The Hype And Dreams Behind "Lazy Sunday"

I've already written about the rap song "Lazy Sunday" Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell's highly addictive ode to cupcakes and THE CHRONICLES OF NARIA, but this story will not die down. (What do you want to bet they replay it when SNL goes back on the air?)

So order your "Lazy Sunday" T-Shirt, and enjoy a little backstory.
Since it was originally broadcast on NBC, "Lazy Sunday" has been downloaded more than 1.2 million times, and has cracked the upper echelons of the video charts at and the iTunes Music Store.
"I've been recognized more times since the Saturday it aired than since I started on the show," said Samberg, a new cast member on "SNL." "It definitely felt like something changed overnight."

Samberg is already well aware of the Internet's power to transform relative unknowns into superstars. In 2000, when he and his childhood friends Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone, both 28, who wrote "Lazy Sunday" with Samberg and Parnell, were still struggling comedy writers living together in Los Angeles, they created a Web site, The Lonely Island, to house their self-produced skits and videos.

"Honestly, almost every single one of the films was done at like 4 in the morning, kind of drunk," Taccone said. But the short movies also gave the three a place to develop their comic voices without the pressure of having to deliver professionally polished work.

"The Internet allowed us to show people much faster, in a way that you don't embarrass yourself," Taccone said. "You don't have to hand someone a VHS. It's just on their computer."

These videos also provided the Lonely Island team with careers: through their Internet work, they landed an agent, pilot deals with Comedy Central and Fox, and writing jobs for the MTV Movie Awards. In 2005, they joined "SNL," Samberg as a performer and Taccone and Schaffer as writers.
At "SNL" they found a kind of kindred spirit in Parnell, who has used the "Weekend Update" segment to deliver inappropriate rap tributes to some of the show's female guest hosts. "I don't think I ever heard from Britney Spears," said Parnell, who has been with the show since 1998. "But Kirsten Dunst and Jennifer Garner seemed to really enjoy it, and thankfully not be creeped out by it."

On the evening of Dec. 12, the four wrote a song about "two guys rapping about very lame, sensitive stuff," as Samberg described it. They recorded it the following night at "SNL," using a laptop computer bought on Craigslist.
Then, while their colleagues were rehearsing and rewriting that Saturday's show, the group spent the morning of Dec. 15 shooting their video with a borrowed camera, using the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in Chelsea to stand in for a multiplex cinema and Taccone's girlfriend's sister to play a convenience-store clerk. Schaffer spent the next night - and morning - editing the video and working with technicians to bring it up to broadcast standards. Finally, at about 11 p.m. on Dec. 17, the four learned from Lorne Michaels, the executive producer of "SNL," that "Lazy Sunday" would be shown on that night's show.

By the next morning, the video had burrowed its way into the nation's cultural consciousness. "It brought a breath of fresh air to the show," Parnell said. "It's something the likes of which we haven't seen on 'SNL' anytime recently."

Schaffer and Taccone were contacted by friends who heard the rap played on radio stations and in bars. And Samberg found himself having to explain to his mother that the song's chorus is a play on words involving the name "Chronicles of Narnia" and the word chronic. "She's like, 'So is it actually about weed?' " Samberg said. "It makes you think it's going to be about weed, but then it's actually just about 'Narnia.' She's like, 'Oh, I think I get it.' "
Parnell anticipates that the buzz surrounding "Lazy Sunday" will eventually die down, but he said the video's success would continue to pay dividends for his young collaborators.

"It will have whatever life people are interested in it having, and then it'll pass out of being the thing of the moment," he said. "But it encourages Lorne and everybody involved with the show to trust them more, and to put their stuff out there."

Schaffer, who has written just two sketches with Taccone that have survived the brutal "SNL" dress rehearsal process and made it onto the air, said he appreciated the attention "Lazy Sunday" has received. But he also said he expected no special treatment when the show's staff resumes work in January.

"The thing about 'SNL,' " Schaffer said, "is that all of this could happen, and we could still come in on Monday morning with zero ideas. No matter what, that's intimidating. We could use all the help we can get."


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