The Samberg Samba

Andy Samberg's got his disc in a box.

The "Saturday Night Live" star's not alone: NBC and Starbucks are counting on many others stopping in for a cup of cappuccino and comedy when "Saturday Night Live: The Best of '06/'07" DVD is released exclusively at the coffee capital of the caffeine world on Aug. 20.

Meanwhile, Samberg and the rest of his "SNL" sniggering comedians prepare for a new season — what, has "SNL" been on 5,000 years already? — late September or early October, putting them outside the box for at least another year of cool and, on occasion, crippled comedy.

Which isn't a complaint, more a reasonable reckoning about a show which prides itself on prickly comedy where white bread is off the menu in favor of wry and where good taste is oft replaced by skits that can leave a bad taste in the mouth — but a surprising attitudinal aftertaste that some find more vinegary than vituperative.

Take Samberg — which many fans are doing to their heart. A week short of his 29th birthday, looking somewhat disheveled — and here in Hollywood appearing like a weed sticking out of a well-manicured lawn — Samberg has had a short stint with "SNL," but it's his digital shorts that have made a sticking impression, notably the "D— in a Box," shot with Justin Timberlake last season, an R&B riff of a rip that turned YouTube into Everyone's Tube.

Stunt casting as stunt man? Now the boychick from Berkeley born David Andrew J. Samberg has taken the next "SNL" step, starring in his own movie, "Hot Rod," directed by "SNL" colleague Akiva Schaffer, with whom Samberg and "SNL" writer Jorma Taccone — all best buds since junior high — make up the comedy clique The Lonely Island, clicking the past seven years.

Lonely guy? Not Samberg, whose goofily good-guy-with-an-edge-of-the-devil persona permeates the Saturday-night series like a Bar Mitzvah boy exchanging his fountain pen for a copy of Penthouse at the after-party.

(As hot as he is, Samberg missed the missus when it came to last year's "Jewish Hot List" composed by Britain's, an online dating service that seemed outdated itself for not including Samberg among its hotties.)

Awright, Hot Rod — Samberg, not the movie — what's in your shorts, digitally speaking, of course? Is there a five-year-plan?

Cut the slacker some slack. "We usually come up with them in the 11th hour," says Samberg of the videos — including the acclaimed "Lazy Sunday" — which spark post-airing party talk and exchanges of "Do you believe they did that?"

Believe it; it's the Samberg samba, a dance of on-the-edge and off-the-cuff that finds him so many fans, especially for his box step. Rejuvenating or juvenile? Andy Samberg/Adam Sandler — twisted twins at birth?

"We don't have any plans," he adds in that insistent insouciant manner about future digitals for next season. Surely, a sequel to "D— in the Box" is being boxed in for the future?

"Hell, yes!" he says.

Or, then, maybe not. The closest the curly-haired comic comes to a straight answer is a promise of "hopefully, some more fun stuff" for the season.

What could be more fun than dating the pretty Padme of "Star Wars"? Natalie Portman and Adam Samberg? A Jewish mother's dream — or nightmare? The New York U. film-school grad turns the lens on the loopy and lascivious: "Pretty much every host that comes to the show we all sleep with, so it's written into the contract when you get there," he deadpans of his relationship with the sabra and "SNL" guest host.

He's been in bed with a number of his own characters over the past two seasons, eliciting laughter from his The Out-of-Breath Jogger, Kuatop, T Shane, Blizzard Man and, of course, as the co-star of the "Cats" sequel that Tennyson waxed poetic about: "Laser Cats," in which sci-fi meets silly in a world where Tabbys are tabbed for evil.

And if producer Lorne Michaels refuses to give his nine-life heroes added life in a TV series, would Samberg consider taking the project over to the Animal Channel?

"Yeah," he kids in that laid-back laugh track of a manner that has millions calling the ultra-casual-clad comic the coolest dude with the most out-of-the-box stage presents.

Any doubt? Just ask Justin Timberlake. 



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