Andy Samberg Returns To ‘SNL’ To Explain What YOLO Really Means

Andy Samberg returned to Saturday Night Live last night for a digital short starring Lonely Island, host Adam Levine and musical guest Kendrick Lamar all about YOLO. In case you’ve been under a rock, YOLO is the acronym everyone loves to hate and last night it didn’t mean "you only live once." With these guys, YOLO is a warning: "you oughtta look out." 

The clip reminded us what Samberg did best on SNL: absurdist digital shorts. The joke in this one gets old quickly, although Lamar’s brief, serious interlude makes it funny again. 

Still, I wouldn’t mind if Samberg comes back with Lonely Island occasionally for digital shorts on SNL:  

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Personal Faves: Maya Rudolph Hosts ‘SNL’

Instead of ending the year with a slew of Best Of lists, BlackBook asked our contributors to share the most important moments in art, music, film, television, and fashion that took place in 2012. Here, Joe Reid writes about Maya Rudolph’s return to Studio 8H as host of Saturday Night Live.

Since the beginning and the "Not Ready for Primetime Players," Saturday Night Live has always boasted something of a familial atmosphere. Even when—as has been documented often—those families were fucked-up and quarrelsome. The eras of SNL close ranks around themselves in our memory, though, and even when the reality resists it, we write these narratives anyway. This is why I will never not be fascinated by what goes on during the goodbye hugs at the end of each episode. Such a great peek into family dynamics. This sense of family on SNL has been especially strong on the last several years. The overlapping Tina Fey/Seth Meyers eras have been characterized by constant opportunities for crossover—on 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon—and a sense that graduated cast members are welcome back at Studio 8H any time.

And yet even by those standards, Maya Rudolph’s hosting gig last February felt especially familial. In the nearly five years since Rudolph ended her time as a cast member, she’d been back several times, but this was her first gig as host, and the sense of rallying around her for her big moment was palpable. Despite the fact that she was already starring in a sitcom on NBC, there was no reference made to Up All Night (the same would be true of Christina Applegate’s hosting gig in October, helping to cement Up All Night as one of the great "is that still on?" sitcoms of our time). It was the previous summer’s Bridesmaids that provided the boost in stature for Rudolph to host herself. Bridesmaids was a big influencer on SNL last season. Melissa McCarthy had been on to host in October, and the success of the film was probably that last push that Kristen Wiig needed to declare this her last season on the show. Which meant, in addition to Rudolph experiencing an old home week, there was also a sense that she was helping to usher Wiig into that great Beyond-SNL phase of her career, a sense that was only galvanized by Amy Poehler’s extended cameo.

Everybody figured Poehler would be back for a reprise of Bronx Beat, her and Rudolph’s popular recurring sketch. Betty and Jodi fell right back into their world-weary rhythms (it feels like Hoarders was a phenomenon created specifically to be gabbed about on "Bronx Beat"), and it only felt appropriate that their guests would be the sound guys played by Andy Samberg and Justin Timberlake (one of the more popular recurring hosts of the Fey/Meyers era, keeping us on trend). 

NEXT: "The 2011-12 season had turned into Senior Week at high school."

Both Poehler and Timberlake would show up again during the show: Timberlake as Bon Iver in an "At Home with Beyonce and Jay-Z" sketch (though he would later TOTALLY puss out by carrying an "I <3 Bon Iver" sign during the goodbyes), and Poehler in her triumphant return to Weekend Update, and specifically to "REALLY??!! With Seth and Amy." That Beyonce and Jay-Z sketch was one of those treasure boxes filled with random fantastic celebrity impersonations, specifically Taran Killam’s Brad Pitt and Nasim Pedrad’s Nicki Minaj (which tragically was never paired with Kristen Wiig’s Bjork before Wiig left the show). But it was the return of "REALLY??!!" that sold the homecoming theme better than anything else. Seth and Amy had such great chemistry together, and his happiness at having her back for a week was practically radiating through the TV.

