27. Saturday Night Live Airs the "Lazy Sunday" Digital Short
Date: December 17, 2005
The Moment: As winter geared up, SNL tried to heat things up by teaming up then-young gun Andy Samberg with Chris Parnell (then about four years into his run) for SNL showrunner Lorne Michaels' second attempt at what he labeled a "digital short": A segment shot with digital cameras and edited on PCs, over the course of the SNL taping week. The sketch—written with two new, young, and almost totally untested staff writers, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone—was pretty simple: Parnell and Samberg, angrily rapping over a hard breakbeat, explaining their Sunday routine of getting snacks, and smuggling those snacks into a screening of The Chronicles of Narnia.
The Impact: The clip was a smash hit, but as opposed to 2013, when Twitter and Facebook can make something go viral at light speed, the majority of humans who would watch an SNL clip still weren't on one or both social networks, and "Lazy Sunday" ended up enjoying a slow, long, viral burn. Critics inevitably called it a high point for a show that'd been failing its legacy (as they always do with SNL). The clip was played on radio stations and racked up five million hits on YouTube—which, in 2005, was a lot—before being pulled by NBC three months later and thrown on Hulu. Everyone from middle schoolers to their uncool parents spent the next six or seven months quoting, "The Chronic-WHAT-cles of Narnia."
The Upshot: "Lazy Sunday" helped do quite a few things: Shoot Andy Samberg to immediate SNL hall-of-fame status, make the creation of Digital Shorts a regular priority, help secure the comedy trio of Sanberg, Schaffer, and Taccone—better known to the world as The Lonely Island—a major label record deal, which would result in the group winning a Grammy for another smash Digital Short, "I'm On a Boat." It also spawned a bunch of terrible response videos and parodies on YouTube, a classic segment on The Office, and the less-than-memorable "Lazy Sunday 2" in 2012.