Schaffer by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Schaffer at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con
Born (1977-12-01) December 1, 1977 (age 42)[1]
Berkeley, California, U.S.
MediumInternet, stand-up, music, television, film
Years active2001–present
GenresSketch comedy, situational comedy, comedy hip hop
Liz Cackowski (m. 2010)

Akiva D. Schaffer (/əˈkvə ˈʃæfər/;[2] born December 1, 1977) is an American film director, actor, and writer. He is a member of the comedy group the Lonely Island.

Early life[edit]

Schaffer was born in Berkeley, California to Jewish parents from New York.[3][4]

In 2000, he graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a degree in film.[4]


We were putting ourselves through boot camp without any idea of what we were doing it for. We were training ourselves for the jobs we got.[4]

After college, he and his childhood friends, Andy Samberg and Jorma Taccone, moved to Los Angeles and began making comedy movies.[4] Taccone, the son of theater director Tony Taccone, brought home the film Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, a choice the other men teased as being "too theatrical". The film, however, inspired Schaffer to write an overwrought play, in the style of Tennessee Williams, called The Lonely Island, in reference to their apartment. The name eventually extended to the comedy group itself.[4] On the Internet, Schaffer got his start directing The Lonely Island's The 'Bu, the group's record-breaking contribution to Channel 101, which was a parody of The OC and starred Sarah Chalke as Melissa, as well as Samberg and Taccone. Schaffer has contributed to several other Channel 101 productions as part of the Lonely Island.

In the fall of 2005, Schaffer was hired for Saturday Night Live where he directed, co-wrote, and edited the majority of the SNL Digital Shorts.[4] Some notable shorts/songs include "Lazy Sunday", "I Just Had Sex", "Natalie's Rap", "Dick in a Box", "Peyton Manning for the United Way", "Iran So Far", "Jizz in My Pants", "Boombox", "I'm on a Boat", "Great Day", "Threw It on the Ground", "Jack Sparrow", "Like A Boss", "YOLO", "Semicolon", "Dear Sister", "Spring Break Anthem", "Shy Ronnie", and "Ras Trent". Schaffer directed and acted in the film Hot Rod, which starred Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, Bill Hader, Danny McBride, Isla Fisher, Ian McShane, and Sissy Spacek, which was produced by SNL's Lorne Michaels. Schaffer directed the film The Watch starring Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade, and written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, and he also co-directed/wrote/produced and starred in the film Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. Schaffer was credited as an executive producer on the film MacGruber. The film was co-written and directed by Jorma Taccone.

He also co-directed/created Michael Bolton's Big, Sexy Valentine's Day Special for Netflix with Scott Aukerman.

Schaffer directed four music videos for the band We Are Scientists and one for the Eagles of Death Metal.

In 2018, Schaffer guest-starred on NBC sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine, portraying Brett Booth in the episode Show me Going.

In 2019, Schaffer was announced as the director for a live action adaptation of Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Schaffer is married to comedy writer and actress Liz Cackowski; they have two children.


In 2007, Schaffer won an Emmy for his participation in the production of "Dick in a Box". He was nominated for an Emmy for the song "Motherlover." He was featured in People's Sexiest Bachelor with Andy Samberg, as Sexiest Best Friends. He has also won two Writers Guild of America Award and a Peabody Award for his work on Saturday Night Live. The Lonely Island was nominated in 2009 for a People's Choice Award and a Grammy Award.


  1. ^ "Akiva D Schaffer, Born 12/01/1977 in California". California Birth Index. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  2. ^ Schaffer, Akiva; Taccone, Jorma (2016). Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (Motion picture).
  3. ^ "The Lonely Island". Cleveland Jewish News. June 21, 2013. Retrieved January 18, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Townsend, Peggy (August 26, 2015). "Alumni Profile / 2000: Akiva Schaffer: It's all funny business for Saturday Night Live alum". UC Santa Cruz News. Retrieved January 18, 2019.
  5. ^ Kit, Borys (May 17, 2019). "Disney's Meta Take on 'Rescue Rangers' Finds Its Director With Lonely Island's Akiva Schaffer (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.

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