On NBC's Saturday Night Live
, Justin Timberlake played a mascot for a vegan restaurant waging a turf war against an irate sausage slinger. As a giant piece of singing and dancing tofu, Timberlake rapped about his love of kale, quinoa, and tofu mayonnaise. In between veganized renditions of "Freak Out," which became "Veg Out," and "Ice, Ice, Baby," which became "Brown Rice, Baby," the tofu mascot repeatedly urged his meaty opponent to "Bring it on down to Veganville!" in a corny Vaudevillian voice.
Rihanna's lyrics ("Yellow diamonds in the light
" and "We found love in a hopeless place
") became "Yellow quinoa in the light
" and "We found love in a meatless place
," as Timberlake spun around in his tofu suit, his facial expression ecstatic while a white strobe light flashed down upon him. With a reference to the pig-centric movie Babe
, he was able to bring the sausage slinger to veg-consciousness before launching into a colorful, spirulina-fueled "Vegan Harlem Shake."
The video may be nothing more than a hilarious skit, but vegans everywhere are rejoicing and sharing it like it's a world-size plate of sweet dairy-free, egg-free macaroons. Why is it such a big deal? JT (who some sources report is a vegetarian) portrays vegan eating as healthful, hip, hot, and humorous, but not in a ridiculous way. His character doesn't flinch or drool at the fat sausage man's offer for a frank. It gives veganism mainstream exposure with a beloved superstar at the center, even if his head is sticking out of a not-very-appetizing grayish tofu costume. Big props to the SNL
writers and to Timberlake for pulling it off with such funny finesse. Follow Short Order on Facebook, on Twitter @Short_Order, and Instagram @ShortOrder.