With Wiig and Samberg on their way out the door (and Jason Sudekis rumored to be as well), the 2011-12 season had turned into Senior Week at high school, with sketches seeming loopier and more likely to devolve into a pile of giggles. Wanton character-breaking like that can often test an audience’s patience with the show (see: the entire Jimmy Fallon-Horatio Sanz era), but for viewers who knew what was up, the season felt like watching fantastically funny old friends have a well-deserved goof-off day. (That day lasted 22 episodes, but whatever.) Thus the appeal of something like "Super Showcase," which consisted entirely of Wiig and Rudolph using weird voices to make them (and Bill Hader) laugh. The fact that Vanessa Bayer—new, still-trying-to-prove-herself Vanessa Bayer—was the only one to hold it together only strengthened the "Senior Skip Day" impression. 

NEXT: "The entire episode was consistently strong, a near-impossible feat for SNL."

The entire episode was consistently strong, a near-impossible feat for SNL. At 90 minutes worth of crammed-together sketches, perfection is an unattainable goal. (It also means that even the worst episodes can be redeemed by one great sketch, so it works both ways.) But Rudolph’s episode was remarkably steady: the cold open about racist "Lin-sanity" is so much more dated than anybody ever thought possible (it’s only been ten months but feels like ten years) but it also nailed that moment in time. The "what would it take for African Americans to not support Obama?" sketch was better than what usually gets tossed out at 12:45 AM. "What’s Up With That?" is never going to be for everybody, but it manages to get me every time, if for no other reason than the gleeful look on Sudekis’s face while he’s doing the running man. But, fine, say that’s the one "bad" sketch of the night. It’s more than redeemed by something like Maya Angelou’s prank show, if only for the part where Angelou assures Dr. Cornel West that her goof on him was not an act of malice but an act of whimsy. 

But really, what are we even talking about? Why did I just spend all that time talking about the rest of the episode when the show attained perfection via 30 short seconds in the second-last sketch? Not even the full "Obama Show" sketch. Just those perfectly calibrated Cosby Show opening credits. My favorite moments from those credits, in order: 1) Maya as Michelle Obama as Clare Huxtable, wagging her index finger at the camera; 2) Maya as Michelle Obama as Clare Huxtable dancing; 3) Jason Sudekis as Joe Biden as Theo Huxtable dancing; 4) Fred Armisen as Barack Obama as Cliff Huxtable doing the thing with the fingers; 5) Fred Armisen as Barack Obama as Cliff Huxtable dancing around Agent Conners. In the months since, I have watched those credits roughly seven thousand times. They don’t lose their luster. I only regret that the tag at the end of the sketch, where Poehler shows up as Hillary Clinton to lip-sych Ray Charles in parody of the greatest moment in Cosby Show history, isn’t available online due to the scourge of our time: music rights. MUSIC RIIIIIIIGHTS!!! [shakes fist]

It was only fitting, really, that this particular episode of Saturday Night Live was highlighted by a parody of one of television’s great families. Here’s hoping there’s one more of these homecoming episodes before Meyers, Hader, and company all move on. When does Kristen Wiig’s next movie open, anyway?

Follow Joe Reid on Twitter.  

Some Thoughts on ‘That’s My Boy’ and Andy Samberg’s Career

What’s in store for Andy Samberg now that he’s officially left Saturday Night Live? Will there be more joke-rap in the comedian’s future? Will his serious turn in the upcoming Celeste and Jesse Forever (co-starring—and co-written by—Rashida Jones) bring in critical accolades? Most importantly, will his career survive the pile of stinking garbage that is his upcoming flick That’s My Boy, in which he plays the son of an immature Adam Sandler (redundant, I know) who is just 13 years his senior? 

Granted, I have not seen That’s My Boy, which hits theaters next Friday. But, ya know, I have seen the trailer. And I’m not a total idiot. Here’s a reminder in case you want a reason to rip out your eyeballs today. Oh, and it’s NSFW:

Woof! No thanks! I recognize I’m not the key demographic for your typical Adam Sandler movie, as I’m generally not into the concept of any of the voices that Sandler makes, nor am I particularly interested to see if Vanilla Ice can pull off the complicated role of "Himself" (nope, still haven’t gotten around to watching Cool as Ice). But I can’t help but think critically about the movie and Andy Samberg’s role in it. It is, after all, his first post-SNL film, which was perhaps poor timing. 

