40 Lonely Island Digital Shorts That Aren’t Songs, Ranked
Watch enough Lonely Island shorts, especially the ones that aren’t parodies of music videos, and you start to pick up on recurring motifs: Random violence. Random nudity. Random discomfort and embarrassment. More random violence. And that’s why they’re awesome! Here’s our official ranking of 40 of Lonely Island’s most hilarious digital shorts — non-musical variety…
This short features a one-joke premise. Unfortunately, it’s not a particularly funny one.
Fred Armisen can’t stop munching on complimentary cookies, which somehow morphs into a poop joke.
Hey! (Murray Hill)
James Franco is at a party and has a tiny ding-dong. There, now you don’t need to watch it.
Jam the Vote
After a bite of a spicy hot dog, Andy Samberg pukes on the people he’s trying to convince to vote. How much you laugh depends on how funny you find vomit. (You should vote either way.)
In a variation on the Lonely Island random violence trope, Armisen stars as a fast-food manager who threatens extreme brutality instead of simply delivering kicks to the crotch. Turns out, actual comic violence is funnier.
Laser Cats 2
Like many sequels, the charm of the original is diminished by inserting the creators’ political views. Pew pew!
The Japanese Office
Does Ricky Gervais' acknowledgment that “it’s funny because it’s racist” excuse its racism? You make the call: Sly, subversive commentary on cross-cultural adaptations, or just plain wrong?
This recut of Mel Gibson’s movie trailer is only really funny if you know the actor’s aversion to Jews. (If you do, it’s pretty hilarious.)
Elliot Page has a series of waking nightmares with no real payoff other than “that was weird!”
If we were creating a time capsule and inserting one Lonely Island short to represent the fellas’ body of work, this would work as well as any. All you need to know: Jonah Hill gets repeatedly nailed in the nads by tennis balls (including shots from John McEnroe and a ghost).
It’s not the Jordan Peele flick — just Armisen accidentally and repeatedly walking in on Samberg when he’s dropping a deuce.
A day in the life of Brian Williams, including his Zen meditation practice overseen by Bono. It’s always funny to see a serious news anchor poke fun at himself, but that’s diminished by Williams spending an entire SNL episode doing the same thing.
People Getting Punched Right Before Eating
This is Lonely Island distilled to its essence: A series of randos (including a few famous ones like Jon Bon Jovi) getting socked in the kisser.
Samberg, Will Forte and Seth Meyers enjoy an outdoor lunch, trying to identify people who could pass as their twins. Forte and Meyers spot Samberg’s — it’s dirty, homeless Horatio Sanz. Since the two are indistinguishable, how will Forte and Meyers decide which one to shoot?
Therapist Jane Lynch inserts herself into Samberg’s relaxation visualizations. This one has all the Lonely Island touchstones — extreme personal humiliation, off-putting nudity and the requisite kicks to Samberg’s junk.
A simple but effective Usual Suspects parody, featuring a mad Kevin Spacey (before we knew what a piece of shit he was).
Laser Cats 5
If James Cameron can take Avatar: The Way of Water to $2 billion at the box office, why not try his hand at Laser Cats? Bonus points: A badass special appearance from Sigourney (Ripley) Weaver.
Steve Martin and Forte meet at the intersection of Casual Conversation and Making Out.
Another entry in the “violence in everyday places” canon. Recommended for people who want to see Dane Cook taking shots to the face.
The one that started it all, based on a timeless premise: What if cats could shoot lasers out of their frickin’ mouths?
There’s not much of an idea here — Rainn Wilson asks his management team how to cut a company’s budget in half — but it scores comic points thanks to the participants around the conference table, including Mountain Joe, an invisible man and a talking turkey sub.
Virgania Horsen’s Hot Air Balloon Rides
Kristen Wiig scores as the supremely awkward Virgania. Part of us wishes there would have been even more Horsen shorts, but it’s probably best that they left it at two.
Laser Cats 3D
3D glasses not included.
A SWAT team commander dates Megan Fox. He also raises lambs. Do you know how hard it is to slaughter those precious little things?
Jonah Hill Dating Andy’s Dad
We’re trying to decide if this is actually funny, or if we’re just shocked by Hill’s commitment to the makeout scenes. As he confesses to Samberg, Hill’s relationship with his dad “has gotten extraordinarily physical.”
Laser Cats 4 Ever
The best entry in the Laser Cats series? If so, thank Steve Martin for his creative thumbprint, pitting Hader and Samberg vs. Cyberface. Could their longtime foe be the family they’ve been searching for all along?
Extreme Activities Challenge
It’s Samberg v. Wiig in a series of supremely silly contests, including Shoe Hands and Act Casual.
It’s the usual suspects at the house party, including three Jokers, a cereal rapist, two mother fuckers, a turd burglar and some numbnuts.
Hey, it’s Megan Fox again! She’s invited Samberg over for a movie night with her roommate, Optimus Prime. Let’s just hope we don’t run into Brian Austin Green…
Virgania Horsen’s Pony Express
Hate the post office? Virgania has you covered. Simple and hilarious, right down to the spelling of Virgania.
Brenda and Shaun
Brenda and Shaun are ready to bring the enchantment to a birthday party near you. An almost unrecognizable Drew Barrymore makes the magic happen.
Everyone’s a Critic
Samberg and Paul Rudd paint each other in the nude, causing audience members at an art auction to (trigger warning) inflect copious acts of comic self-harm.
It’s like Twilight, but with Taylor Swift and outsider Frankensteins.
Sometimes, simple premises are the best. Samberg does gotcha! “man on the street” interviews to prove that just about any random pedestrian is smarter than Andy Samberg.
The Shooting AKA Dear Sister
The fact that this is a very specific parody of an OC episode that most people probably haven’t seen just elevates the whole thing to genius.
Maybe you didn’t know this was a Digital Short since there’s no Samberg, Hader or other SNL cast members, but it’s a Lonely Island masterpiece. Revealing the dark side of well-known Nice Guys always works, and Peyton Manning nailing disadvantaged kids with laser passes never fails to disappoint.
Helen Mirren’s Magical Bosom
Can we touch them?
More clever than most Digital Shorts, with less reliance on comic violence and more on 1990s infomercial parody. Drew Barrymore shines (with perspiration) as friends Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig and Amy Poehler lead us through a low-intensity fitness workout. An awesome way to align your chakras and oxygenate your blood.
Grandkids in the Movies
For some senior citizens, the movies can be darn confusing. So it’s grandsons to the rescue, digitally inserted into famous movies like The Transforming Robots to reduce the chaos. Who wants strangers in their movies when you can have Kevin and Thomas waving, “Hi Grandpa!” They’re good boys. So go ahead and “buy the DVDs my wife made.”
After Samberg accidentally steps on a sacred talisman, he’s cursed with sexy saxman Sergio (a never-been-better Jon Hamm). Great wackadoo premise with a fully realized climax. Noice!