As Tom Hall mentions on his blog, one of the biggest (only?) highlights of Saturday Night Live these days (though “Weekend Update” is often reliable) are the “Digital Shorts.” These shorts famously hit their stride precisely one year ago this weekend, with the debut of the now-classic rap parody, “Lazy Sunday” (which, like many people, was the first time I ever used YouTube). Ever since, there has been a steady stream of good stuff (the Natalie Portman rap anthem is another must-see)… and it makes a lot of the sketches seem stale by comparison.
So, where do these shorts come from? From The Lonely Island, a trio of comic filmmakers who were added to the SNL writing staff after the success of “Lazy Sunday,” with founding Lonely Islander, Andy Samberg, already in the cast. There’s no rhyme or reason behind how much they contribute to non-“Digital Shorts” material for the show, though they did have a hand in that amusing Apocalypto trailer spoof from last weekend. This weekend, they introduced a new classic music video, featuring Justin Timberlake and Samberg in a psuedo-90s R&B love ballad/holiday tune that would make Mickey Rourke’s character in Diner, very happy. This weekend’s show was better-than-average (Timberlake’s got the charm an SNL host needs), but this music video was a major standout. If that doesn’t scare you off and you care to see other, pre-SNL material by The Lonely Island, check out their extensive Web site.