Of course, the advertising campaigns aren’t doing the movie any favors. Beyond the terrible trailer above, there’s also the ridiculous poster, to which I would like to draw your attention:

First of all, I spent some time staring at this mess as it was directly above the urinal in the bar I went to last night, which seems about right. Every time I returnd to take care of business and whatnot, I came face-to-face with this Photoshop of Horrors. First of all, if Sandler and Samberg are just hanging out on the lawn of some fancy water-front home, why did Sandler leave a trail of empties in his path? Is that how he knows which way to get back to the bathroom to barf? Do you think we’re supposed to assume that he drank those beers en route, or that he was carrying those cans in his arms, dropping each one after the other? And speaking of beer, what kind of lens did the photog use to get that spectacular action shot of the beer seemingly floating out of that can only Samberg’s tux? 

I dunno, guys, something isn’t adding up! You know, Samberg is supposed to be the daughter of Sandler and Eva Amurri, Susan Sarandon’s daughter. I’d point out that Samberg doesn’t look like either of them, much less someone who could possibly be Susan Sarandon’s grandson, but I should mention that Sarandon shows up later in the film (according to IMDb, anyway) as the older version of her daughter’s character. How’s that mind-fuck for you? 

Is Andy Samberg hoping his post-SNL life will be anything like Adam Sandler’s? Sure, Sandler had all of those early hits, but he’s also a massive joke, right? Like, no one still thinks, "Man, that Billy Madison really changed the game when it came to idiot buffoons talking like babies and banging hot chicks." Right?

Some Non-Digital Short Highlights from Andy Samberg

And another one gone, and another one gone, another one bites the dust. Andy Samberg has officially announced his exit from Saturday Night Live, along with fellow headliner Kristen Wiig, who left the show with a heartfelt and awesome send-off during the season finale. Samberg hinted at his departure with one last digital short, a sequel to the one that started it all, "Lazy Sunday," featuring a triumphant return of Chris Parnell, Sister Act and the line "On these New York streets I hone my fake rap penmanship / That’s how it began and that’s how I’mma finish it." 

As Samberg told the New York Times on Friday, "It’s an incredibly emotional and strange moment in my life." Kind of like the first time we all saw "Laser Cats."

Obviously, Samberg’s SNL legacy will be his digital shorts with special guest stars and hype-men The Lonely Island, from "I’m On A Boat" with T-Pain to "I Just Had Sex" with Akon to "Jack Sparrow" with Michael Bolton. But what of Andy Samberg on non-digital-short days? Here’s a handful of clips 

Blizzard Man

Samberg showed off his actual fake-rap skills in the digital shorts, and then there was Blizzard Man, this bizarre throwback producer character with wannabe vernacular and hair that wished it could reach Kid ‘N’ Play heights. Somewhere in the bowels of the Internet, there are probably dozens of half-written "think pieces" as to what Blizzard Man is supposed to represent, if he’s supposed to be a satire of hip-hop minstrelsy or on riding the obsessive nostalgia wave. But commentary on the state of hip-hop aside, to flail around in Jordache and deliver the most ridiculous, mindless lyrics ever in front of millions of people still takes guts.  Another installment of this sketch with T-Pain and Ludacris is also excellent. 

The GOP Primary

Samberg certainly wasn’t the funniest person in these Republican candidate-skewering sketches, but his nervous, gape-mouthed, jittery portrayal of Rick Santorum was certainly committed, even if it made us all just a little uncomfortable. 

Taco Town

The facial expressions in this one are priceless, but it’s the prophetic nature of this sketch and the fast food monstrosities that appeared in its wake that really get you. 

Rahm Emanuel

Chicago’s mayor will f***ing end you. 



Samberg as The Swedish Chef. You totally forgot this even happened until just now, didn’t you? 

Oh, fine. You get some ‘Dick In A Box’ too. 

Goodnight, everybody! 

‘SNL’ Celebrates 100th Digital Short with Some Star-Studded Autofellatio

What do you get when you combine Andy Samberg, Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake, Natalie Portman, Will Ferrell, Michael Bolton, Jon Hamm, Usher and more into one three-minute music video about autofellatio? You get the hilarious Digital Short from last night’s SNL, which just so happened to be the 100th of its kind. Check it out after the jump!

NSFW Trailer for Adam Sandler & Andy Samberg’s ‘That’s My Boy’ is All Kinds of Charming

That’s My Boy, the new Adam Sandler movie, was originally called I Hate You, Dad. The contrast in vibes between those two titles ably foreshadows the creative confusion going on in the film’s first trailer, which is quite red band and NSFW if you work in a boring office. Sandler plays a deadbeat in debt to the IRS, who finds out that his long-abandoned son, played by Andy Samberg, is now a millionaire. 

