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Review: ‘The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience’ is unabashedly funny

The Lonely Island comedy troupe unveiled a new “visual poem” — a collection of songs formatted in the vein of Beyonce’s “Lemonade,” entitled “The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience.”  The video album as a musical tribute of sorts to the baseball players Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire who are the titular “brother” duo. Lonely Island reimagines the pair, who both admitted to using steroids over their MLB career, as rappers before their successful 1989 world championships.

Lonely Island consists of the comedians Akiva Schaffer, Andy Samberg, and Jorma Taccone. The group gained its popularity after Saturday Night Live hired all three of the trio as writers. “Lazy Sunday,” which was the second sketch the group wrote, grew to a viral sensation. This led to many successful comedy songs by the group as they went on to produce popular comic songs such as “I Just Had Sex,” “Shy Ronnie,” and “Jack Sparrow.”

Lonely Island had taken a three-year hiatus before releasing “Bash Brothers Experience.” After leaving SNL, all members of the group diverged into their own separate careers, and after creating the movie “Popstar: Never Stop Not Stopping” in 2016, they collectively focused on their own individual careers. Notably, Samberg was cast as the lead in the sitcom “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and Schaffer directed “Michael Bolton’s Big, Sexy Valentine’s Day Special” in 2017. Taccone lent his voice to a variety of animated film and television, such as “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” “Storks,” and “Gravity Falls.”

Surprisingly, the group released a visual comedy album on the 30th anniversary of the Oakland A’s 1989 world championship. The album hilariously frames the use of steroids by the Bash Brothers which brought them a large amount of success.

During their time as baseball players, the pair hit a combined total of over 200 runs according to the New York Times. Canseco and McGwire’s athletic success led to the Oakland A’s, whom the Bash Brothers were a team member of, victory over the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1989 world championship. Unfortunately, their success was pushed by steroids, which are a form of performance-enhancing drugs. In Canseco’s 2005 autobiography entitled “Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big,” he states that he and McGwire injected steroids together while in Oaklands. McGwire vehemently denied these allegations at first.

“Once and for all, I did not use steroids nor any illegal substance. I feel sorry to see someone turn to such drastic measures to accomplish a personal agenda at the expense of so many,” McGwire said to 60 Minutes in 2005. In 2010, McGwire finally admitted to injecting steroids, but his relationship with Canseco was unrecoverably damaged. Canseco has made several attempts at reconciliation through Twitter, but McGwire has seemed to turn away all of them.

The album features a plethora of songs which mock the Bash Brothers’ careers. “Uniform On” hilariously pays homage to the extreme wealth of the Bash Brothers due to their athletic success. “Oakland Nights,” in which Sia is featured, comedically touches on the after-dark antics of the brothers with women. The lyrics emphasize physical fitness. Songs like “Focus on the Games” and “Feed the Beast” hone in on the brothers’ use of steroids.

The songs pay not only homage to Bash Brothers and Baseball, but to the 80s itself. Most of the costumes, sets, and video quality resemble 80s style. Each song is also backed by a 1980s-esque track.

Many A-list celebrities guest-star in the videos. Sia, HAIM, Jenny Slate, Hannah Simone, Maya Ruldoph, Sterling K. Brown and Stephanie Beatriz are just some of the many guest stars in the “visual poem.”

The Oakland A’s received the album very well, playing the song “Oakland Nights” before their game at the Coliseum. According to Mercury News, Canseco laughed at the album and found it very amusing.