We close out this year's Holiday Music Fest with a sketch that Saturday Night Live did in 2014 to parody the famous Christmas caroling scene in the movie Love Actually with guest host Amy Adams and Pete Davidson. It got dropped from the broadcast because of time, which is a shame, since it's so fun and offbeat -- but happily they posted the dress rehearsal version online to live on.
Falling under the "Fest" part of the gala, this is a video I always enjoy for the season from the Conan show. It's about his effort to come up with a Secret Santa gift for one of his staff members. And as it's about getting a gift, this seems a good day for it.
I meant to post this a couple days ago, but...well, y'know, with the news and all...
For what it’s worth, Ed Solomon is a very good screenwriter. (Among other things, he wrote the Men in Black and Bill and Ted…” movies. I interviewed him years ago for a WGA column I did.) I only mention that for perspective. Mainly, I love his joke and the phrasing of it – and it also especially hit home because a friend took his daughter to the Santa Monica beach the other night because she wanted to get a better view of this.
I finally got around to reading Garry Trudeau's Doonesbury strip in this past Sunday’s paper. It’s just too good.
There's much I want to say, but don't want to give anything away. I'll just note that I love the matter-of-fact, meticulous phrasing of how it develops .
You can find it here online.
Okay, this is a bit weird (with "a bit" being an understatement), though really quite wonderful.
Netflix says it commissioned a fellow named Keaton Patti to run 1,000 Christmas movies through a bot and “created our own mathematically perfect Holiday film made entirely by bots.” Now, of course, it’s possible that this is just a terrible video that they created to be funny. But it’s really SO nonsensical in insignificant ways that I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s on the level. In fact, the only thing noticeably missing is a bakery, department store and Christmas tree farm. But otherwise, they've given Hallmark a run for its money...
No music here, just all Fest.
Jimmy Kimmel is neighbors with John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, and they have a holiday tradition of playing major, truly-elaborate holiday pranks on one another. Kimmel has presented video tales of some of their better ones, and here are two of them.
This first is from 2014.
And here is when took place the next year --
This is the holiday gem, the granddaddy of them all.
Tonight, we have the classic record that Stan Freberg put out 62 years ago, in 1958, that still has a freshness to it in its point from that long ago, the commercialization of Christmas. At the time, some radio stations wouldn't play it, out of concern (or threats) from offending their advertisers. But then, what a quaint thought to think of a time when they played comedy records on the radio. Let alone one that lasts seven minutes.
Here's the classic, Green Chri$tma$.
While I could arguably include this as part of the Holiday Music Fest, since it is, after all, a parody of a Christmas song, we'll just leave it in its comfortable nook. And so we have a new song parody by Randy Rainbow -- just in time for the holidays.
For my taste, it’s not great, a little thin and (annoyingly) repetitious in some of the graphics, but there are a bunch of very good things in it, and it’s fun.
We have another bonus bit of music here that is not part of our Holiday Music Fest. This is an eight-minute sketch that was done on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and Andrew Rannells called "2020: The Musical." And it's really wonderful and often extremely clever.
There are also a couple of fun, inside jokes if you know Andrew Rannells' career -- in particular that he came to fame starring on Broadway in the musical, Book of Mormon, for which he got a Tony nomination as Best Actor in a Musical. And two of the songs here are parodies from that show. One comes around the 1:40 mark, and the other is at 6:40 -- which not only is a parody of a number from Book of Mormon, but was Rannells' big solo number that he performed on the Tony Awards.
(Side note: if you've seen or plan to see the new Netflix movie musical, The Prom, he's in that, as well.)
I wish I knew you wrote this, because they did a great job. I think it stands very well on its own, whether or not you know the original songs, but even more when you do know what they're parodying. In many cases, I think most people will.
And okay, here's another bonus on top of that.
This is Rannells singing that real number, "I Believe," on the 2011 Tony Awards. The song is by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone, who won the Tony Award that year for Best Score.
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 tinny. But it's worth it.
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.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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