Fuck “Lazy Sunday”
For those of you blessed to have missed this particular episode of Things That Piss Vince Off, lemme fill you in. “Lazy Sunday” is a short film that ran on Saturday Night Live a couple of weeks ago. It revolves around cast members Chris Parnell and Andy Samberg making preparations to go and see the movie The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. They find out when and where it’s playing, get cupcakes and snacks to sneak into the theater, and they guess the movie trivia question that runs before the film. Oh yeah, the entire sequence is rapped . . . no, that’s it. That’s the entire joke.
Yet, somehow, this thing has swept the nation, and it sure didn’t take long for me to get tired of this particular meme. They talked about it on the Today show, they’re offering it on iTunes, I’ve seen T-shirts for sale, and you can’t go online without tripping over someone saying “double true” or “crazy delicious.” Swear to God, I friggin’ hate that. These people can’t just see something and laugh. Oh no, they got to run it into the ground until I’m ready to stab them in the eye. Y’know, I’m just now simmering down about that whole “I’m Rick James, bitch,” thing, which I’m still convinced is the real reason Dave Chappelle stopped his show, and now this happens. I am thiiis close to snapping. Seriously, the next person I hear say something is “crazy delicious” is getting punched in the throat.
Yeah, I’m probably overreacting over something that’s essentially “wassup,” but you know what? I just find the whole thing vaguely racist. No, hear me out. It’s like, the very concept of Parnell and Samberg, who appear to be two suburban white guys, rapping about going to a nerdy movie is intrinsically funny. Why is that? Is it because rapping is expected to be reserved for hyperviolent, hypersexualized, and, of course, hyperblack discussion of killin’, jewelry, and, of course, bitches? There’s this whole ignorant, mostly middle-class, mostly white conceit that hip-hop is purely thuggery that has pissed me off since mostly middle-class, mostly white kids started chanting “Fuck tha police!” along with NWA almost two decades ago. This “Lazy Sunday” thing draws its humor—and, hell, Parnell’s whole rapping shtick—from that racist conceit.
What I find so troublesome is the connection between form and content that goes unchallenged, even though it doesn’t hold up to even the slightest scrutiny. A Tribe Called Quest left their wallet in El Segundo 15 years ago, at about the same time De La Soul was exploring issues of identity in “Me, Myself, and I.” J-Live, the Pharcyde, and the greatest of all time, LL Cool J, have numerous songs about love. And we’ve all decided to fall out over Kanye West’s biographical journeys of lost love, insecurity, family, and spirituality. Yet Parnell is able to don this stereotypical swagger and elicit laughter.
Of course, Parnell isn’t the first one to engage in this sort of postmodern black face. 1980s comedian Barry Sobel made a thankfully short career out of bouncing around onstage, holding his balls, and affecting a rapper persona. If I remember correctly, his comedic tour de force involved naming all the famous people he could fit into his limo. Oh yeah, funny stuff. And Robin Williams slips into it every now and then, too, when he’s riffing and doing his wacky stream-of-consciousness stand-up. Luckily, Sobel is now working the afternoon shift at the Glen Burnie Red Lobster, and Williams is, I’m sure, making a heartwarming film about the healing powers of laughter even as you read this, so neither is really an issue.
But I know how this Saturday Night Live thing works. The show hasn’t been funny for almost 10 years, and when it finds anything that works, it milks it until its bone dry. There will be more short films, the two guys will become recurring characters, and, eventually, there will be a movie. Well, fair warning: I got a hankerin’ for some throat punchin’, so keep it away from me.
812 Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201