"Lazy Sunday" is a song and short video by American comedy troupe The Lonely Island. It was released on December 17, 2005 when it was broadcast on Saturday Night Live as their second Digital Short. Primarily performed by Andy Samberg and fellow cast member Chris Parnell, the song and accompanying music video follow the two comedians as they eat cupcakes from the Magnolia Bakery, buy snacks at a convenience store, and smuggle the food into a Sunday afternoon matinee of The Chronicles of Narnia.
The song was written by Samberg and Parnell, as well as Lonely Island members Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone, in one night. They recorded the following night in the comedy troupe's office and shot the music video around Manhattan two days later using a borrowed camera. After being quickly mixed and edited by Schaffer, the short was approved for broadcast on the next evening's telecast of Saturday Night Live by producer Lorne Michaels.
Although the writers initially worried the studio audience would respond to the short negatively, the video received a positive reception and enjoyed Internet stardom overnight, with multiple bootleg copies surfacing on video-sharing website YouTube, catapulting the awareness of the then-fledgling website. The song and video brought forth positive critical reception, with many hailing it as a revival for the stagnant series. In retrospect, commentators have named "Lazy Sunday" as one of the best Saturday Night Live moments of the 2000s.
The track "Lazy Sunday" and its accompanying music video follow the two cast members (Parnell and Samberg), who adopt the brash personas of hardcore rappers. The song follows their quest to achieve their "ultimate goal" of attending a matinee of the fantasy film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The lyrics involve subjects that are "anything but hardcore," such as eating cupcakes from the Magnolia Bakery, searching for travel directions on MapQuest and buying tickets with $10 bills. Samberg described the lyrics as "two guys rapping about very lame, sensitive stuff."
Schaffer and Taccone had been on the writing staff for nearly three months, yet to this point they had only two live sketches that survived the dress rehearsal process and actually made it on air.
Parnell, Samberg, Schaffer, and Taccone wrote "Lazy Sunday" on the evening of December 12, 2005. They recorded the following night in the office The Lonely Island occupied together using a laptop Taccone bought on Craigslist. While colleagues were rehearsing and rewriting that Saturday's show, the group spent the morning of December 15 shooting their video with a borrowed camera. The video used the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in Chelsea to stand in for a multiplex cinema and Taccone's girlfriend's sister, comic Emily Heller, to play a convenience-store clerk. Schaffer spent the entire next night (into the morning) editing the video and working with technicians to bring it up to broadcast standards. In the moments preceding the show's live performance and broadcast, the team learned from Michaels that "Lazy Sunday" would be shown on that night's show. The three comedians were very worried about how the video would be received by the studio audience.
The short had its premiere on Saturday Night Live (season 31, episode 9) and received a positive response. "It played really well, and we were just super happy about that," said Samberg. The video aired during the actor's first season on the show, when he and the comedy troupe were little known to even Saturday Night Live's most devout fans; Samberg reported that the video greatly increased his recognizability "overnight". "It captures a certain scrappiness about the show. There's an unpolished realness to it that I think people can instantly relate to," said Saturday Night Live veteran Amy Poehler. By the following morning, the video was a national cultural sensation. Schaffer and Taccone also were contacted by friends who heard the track played on radio stations and in bars. "Lazy Sunday" inspired a line of T-shirts, released during the initial boom of popularity in the weeks after its release.
The short was initially available after its broadcast through the iTunes Store (then known as the iTunes Music Store), made free for subscribers. Additionally, it was posted to several web sites and shared via e-mail. The video was viewed more than five million times on YouTube before NBC Universal asked the site to remove it, along with several other copyrighted NBC video clips, in February 2006. NBC later placed the short on its SNL site and Hulu.
Entertainment Weekly put it on its end-of-the-decade "best-of" list, saying, "the hallowed genre of 'white dudes rapping about mundane stuff' reached new heights of hilarity with Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell's 2005 ode to an afternoon viewing of The Chronic—what!—cles of Narnia."
On May 19, 2012, Samberg and Parnell collaborated on "Lazy Sunday 2", which starts off similarly to the first one, with more modern references such as Siri, and seeing Sister Act on Broadway instead of Narnia. In the break between verses, the song is dubstep instead of the regular instrumental like in the original. However, in the middle of a song, Samberg and Parnell transform the song into a darker dubstep mafioso rap song. Samberg used Lazy Sunday 2 to bring a close to his time on SNL, with the final lines referencing how the first Lazy Sunday had been the opening chapter of his celebrity, and the sequel was how he would end his SNL tenure. "On these New York streets, I honed my fake rap penmanship. That's how I began, and that's how I'mma finish it!"
Thanks to "Lazy Sunday"'s initial iTunes success, Apple announced they had licensed several archived Saturday Night Live sketches to offer for download in January 2006. The success of "Lazy Sunday" encouraged Michaels to trust the troupe more and push their material onto the show. The viral success of the video is widely credited as having been the tipping-point for YouTube's success, as it spawned dozens of response videos. These included a West Coast response by actor Mark Feuerstein, an English response by comedian Sam Baron, an Australian response about lawn bowls, as well as Lazy Muncie (which defended the honor of the Midwest) and Lazy Ramadi by two US Army SSGs based in Ramadi, Iraq.
In "The Merger", an episode of the television series The Office, Michael Scott makes an orientation film called "Lazy Scranton" for the Stamford employees who were transferred to Scranton. Starring Michael and Dwight, the video uses the same music, rap style, and camera effects used in the "Lazy Sunday" video.
In the feature film Epic Movie, the character Captain Jack Swallows (a reference to Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise) breaks out in a rap called "Lazy Pirate Day"; the song is reminiscent of "Lazy Sunday" both visually and musically. Swallows is played by Darrell Hammond, a long-time performer on Saturday Night Live.