“Can I Interest You in Hanukkah?”

This article in today’s New York Times on interfaith families celebrating the December feasts reminded me to put up the clip of Jon and Stephen’s duet from the Colbert Christmas special. I found it interesting that most of the couples interviewed in the article were Jewish and Catholic (as are Jon Stewart and his wife). Or maybe not all that unusual given the New York demographics…..

I love this song. It’s quite possibly my favorite from the special. Although I don’t think it’s quite fair that it focuses on the secular aspects of Hanukkah and the religious aspects of Christmas. But then that’s an underlying issue in this whole crazy time of year. Culture, commercialism, family traditions and religious roots get all jumbled together.

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The Greatest Gift of All

Stephen’s Christmas special premiered Sunday, November 23rd, and I’m sure Comedy Central will have it in regular rotation from now until Christmas. It’s also available on DVD with extras such as an Advent calendar of clips and a Yule log/book burning fireplace for your TV. In two days I’ve discovered that it’s one of those shows that gets funnier with each viewing. The first time I was a bit off-balance, not knowing quite what to expect. It’s like a Russian doll of nested parodies: the years of TV Christmas specials, bits familiar from the Report (bears, the War on Christmas), and all the guest musical stars parodying themselves. Stephen’s children have a small cameo.

Commercialism, multicultural sensitivity, the weird secular attempts to find meaning apart from religion–predictably nothing is sacred, including the sacred. At one point Stephen starts a seemingly heartfelt prayer and then throws in the line, “First time pray-er, longtime fan.” Canadian indie singer Feist’s number “Please Be Patient” combines angels and overworked customer service operators. But while it may cross a good-taste line from time to time, it never strays into the offensive.

Comments welcome! I think it lives up to its hype.

I’ll add some clips in the next few days, but at the moment I’m having trouble with the embedding code. It looks like they’re all up at the Colbert Nation site.

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone! For your holiday viewing pleasure, here’s the clip of last year’s Easter Under Attack. The Gospel According to Cadbury. My favorite Easter clip, “The Wørd: Marketing” seems to be having some technical difficulties on the new Colbert Report website, but we’ve got 50 days of Easter so I’ll keep trying to retrieve it.

Merry Christmas!

Word is that The Colbert Report will be back on the air in some form as of January 7. I’m feeling more curiosity than enthusiasm for the somewhat truncated return. We can hope for a Christmas miracle to settle the WGA strike, which would mean the writers would be back as well. As the strike approaches 50 days, the impasse in the negotiations is increasingly frustrating. So many marvelous opportunities in the news that Stephen hasn’t been able to cover. Imagine, if you will, his take on this story.

Till then, I leave you with this card, which showed up a while back on No Fact Zone, via The New York Post’s Page Six.

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All Hallow’s Eve

I’m getting a jump on tomorrow’s holiday with some clips from past shows. The Holy Grail here is the show where Stephen reputedly reminded his viewers that the day after Halloween was a holy day of obligation and they better get to church. If anyone knows where I can find that clip, please let me know.

In the meantime, here’s a clip from the new Daily Show website, a past episode of the segment Even Stevphen:

And from one of the shows earlier this month, the War on Halloween:

Finally, a search of Comedy Central turned up a lovely (though unembeddable) clip comparing Halloween and Ramadan.

Now, here’s hoping for some new Halloween material tonight or tomorrow night, although that treat may be overshadowed by the “trick” of the impending Writers Guild strike. The contract is set to expire on the 31st.

Much more on the roots of Halloween, as well as All Saints and All Souls here.

Stephen’s Jewish Friends

As I was finishing up the preparations for my university debut, I came across this clip from last fall, and it seemed appropriate in light of interfaith reactions to Summorum Pontificum. Stephen has his own brand of Catholic-Jewish dialogue. As we’ve come to expect, he handles other religions with intelligence, class and a healthy dose of humor, much as he does his own Catholicism. We’ll have to wait till next week to see if Stephen has his own reaction to the Motu Proprio.

Here’s Jon’s response:

Christmas in July

Now that the 4th of July is over, it won’t be long before the stores begin getting ready for Christmas, so I’m just a little ahead of the game.