Andy Samberg Confirms He’s Leaving Saturday Night Live

Andy Samberg speaking at Harvard (AP)

As was rumored, Andy Samberg confirmed to the NY Times that he is indeed leaving Saturday Night Live after seven years. “It’s an incredibly emotional and strange moment in my life,” he said in a telephone interview. “obviously it’s not a huge shock, but I did officially decide not to come back.” While he didn’t get a tearful goodbye like fellow departing member Kristen Wiig, he did get to go out with two huge Digital Shorts: the star-studded SNL 100th Digital Short, and the sequel to his first viral hit, “Lazy Sunday 2.” Watch both below.

Samberg said leaving was “one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made,” but he was counseled by Wiig: “she kept saying it just feels like it’s her time. I connect with that. Something about it just feels like it’s the moment. my contract’s up and I did so much more than I ever thought I would ever even do.” He also left open the possibility of more Digital Shorts in the future: “That’s the kind of thing that I really do hope happens,” he said.

Those Digital Shorts are what propelled Samberg and his comedy troupe the Lonely Island to fame. Highlights included the original “Lazy Sunday,” “I’m on a Boat,” “Jizz In my Pants,” “I just Had Sex,” Justin Timberlake-gracing “Dick In a Box,” followup “Motherlover,” Michael Bolton-starring “Jack Sparrow,” “Natalie Raps,” “Shy Ronnie,” and “Lazer Cats.” You can watch almost all of those on Hulu, and below, watch one of our personal favorites, “Stumblin’.”

Chris Parnell previously gave some background to Vulture on the origins of Samberg’s first Digital Short hit, “Lazy Sunday:”

Yeah, well Akiva [Schaffer] and Andy [Samberg] and Jorma [Taccone], you know they had had this website already, the Lonely Island, and they had been making music videos and stuff for the site, so they came to SNL with the skill set already. they had seen the raps I had done previously so they came to me and said, “Hey, we want to try and do a rap and do you want to do it with us.” And I said, “Yeah, of course, absolutely.” So the four of us sat down in their office and wrote it over the course of a Monday and Tuesday and recorded it that Tuesday night, went out and shot it all on Thursday. Akiva was doing the camera work and Jorma was sort of doing everything else, holding the playback of what we recorded on Tuesday night and just sort of running around new York shooting it. That was my involvement with it.

And then Saturday night, I got to see what they had come up with, what they put together and it was just crazy. it got a really nice response from the audience and I was like, “Ah, that was gratifying, that was fun.” I knew they were going to post it to their site, I didn’t know that it was going to be posted necessarily to YouTube, I don’t think. That was the last show before Christmas and I went back to Memphis for the holidays, and I was there with my family and I got a call from Marc Liepis from NBC publicity saying, “Hey, the new York Times wants to interview you about this music video, it’s become this thing,” and I was like, “What?” I really had no idea, that was my first hint that it had become a phenomenon.

Below, check out a behind-the-scenes look at the Digital Shorts and how they started:

As for what’s next for Samberg, he has two movies coming out this summer: That’s my Boy and Celeste and Jesse Forever. And below, you can also watch Samberg’s recent commencement speech at Harvard (which included a Nic Cage impression):

Andy Samberg Confirms He’s Leaving Saturday Night Live

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