Though I know it’s not true, I still wonder if Lorne Michaels didn’t know the popularity of the Chronicles of Narnia rap until he read about it in the New York Times story today. The Times story covers the video’s viral success, along with mentioning how the Lonely Island dudes have used the Internet from the beginning to build their careers. (Particularly in building other rap parodies - see Just2Guyz, My Pants, Kablamo and The Bing Bong Brothers on their site.) The account of its production also makes it sound a bit like it was outside the usual gut-wrenching process SNL goes through - did it even have to be table read? Is that what it takes?
I take a different tack than the New York Times story, which makes it sound like the short was written to be aggressively nerdy. Like rappers who’ve write about the dangerous experiences they’ve had, I get the feeling that the Lonely Island guys spend their Sundays refueling for SNL by going to a movie and indulging their sweet tooth. They keep true to who to they are, which makes the bit all the funnier, rather than any exaggerated dorkiness. They just contrast their lives against a hardcore music style. (Similar thoughts play out in this Village Voice article, which talks about the merits of Chronicles as rap.)
I think a lot of the passion and excitement for the video comes from the goodwill people still have for SNL. They want it to be good. When they get something that inarguably funny, it brings all the feelings of the first time they discovered the show. I doubt SNL will ever be cancelled, with its history, it’s only a few sketches away from turning from an institution into a “beloved” institution. Chronicles is one. Now, what else you got?