Hatching a scheme to pay off those pesky back taxes, he shows up at Samberg’s impending wedding with the hopes of rekindling some dormant father-son relationship before he’s sent to jail. But wouldn’t you know, it turns out he really likes hanging out with his boy, money aside. It’s a potentially touching concept, yes, but given the creative players, the trailer is replete with jokes like Sandler cracking "It tastes like dick infused with balls" after he’s handed a precious health drink at a spa. 

Remember when Sandler showed up on the Oscars talking about how the movies inspire him to make art? Yeah. That’s My Boy is out on June 15.

Morning Links: Rick Ross Goes Topless, Hollywood Is Still A Man’s World

● Megan Fox really wants to play the homely, tortured teenage lead in MGM’s remake of Carrie, presumably because her own teenage years were totally homely and tortured. [MovieWeb] ● Prince William and Duchess Kate had a nice honeymoon on a private island in the Seychelles, where they saw a turtle nest hatching, giant stingrays, and sharks! But “Friendly sharks, not deadly sharks, Us reports. [UsWeekly] ● Vibe got Rick Ross topless for their cover this month, flaunting his saggy, tattooed pecks. Complex‘s Jaws-inspired cover depicting the ever-hungry rapper hunting down a water-skiing Andy Samberg wins, though. [Complex]

● It’s an old white man’s world, and very few woman are writing in it. Not only are there not a lot of women writers in television and film, but there are less of them than there used to be and the gender earnings gap is widening. Worse off still are writers who are not white, who take only 10% of television and 5% of movie writing jobs. [IndieWire] ● Excited Lady Gaga fans broke the internet yesterday in their scrambling for Born This Way. [NYT] ● Heartbreaker Pete Doherty checked in for his six months in prison on cocaine possession just last week, but rumors of his post-release plans are already cropping up. Word has it that the rocker is scheduled to be released from prison just in time to make the summer festival rounds in England this August. [NME]

The Lonely Island Discuss ‘SNL’ & Their Hilarious New Album, ‘Turtleneck & Chain’

As The Lonely Island, Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone make going viral look easy. Show me someone who hasn’t seen “Lazy Sunday” or “Dick in the Box,” and I’ll show you someone who deserves the curse of Sergio. As the creators of SNL’s Digital Shorts, their brand of unpredictable, absurdist humor is on weekly display. But if that’s not enough Lonely Island for you, the boys have just finished Turtleneck and Chain, their second album of jokey and surprisingly catchy urban music: part hip-hop, part R n’ B, all brilliant.

On it are tracks familiar to those keeping tabs on the boys’ Saturday night escapades: The Akon-featuring fuck-ballad “I Just Had Sex”; Dick in the Box sequel “Motherlover”; and “Creep,” co-starring Nicki Minaj. Michael Bolton and Santigold show up elsewhere, but it’s Samberg, Schaffer, and Taccone who own this thing, track after track. We recently spoke to the Lonely Island, who gave us an in-depth look at their creative process, discussed the unfortunate circumstances behind the song “Japan,” and revealed their dream Saturday Night Live hosts.

I always wonder how you come up with the basic ideas for your songs and videos, so I’m going to list a couple of tracks, and you’re going to tell me how they came to be. Let’s start with “Threw It On the Ground.” Akiva: Our friend Drew made the beat, and we had it in our iTunes library with all the other potential beats. And there was something about it, how it was quiet and then broke into those big synths that made me for no reason be like, What if it’s just ‘throwing it on the ground,’ and then we could use that Phantom camera that does the thousand frames per-second beautiful slo-mo — this was before it had been used in almost anything — and when it hits, it would just be this blossoming of slo-mo. That was the initial kernel, and then we developed it, and then it became about this guy who thinks he knows everything, almost a slam-poet kind of guy, and it’s kind of a Bay Area person that we knew, who’s so sure they have it all figured out, and everyone else is fools.

So do the ideas for videos usually come before ideas for the songs? Jorma: It doesn’t usually happen like that. Usually it’s a concept for a joke, or the beat inspires the concept for the joke. But when we are writing, often times we’ll think of things that can be visually appealing or funny.

