Like a lot of TV networks, NBC was cruising along happily ignoring the Internet as much as possible, until the “Lazy Sunday” video clip from Saturday Night Live hit YouTube almost exactly a year ago and caused what I like to refer to as a “holy crap” moment in the executive suites of the broadcaster. More than five million people watched the clip in the space of about two weeks. So what did NBC do? Told the site to take it down. In other words, the stupid pills kicked in.
To someone’s credit, however, NBC rethought this move and started taking Internet distribution seriously, setting up a unit called NBBC (the National Broadband Broadcasting Co.) to seed the Web with NBC content. And that leads us directly to the latest viral video hit from SNL, the musical satire called “My Dick in a Box”, featuring Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg.
As the New York Times describes, NBC chose to put an uncensored version of the video on their site, and it is all over YouTube as well. I think it’s hilarious, and plenty of other people seem to think so too. The other skits with Justin Timberlake, including one where he plays a giant Cup o’ Soup street-corner vendor, are also worth watching, as is the segment with Jimmy Fallon called “The Barry Gibb Show.” All are available on the NBC site and elsewhere.
Like many people my age (don’t ask), I remember Saturday Night Live from way back — John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, etc. — and slightly less way back (Dana Carvey, Mike Myers), and I have periodically enjoyed newer versions of the show including such “stars” as Adam Sandler, Chris Farley and Ben Stiller. But like Ashkan Karbasfrooshan at WatchMojo, I have probably paid more attention to the show in the past year or so than I have in a decade, and that is almost single-handedly the result of Andy Samberg (and Chris Parnell, who got booted from the show in a recent purge).
Samberg, as the NYT story describes, came to SNL from a comedy troupe called Lonely Island, and brought with him several writers and producer types. Whether they have helped to boost NBC’s smarts when it comes to the Internet as well as making hilarious videos (the Natalie Portman one is also a keeper) is difficult to say, but I would argue that he has helped that network more than just about any senior executive you could name. He deserves a raise.