Andy Samberg on parallels between pandemic and ‘Palm Springs,’ plus next season of ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’

When Andy Samberg joined “Saturday Night Live” in 2005, he became known for his risque song parodies with Justin Timberlake and characters like Blizzard Man, the aspiring rapper. 

After leaving SNL, he didn’t have long to wait for his next crazy character. Enter the cocky but lovable Detective Jake Peralta on the NBC sitcom “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” a role that won Samberg a Golden Globe. 

And this summer while the nation was grappling with the pandemic and fighting for social justice, Samberg gave us a much needed mental break in the sci-fi romantic comedy “Palm Springs.” In it, his character Niles gets caught in a time loop and is forced to live the same day over and over again. 

Samberg tells Press Play that “Palm Springs” was written years ago, and the biggest concern at the time was whether it’d be too similar to “Groundhog Day.” But with the coronavirus pandemic, he says the world became like “Groundhog Day.” 

“We were right on the money. We liked the idea that it forces you to sort of sit with yourself and the choices you've made and haven't made, and the people you've chosen to spend your life with. And it became this very clear cut parallel between what people are going through in quarantine,” he says.  

For those who made decisions they didn’t feel good about, the film addresses whether that means they’re lost causes, Samberg explains.  

“Can you find a way to forgive yourself for the things that you've done, in your opinion, that are wrong? And allow yourself to enjoy your life and love yourself again, and let love back into your life again? We're hoping that the answer is yes.”

Samberg pinpoints one gain from the pandemic: more time with his 3-year-old daughter. “Being forced to be in the house all day, especially coming off a year that was especially busy for me with work, it really allowed me to see the difference firsthand … how much more of an impact I could have as a parent, spending more time physically with her all the time, getting into that rhythm, having your own language together and your own inside jokes. … It’s something … I'm going to take with me … when things have some semblance of normalcy.” 

For “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” shooting has been suspended. “In LA right now, this scenario is so gnarly with no space in hospitals. … Most shows are pushing a little bit right now, and we're no exception.”

Samberg says next season, the show is going to amp up its portrayal of police in American — the role they play and their strengths and weaknesses. 

“It's going to acknowledge that there's been some major deaths, and all of the protesting, and all of the awful things that have happened this year and in years past. It's going to be a tricky needle to thread because we are comedy, but I think we have a good track record of not shying away from it in the past. So it's going to continue along that path and amp it up a little more.”