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Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Pop Star' And Making Music Funny

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Andy Samberg plays Conner4Real in <em>Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.</em>
Universal Pictures
Andy Samberg plays Conner4Real in Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.

Welcome, friends, to a discussion featuring four of the only people in America to see Pop Star: Never Stop Never Stopping in theaters last weekend. Though the movie wasn't a box-office hit, to put it lightly, we whip up an extraordinary amount of affection for The Lonely Island's goofy comedy — a lightweight but joke-dense look at "Conner4Real," a vaguely Bieber-esque singer and rapper (Andy Samberg) who used to belong to a boy band called the Style Boyz with Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer. Made as a mockumentary that chronicles Conner4Real's fall and rise, Pop Star incorporates an enormous number of music-business cameos, but never at the expense of a flood of jokes.

All four of us on this week's panel — that'd be host Linda Holmes, Glen Weldon, special guest Margaret H. Willison and me — think Pop Star has cult-hit potential, which helps us segue into our second topic: our favorite movie comedies that tap into a rich vein of humor about (and at the expense of) musicians. Since all roads lead to This Is Spinal Tap anyway, we start there, but also make room for the likes of A Mighty Wind, School Of Rock, Josie & The Pussycats (which has several staunch defenders on our panel), Music & Lyrics, and more. And, of course, we attempt to answer the question: What makes musicians such juicy targets?

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Finally, as always, we close with What's Making Us Happy this week. I'm excited about a foray into NPR's live-video projects in which PCHH pal Barrie Hardymon and I team up to discuss pop culture and parenting (watch the first video here), though this episode was recorded before Glen Weldon, Bob Mondello and I launched another spinoff — a video version of What's Making Us Happy — over on this page. Glen is happy about an upcoming benefit appearance in Washington, D.C., featuring himself and Trey Graham, as well as a recent Maya Rudolph performance on Saturday Night Live. Margaret has kind words for a theater experience in New York that I'm about to enjoy myself, as well as its companion album; plus, she praises a theater experience in New York that I'm not out to enjoy myself, as well as its companion album. (She also, because Margaret is nothing if not a font of recommendations, plugs this issue of her newsletter.) Finally, Linda is happy about 1) the return of a TV favorite; 2) an upcoming documentary we'll discuss on the show in greater detail soon; 3) recent news of a high-profile book adaptation; 4) a new political documentary; and 5) her recent opportunity to talk Sondheim on Weekend Edition.

Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter: the show, Linda, me, Glen, Margaret, producer emeritus Mike, and producer Jessica.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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