The Lonely Island: Incredibad

Did Saturday Night Live honcho Lorne Michaels save his show by annexing the comedic talents of The Lonely Island? It's probably too soon to say, but there's no question that Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone and Andy Samberg have, in recent years, injected SNL with much-needed cultural cachet — the trio's bizarro Digital Shorts reliably guarantee media headlines and water-cooler conversations. For multimedia package Incredibad, the trio cherry-pick the best of their music-video shorts and throw in some extras. In most cases, their pop spoofs are capable of provoking hysterics without visuals: the Euro-techno impotence of "Jizz in My Pants" is a hyperactive gas, and ­trustifarian-mocking reggae "Ras Trent" actually hits harder without optical stimuli. Similarly, the T-Pain-assisted "I'm On A Boat" — a direct descendant of Chris Rock's immortal 1998 Bad Boy send-up "Champagne" — is so gleefully over-the-top that hearing T-Pain brag about bagging a mermaid is funnier than watching T-Pain rap next to a mermaid. Stripped of Samberg and Parnell's Beastie Boys grimaces and ridiculous parkas, however, "Lazy Sunday" wilts, and "Natalie's Rap" simply demands an apoplectic Natalie Portman swearing at the camera in documentary black-and-white. Still, anyone who can con Strokes front man Julian Casablancas into singing "Everyone was wearing fingerless gloves / I saw a Spanish guy doing the Bartman" through an Auto-tune filter — as he does on the overprocessed hook of "Boombox" — pretty much deserves all the riches and adulation fate can muster.
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Ray Cummings