The Lonely Island's Jorma Taccone Explains Justin Bieber's Instagram

Jorma Taccone, Andy Samberg, the lonely island
Christopher Polk/Getty Images Entertainment
Christopher Polk/Getty Images Entertainment

The Lonely Island's Jorma Taccone is an expert on the tricky mechanics of pop stardom. And he should be: he's scored countless viral hits on SNL with his childhood friends Andy Samberg and Akiva Schaffer, released chart-dominating albums, collaborated with pros like Justin Timberlake, and performed at giant award shows. Now he's one of the stars, writers, and directors of Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, a hilarious and disturbingly accurate parody of Behind the Music-style documentaries like Justin Bieber's Never Say Never. The guy knows his shit.

So, when I met the 39-year-old comedian and songwriter at Manhattan's swanky Mandarin Oriental hotel recently, I knew I wanted to ask him about Justin Bieber's often mystifying, controversial, and occasionally transcendent Instagram account. If anyone could make sense of the Bieb's mysterious social media presence, it's the dude who once sucked his own dick next to him and has now made a whole movie that celebrates -- and playfully mocks -- Canada's most controversial musical export.

Luckily, Jorma was more than willing to go deep on what makes the perfect popstar 'gram, starting with a somewhat unsafe-looking tiger photo and only getting more dangerous from there.

"[Uncaptioned tiger shot]"

Here's the first photo I wanted to show you. It's Justin Bieber with a tiger. 
I bet it's a rare tiger. That's my guess.

Why do you think celebrities and pop stars are often into wild animals?
I think it's all because you can be. Normal people don't get to be around wild animals. It's rarefied air to be in the presence of a potential beast that may kill you. That's probably the reason. Because you can.

"Really cool piece"

In this one he's got a necklace.
That looks like a puma or something like that. But covered in diamonds. What do you call it? It's not bedazzled because it's real diamonds but… what's the name of it? It's not bejeweled. It's… bezzled?

That sounds right.
Bezzled nicely with -- I'm assuming those aren't cubic zirconia -- that's probably the real deal. That's my guess.

So this next photo sorta caused a stir online.
Are you gonna show me a picture of his dick, man?

"I colored this"

There it is.
Oh, he drew this?

It's a hentai coloring book.
I was going to be so impressed if he actually drew that freehand. Why did that cause a stir? Because it got everyone all horny?

I think people were just confused why he took a picture of it.
He's proud of his work. Look at it! He's completely in the lines on all of that.

Adult coloring books are popular now.
It's become a thing.

Have you ever done one?
I've seen them but I've never done them before. I have a child so I just do regular coloring books. I haven't advanced to the adult chapters.

"What a beast"

This is a photo of Ryan Gosling in that movie The Place Beyond the Pines.
But Bieber took this?

I think it's a still from the movie and he posted it on Instagram.
That's way weirder. Maybe he just wanted you to know what he was up to. He was watching The Place Beyond the Pines.

You guys work with a lot of different artists. What's the most surprising thing you've ever found out a musician or celebrity is into?
You've shown me a couple things right now. I think as an overall thing, our ability to engage with celebrity has changed so vastly over the last 15 years, and in the last couple years in particular, that now there are so many things that are unbelievable that it's really hard to keep track almost. There are a million things you could say. You could tell me almost anything about anyone and I'd be like, "Yeah, that makes sense." But with Snapchat and other things, the oversharing of the mundane has become so prevalent that you see every aspect of people's lives, which I don't know how that's affecting us or those people. We do Snapchat but a lot of our snaps are sorta meant to entertain more than they are to show, "Look at this sandwich! There's cheddar on it!" We don't overshare personal stuff -- not to say there's anything wrong with it. Certain people have become immensely popular doing that and it's become a business or a branding opportunity for a lot of people, including DJ Khaled. He's like a motivational speaker.

Yeah, he's like a guru.
There's nothing wrong with that if that's what you want your life to be like. Kevin Hart snaps his whole fucking life. That's part of their connection with their fans and if you're good at it and like doing it, there's nothing wrong with it necessarily. Whether people want to engage with that, it's their prerogative.

"Dat ass doe"

Here's a famous photo of Bieber on the beach.
First of all: why wouldn't you share that? The only question is: where's the reverse? And I guess he did the reverse at some point.

Have you ever sent nude photos and worried about them going online?
I sent one dick pic of my child's dick to my doctor because I was worried about his dick. It turns out, his dick was perfectly fine. But it was a weird dick pic to send to a woman doctor. Be like, "Here, check out this dick. It's for a 9-month-old."

I'm glad everything worked out.
I want that in print though that his dick is great. It's perfectly fine.

These are the questions people want answered.

The Lonely Island has an Instagram, but you don't have an account as an individual, right?
I only have a Twitter as an individual and I'm very bad at that.

And you don't have a secret Instagram? I've heard other famous people say they have a secret Instagram for family and friends.
No. But I created an Instagram for our DP who is also a very good friend of mine, Brandon Trost, who has shot a million things you would know. He shot our movie, he shot my wife's movie, Diary of a Teenage Girl, he shot The Interview and a million things with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. He's great. But I wanted to create a website for him called "" as a really snarky, shitty character that he was playing who was like, "Ah, look at this frame. It was almost perfect but there's a kick off the chrome in the back. Fuck my lighting." [laughs] It was just me being really obnoxious. "I had the great Seth Rogen in the shot but look there's a little flare off his glasses. Fuck my lighting." It was just frames from his movies and me being a little turd about it. But I was doing it against his will. He was OK with it, but he wasn't thrilled.

So, in the process of looking this up, I found this weird thing.
Oh, I hope I know what it is.


I don't like this.

It's called the Daily Jorma Taccone and it's just photos of you, but they post the same photo every day.
Ah, what? That's bizarre. I've not seen this. First of all, there are so many horrendous photos of me online because I can't help but make awful, awful faces so I can only imagine how disgusting most days are. I'm not a great-looking guy but I'm not like as horrendous as I look online in a lot of photos. So, I want to apologize to the people who either check that site or the people that made it.

Why do you think someone would make that?
My guess is that my name is weird and they think it's slightly funny. Or maybe it's a fan? But I think it's more that my name is weird and it's kinda comical to make a website about it.

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Dan Jackson is a staff writer at Thrillist Entertainment. He's on Twitter: @danielvjackson.