How about “Rocky,” where Andy describes a boxing match against Rocky. Andy: We’ve loved that beat forever. I just knew I wanted to use that beat so much, so it was one of those times I just locked myself in a room and listened to it over and over again until I came up with an idea. There was something about the horns. It had that kind of nostalgic— Akiva: It’s obviously a Fresh Prince-style song. Andy: Yeah, but it became that after I started writing, because initially it was more—it just became funnier when we made it Fresh Prince. Originally, it reminded me not literally, but almost in a sort of a vibe sense, of the Rocky theme, or like a sports anthem. So I started writing it that way, but was shying away from making it full-on Fresh Prince, because Kiv had already done one kind of like that on our website.

Do you make your music with the intention of transforming them into Digital Shorts? Akiva: It happens all different ways. An SNL week, it’s all about the Short. If it’s the summer, when a lot of these songs were made, then it’s like, Maybe it will be eventually, but right now it’s all about making a funny song for the album. We’re always thinking about the video, but it doesn’t mean there ever will be a video. Is there another song off this album that will appear on the last 3 weeks of SNL? Jorma: We always hope to do videos for them, just because they make them so much funnier. Something like “Threw It On the Ground” is only funny when you’re seeing the video. Andy: I think that song could be funny without the video. Akiva: It better be, because it’s our album!

What about “Creep”? Andy: That was another one that was inspired by the beat. Kiv just started doing the dance.

So it sounds like you guys are inspired by the music a lot. Akiva: A lot of the times, but for “Dick In a Box,” Jorm just came up with the kernel of the bit, and then we designed the beat around it from scratch. On the new album, “No Homo” was a full concept we had and then we went a found the beat that we liked for it.

In light of recent events, did you consider taking “Japan” off the album? Andy: We did, but it was too late. It was already locked. We talked about. Akiva: The song is a love letter to Japan, but we didn’t want anybody to misconstrue it in light of things that have happened. Andy: It was written out of us wanting to take a trip there. Jorma: We still hope to go there and shoot the music video for it, because the whole point of that song is the possible video for it. Andy: The joke is at the expense of our record label. Obviously everything that’s happened there is very tragic, and we are hoping that we’re going to be able to talk about it enough that for anyone who does take it wrong will know we recorded it before anything happened. Akiva: I think anybody who hears the song won’t take it wrong. It will just be somebody looking at the word, and going, Whoa, they shouldn’t be joking about that. Andy: We are planning on making a donation to the Red Cross immediately, based on the record.

Who are you dream hosts for SNL? Jorma: Who hasn’t been on the show? Akiva: Tom Cruise? Jorma: For me it would be someone who just came to the show, not as a host, but Pee Wee Herman. Andy: Mel Brooks, that’d be crazy. Jorma: Larry David?

What about Jerry Seinfeld? Andy: That would be awesome. Akiva: He hosted once before we worked there. Andy: He came and did “Really!?” with Seth. I’d love for him to come back and host.

The Lonely Island Wanted “Japan” Off Their New Album

As the comedy rap trio The Lonely Island, Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer have mocked everything from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to having sex with your best friend’s mom. Nothing seems off limits for these SNL 9 to 5ers, whose Digital Shorts are the only sure thing on the show. But on their sophomore album, Turtleneck & Chain (out May 10), a song called “Japan,” about “three cool white friends in Japan,” took on unfortunate and unintended undertones after the series of disasters that rocked the nation last month.

Like most Lonely Island songs, “Japan” is one extended joke. Over sunny synths, the boys sing about their dream trip to Japan, which they hope their label will pay for. (Sample lyric: “Here we are at our five star hotel, the one from Lost in Translation.”) But yesterday, they revealed to us they would have removed it from the track list, if the album’s packaging wasn’t already “locked” when the earthquake struck on March 11. “It’s a bummer,” says Samberg, “because it was written out of us wanting to take a trip there.” Schaffer, who calls the song a “love letter” to the country, said “It’s a very positive song about Japan, but we didn’t want anybody to misconstrue it in light of the new things that have happened.”

They said they hope to talk about the song enough so that people who do hear it, or even see “Japan” on the tracklist, won’t take it the wrong way. “Obviously everything that’s happened there is tragic,” an uncharacteristically serious Andy Samberg added. “And we’re planning on making a donation to the red cross immediately, based on the record.”