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2008-09 TV Shows Reviews

A Colbert Christmas

A Colbert Christmas on DVDBoth a biting satire of the genre and a future standard bearer, A Stephen Colbert Christmas rings in the holiday season with abundant laughter and more musical merriment than you've seen since the golden age of TV Christmas specials. Not since the debut episodes of South Park and The Simpsons has there been a show that tweaks the holy day traditions with the just the right amount of sugar and spice to become a true classic.

As a musical performer Stephen Colbert truly rises to the challenge, he's an innate singer and dancer who strikes the perfect chord with his manic prancing and, lo and behold, the original songs are extraordinarily funny, each one is a gem.

This production has all the trappings of the old-school television holiday shows, opening with Stephen, clad in traditional sweater and sherpa boots, huddled in his mountain cabin writing new songs for his Christmas special. But a ferocious bear outside the door keeps him from getting to the studio where Elvis Costello is holding down the fort. That doesn't stop special guests Toby Keith, Willie Nelson, John Legend, Feist, and Jon Stewart from stopping by with holiday greetings and some wicked tunes.

It's been more than 20 years since I added a carol to my Christmas playlist but Colbert's opening number, 'Another Christmas Song,' easily fits the bill, a sassy, brassy caricature that wins you over with it's sheer audaciousness.

Conservative country artist Toby Keith delivers a thoroughly irreverent musical ultimatum for those who don't enjoy Christmas to the fullest (I smell a top ten hit) promising a bloody outcome for any Santa haters.

Then, Willie Nelson gets so high that Stephen hallucinates (!) that the country singer is part of his miniature nativity scene. Willie has a present for the baby Jesus - some kind bud ("that smokes more sweetly than either Frankincense or Mir") and a song that asks mankind not to "bogart love."

Jon Stewart warbles his comical homage to Hannukah before R&B singer John Legend's metaphorically sexy ballad exalting the virtues of his favorite holiday spice, nutmeg. Indie folk singer Feith's heavenly vocals underscore a devastatingly funny message from the angels that will leave you amazed.

In the finale, Elvis and the rest of the cast join Stephen for the only non-original song on the show, 'What's So Funny About Peace Love and Understanding,' before Santa (played by Cheers' George Wendt) shows up to kill the bear and save the day.

You will be on the floor laughing at this hysterical spectacular, the catchy tunes will knock around in your head for days. It's an all-out absudist affair; both cutting and affectionate, irreverent and reverential. Not unlike the holiday itself. Every performance is impressive; Elvis Costello is especially noteworthy, who knew he could be so funny?

I couldn't wait to watch this a second time, A Stephen Colbert Christmas is a rollicking, rocking yuletide special that will be enjoyed year after year, every Holiday season.

The DVD contains some hilarious extras like the Book Burning Yule Log for those of us who lack a fireplace, 3 alternate endings, and a bonus song. There's also a video Advent Calendar where Stephen counts down the days in December until Christmas with daily 'devotionals'.

A portion of the profits from the DVD and iTunes downloads go to the Feeding America charity so this makes a great stocking stuffer.

One sad note -apparently, the Jonas Brothers were killed making this special.



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Stephen Colbert Christmas on DVDA Colbert Christmas

Actors: Elvis Costello, Willie Nelson, Jon Stewart, Toby Keith, Stephen Colbert
Format: Color, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC
Language: English
Region: Region 1
Number of discs: 1

Studio: Comedy Central
DVD Release Date:
November 25, 2008
Run Time: 43 minutes

Product Description:
America’s favorite Christmas tradition is now on DVD! Families have gathered around the TV to enjoy Stephen Colbert’s Christmas specials every year since 2008. Now you can experience the joy over and over! Join Stephen and his friends – Toby Keith, Elvis Costello, John Legend, Feist, Willie Nelson, and Jon Stewart – for a yuletide evening of song, dance and nog-induced dementia.


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