Thursday, December 5, 2013

It's Saturday Night Live!

Saturday Night Live has been a comedy institution for decades. Although it waxes and wanes in
popularity, no one can deny the show's ability to bring great comics into the spotlight and enable them to become big stars. SNL always tries to stay current by poking fun of what is going on in the world at the time, so it is no surprise that they feature holiday themed skits frequently. Some of my favorites are Christmas themed.

One of the earliest skits I have gotten a lot of laughs from is the Christmas episode of Consumer Probe. Dan Akroyd plays Irwin Mainway, president of Mainway Toys who make what the interviewer believes are unsafe toys for children: “It’s broken glass, you know, it sells very well as a matter of fact. It’s just broken glass... You know, look, the average kid, he picks up broken glass all over anywhere, the beach, the street, garbage cans, parking lots, all over the place in the big city. We’re just packaging what the kids want.”He does his best not to laugh as he delivers his absurd lines with pomposity and shows the audience that "Johnny Switchblade Adventure Punk" and "Teddy Chainsaw Bear" are no less dangerous than a plastic telephone or a foam ball.
An excellent re-occurring skit features Eddie Murphy. Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood is a take-off of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, only Mr. Robinson is poor and lives in a dangerous neighborhood. “Another reason Mr. Robinson likes Christmas so much is because I have so much in common with Santa Claus. We both like to sneak into your house late at night, only Mr. Santa Claus likes to leave things. Mr. Robinson likes to take a few things every now and then.” He plans to make knock-off Cabbage Patch dolls (during the time when they were impossible to find in stores) by sticking real cabbages on the heads of dolls. 
The episode when Elijah Wood appeared in 2003 is excellent. Most of the skits are Christmas
themed, from an aging choir boy rivalry to the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy guys making over Santa to Versace selling designer eggnog, and Wood is hilarious. My sister and watched this episode over and over after it aired and laughed every time. Interestingly, the choir boy skit was filmed twice. I got the live version on tape, and my sister recorded a syndicated broadcast. The jokes come off better in the first version, and it is painfully obvious that some of the pieces of the skit were re-recorded because sometimes Keenan has a beard and sometimes he doesn't.
This episode also has a hilarious John Mayer impression by Jimmy Fallon, who performs a new holiday song on the Weekend Update segment. He "blah blah blahs" into the microphone, practically licking it with a horribly distorted face to the tune of Mayer's "Clarity" which he had performed on the show only two months before. It is brief and unexpected and hilarious.
Of course, who can forget the Martha Stewart Topless Christmas Special or the Schweddy Balls skit? There have been many "Best Of" collections released over the years with multiple Christmas compilations, but no single collection could contain all of the worthwhile sketches performed on Saturday Night Live during the holiday season.
RADIO: Cinnamon Bear “Presto the Magician”, Jump Jump and the Ice Queen “unknown title”, Jonathan Thomas and his Christmas on the Moon “The Dragon With Thirteen Tails”

MOVIE: Elf is a fun movie that almost instantly became a classic Christmas film once it was released. It features Will Ferrell’s mischievous but innocent humor as an elf who loves Christmas more than any other time of year, and whose sentiments are catching. His experiences working in a department store are great and conjure up lots of memories. It’s a visual feast too. Christmas decor is on display in every setting and the vibrant colors illustrate Buddy the Elf’s vibrant enthusiasm. From his addiction to sugar to his penchant for decorating, Buddy is a hilarious character whose antics will keep you smiling long after the movie is over.
SONG: “Snowball” by Jimmy Fallon 
GIFT MEMORY: Every year for Christmas, my grandparents got all of the kids a stocking filled with various items, mostly hygienic in nature. Sometimes we got mini-packs of tissues, occasionally we got Tic-Tacs, other times we got Chapstick. But every single time, we got toothbrushes. The one thing we could count on year after year was a toothbrush and a miniature tube of toothpaste to keep our teeth white and our breath minty fresh after indulging in all of our Christmas sugar. It got to be so routine that I didn't think much about it, but my cousin Megan always made jokes about how she didn't need to guess what she was going to get for Christmas because she knew she was getting a toothbrush. So my grandpa played a joke on her. All of us got our usual toothbrush except for Megan. Megan got a plastic dish-washing brush that looked very much like an enormous toothbrush with a tube of toothpaste taped to the handle. My grandpa said that it was a big toothbrush for Megan's big mouth. Then he tossed her her real toothbrush.

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