It’s that time of year again where many of us are waiting for TBS to air A Christmas Story on repeat for an entire day. No matter what you believe or what you actually celebrate this time of year (or if you’re a curmudgeon like me and yell at people in parking structures that walk to their car just to put something away while they’re holiday shopping), Christmas movies, TV specials, and albums are largely comprised of an “old guard” dominated by Disney, network TV, and Mannheim Steamroller.
Especially in regards to comedy at this time of year, there’s pretty much A Christmas Story, a bunch of traditional Christmas specials for kids, and, for some reason, Bad Santa. If you ask me, that’s more of a Greek drama then a Christmas movie. Yes, the holiday season episodes of most sitcoms such as the Office and even Funny or Die’s Drunk History Christmas are worth repeated views, but what are the comedies that we all forgot about mostly because A Christmas Story was starting again?
Consider the following 8 hilarious Christmas comedies as the presentation from the Ghost of Christmas Really Underrated and/or Unheard/Unseen Comedy:
1. One of the best Christmas specials ever is, without a doubt, Blackadder’s Christmas Carol. One of the smartest and funniest British TV series ever, starring, oddly enough, the man who played Mr. Bean, Rowan Atkinson takes Charles Dickens’ classic tale A Christmas Carol and completely flips the moral of the story in trying to rule the entire universe. Also, Robbie Coltrane plays a drunkard Christmas ghost.
2. Maria Bamford made her own homemade Christmas stand-up special. Yes, this is real, and it doesn’t even cost $5 like Louis CK’s Live From the Beacon Theatre.
3. Some of you have heard the legend and some of you know that it is not a legend whatsoever, but an all-too real catastrophe. Of course, I’m talking about The Star Wars Christmas Special that not only combines the two disparate story paradigms of Christmas and Star Wars, but also features Jefferson Starship. It’s a “Best/Worst” type of Christmas for all.4. Recently, comedian Tim Minchin was commissioned to write a song for The Jonathan Ross Show. After its taping and great reception, it was subsequently cut from the broadcast and only now uploaded to YouTube by Tim Minchin himself. The delightfully, absurd song was entitled “WoodyAllenJesus”, which is hardly anywhere near as filthy or challenging as the South Park Christmas episode, which included satanic animal sacrifice.
5. If you’ve never seen an Ernst Lubitsch movie, now is certainly as good a time as ever to see a cinematic master work: the so-called “Lubitsch touch” in the holiday romantic comedy The Shop Around the Corner. Consider it the other Jimmy Stewart holiday movie that’s a whole lot funnier.
6. In this 1968 video from the pre-Python TV series Do Not Adjust Your Set, traditional Christmas cards and images get the Terry Gilliam treatment. I don’t think we need say any more than that.
8. Folks the world over are probably sick of hearing “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” or, if it is in a relative’s possession, the Jimmy Buffett Christmas album, as it’s supposed to be kind of funny. Luckily the hilarious players of Lost Moon Radio have come to save funny holiday music with their album, “It Had To Be Yule”. With the fantastic mix of sketch and musical comedy that Lost Moon Radio is known for, it’s a Christmas album that you’ll likely play outside of December (or July for those happy-go-lucky Christmas in July people).
As the Ghost of Christmas Really-Underrated-and/or-Unheard/Unseen-Comedy, I hope that you’ll enjoy putting up with your family more with this list and maybe not think of what I forgot because (spoiler alert) I’m actually not a ghost and therefore cannot travel back in time to watch and listen to every holiday themed comedy movie, TV special, album, comedy sketch, etc. ever. Just try and enjoy the holiday season for once.