Jack Black was on "Saturday Night Live" last week, but the skit that struck gold for this generally struggling show didn't involve him.
"Lazy Sunday," presented as "An SNL Digital Short," was a rap video featuring Chris Parnell and Andy Samberg about waking up late on a Sunday, eating cupcakes and going to see "The Chronicles of Narnia" (or "The Chronic - What! - cles of Narnia").
You can see the video here. (It's also available at SNL's official site.) The Village Voice has a thorough but labored take on the skit here.
The Village Voice, as well as New Yorker music critic Sasha Frere-Jones (linked to in the piece), are overthinking this. Nobody is dissing anybody, let alone black rappers, or trying to make an argument about the state of rap videos. They're just having fun.
Most rap songs talk about the rappers' day-to-day lives, real or imagined. So the humor here is in two white guys rapping with attitude about their decidedly non-hardcore real lives. And they up the humor by making themselves look like even bigger weenies, e.g. by bragging about how fast they got the trivia question played on the movie screen before the trailers began.
Chris Parnell has performed (good) rap parodies on "Weekend Update" before, and it's kind of fun to see that he and first-year guy Samberg have developed a rapport so quickly.
The cast seems to be heading in the right direction, especially with Will Forte's emergence (he showed something new in the Merrill Lynch ad parody where he plays a pissed off and overly involved financial advisor). Samberg and Bill Hader (did the Vincent Price Halloween special and is a really good impressionist) are both strong first-year players, and Jason Sudeikis and the new female performer aren't bad either (don't know if this is an ominous sign for her, but her name isn't listed on the show's site's list of biographies).
Lorne Michaels has said a few of the older cast members are going to leave after this season. I'd bet on Parnell, a versatile player who's been there for a long time, and/or Darrell Hammond, among the men, and Rachel Dratch and/or Maya Rudolph among the women.
Both Dratch and Rudolph have been marginalized a bit by the rise of Amy Poehler, who since assuming the co-anchor chair on "Update" is now ubiquitous on the show. I like Poehler, but I also like Dratch, and I feel badly that she doesn't seem to be in as many skits as she used to be. Since Dratch and head writer Tina Fey have been close for so long (performing "Dratch and Fey" at comedy festivals, for instance), I wouldn't be surprised if there are some bad feelings now that Poehler is Fey's new best bud.
Item! Is Tina Fey a real-life "Mean Girl?"
I got your back, Rachel!
Ahem. As for Maya Rudolph, she's been pregnant, so that's probably one reason she wasn't doing as much towards the end of last year. Plus, she's married to "Magnolia" director Paul Thomas Anderson, so she's in like Flynn, generally speaking, and probably content to take a few years off and raise a family with her genius auteur.