If I only had one piece to embed for the Holiday Music Fest, this might be the one. Stan Freberg's classic from 1958 that remain relevant, if not more so from when it was first released, "Green Chri$tma$."
This is one of my favorite sketches from Saturday Night Live” done in 1999. There are several songs in it, so happily it qualifies for the Music part of the Fest. But it would qualify regardless because, for me, it's all Fest.
I've had a difficult time tracking it down over the years, but finally found it in 2017 after nearly 20 years of searching. I had code to embed it , but for some reason that doesn't work. I did upload it below, but because it's done with a screen video capture, the sound is a bit tinny. Far better is if you click on this link here, which should bring up a player with the video. Try that first. If for some reason that doesn't work, though, check out the video below.
I swear to you that when I first saw this sketch, I didn’t know who was playing the lead “urchin” in it – in part for the hair and make-up (which is light, but enough), but in part because I was thinking about the main cast members and not at all about who was hosting that week. A few years later I saw a repeat of the show, and halfway through the sketch I almost shouted out, “Oh, my God, that’s Jennifer Aniston!” And so it is. Along with Rachel Dratch, and others. And it’s a hoot.
But other than that second viewing, I haven't see the sketch on TV since. Why on earth SNL doesn't include this in their annual Christmas Special compendium of holiday sketches over the years. It's not only one of their best Christmas sketches, it is, for me as I said, one of their best, period.
Continuing our fa-la-la medley for the season, here's a lesser-known, charming Christmas song from the fine folks over at Bid Lip Reading, "Christmas is Here!"
Continuing with our Thanksgiving celebration, this is the classic it's near-impossible to get through the day without including. It's Stan Freberg's glorious song, "Take an Indian to Lunch This Week" from his fabled album Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America. Volume 1: The Early Years."
And as a bonus, we have Freberg's explanation of how the turkey took its place on the table.
Today, we'll have a festival of sorts of Thanksgiving related pieces -- from songs to videos to old radio shows. And this is a good place to start.
I'm a big fan of Jack Benny, and have been since a kid. Perhaps I got it from my Grandma Rose who loved Benny, and I remember watching his TV show with her when little. Later, when I was at a senior at Northwestern I finally had built up enough contacts to figure out how to get access to their great radio archive -- it was like entering a wonderful, wall-to-wall recordings of old radio programs, and I was able to tape record a bunch of old Benny shows for my collection, which I still have. They're gems.
It turns out that my friend and reader of these pages, Eric Boardman -- an all-around talented fellow and Second City alum -- is quite the fan, as well. He sent me the following several months back, about the Jack Benny Show's Thanksgiving special on November 30, 1952 --
"It's no secret, I am obsessed with the Jack Benny radio show. Each night I listen to an episode on my phone as I fall asleep. (Do you conk out with a smile on your kisser?)
"Yes, I know Thanksgiving is long over, but this particular program will bring joy to any season. Today's sitcom staffers should study the construction. And everybody else should howl with laughter---and marvel at the gags radio encourages. Benny's writers are constantly surprising us with 'visual" images' And Mr. Benny generously shares the jokes with his crackerjack cast. (Thanks always to the Sportsman Quartet for making cigarette commercials satisfying.) 'The Lucky Strike Program with Jack Benny' is high art, maybe the highest of the genre.
Not long ago, Stephen Colbert finally followed up on his invitation from the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to visit the country. Given his adoration of All Things Hobbits, where the two trilogies were filmed, it was only a matter of time before he went. And last week, his show broadcast highlights each night from his trip.
One of those segments concerned his idea to interest writer-director Peter Jackson to make a spinoff series, based on a tiny cameo extra part that Colbert played in one of The Hobbit movies -- The Desolation of Smaug.
This is the result.
The Late Late Show with James Corden had another of its "Crosswalk: the Musical" sketches, this one for Frozen -- with a touch of Frozen II. Most notable, though, is that includes the all "voice stars" of the film getting to dress up in their characters' costumes for the first time.
He's ba-ack. Randy Rainbow returns with a new song, just in time for the impeachment hearings. It's fairly straight-forward on both the production and song end, but both are fun and enjoyable.
Yesterday, I wrote a piece about all the many things that Republicans on the House Impeachment Committee have been repeatedly bringing up as supposed argument, and I explained why each of them had absolutely no merit. This reminded the inveterate Chris Dunn of a column that Art Buchwald had written during the Watergate investigation. (Actually, he said it was an article that was making its way around the Internet, but since he said he had a big collection of Art Buchwald books -- as do I -- I'm going to go with him being modest and give him the bonus points.)
The thing about this article is that it's a bit more serious than most of Buchwald's columns, though it's still pretty funny. However, what most stands out is not just how terrific it is... but scary incredibly how close SO many of his points are to Republican Talking Points today. You could probably edit the piece down just a small bit and you'd think it was written yesterday. This shows both Buchwald's insight and how little conservatives have changed in 46 years -- which ultimately I guess is one of the foundations of being a conservative.
What with the Impeachment Hearings going on, I figured it was time to bring back another Comedy Against Trumpism video. I was hoping to find one done by Ukraine, but alas there is none. (Perhaps it's been withheld...) The closest I could find was one for Moldova, which borders Ukraine to the south. (You'll even seen them on a map at about the 3:15 mark.) Here, Moldova makes their case (and it's a pretty funny, self-effacing one) that if it's going to be America first, at least could Moldova be second -- especially if one likes beer.
Robert J. Elisberg is a two-time recipient of the Lucille Ball Award for comedy screenwriting. He's written for film, TV, the stage, and two best-selling novels, is a regular columnist for the Writers Guild of America and was for the Huffington Post. Among his other writing, he has a long-time column on technology (which he sometimes understands), and co-wrote a book on world travel. As a lyricist, he is a member of ASCAP, and has contributed to numerous publications.
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