Leave it to Stephen Colbert and friends to come up with a Christmas special that is completely irreverent, strangely traditional, and introduces a handful of new holiday songs that will have you screaming with laughter. As it says on the box, “Families have gathered around the TV to enjoy Stephen Colbert’s Christmas specials every year since 2008.”
Like all good Christmas variety specials, our host is sitting in his living room by his homey fireplace (aka a DVD of a burning log on the TV). Stephen would really like to go out, but there is a bear outside his log cabin threatening to eat him. So what better to do in such a situation than to invite all your friends over instead? Yes, of course John Stewart pops by, cute in blue and white, discussing the glories of Hannukah (while trying not to bust out laughing). Plus musical pals like Elvis Costello (offering “There Are Much Worse Things to Believe In”), Willie Nelson (earnestly singing “Little Dealer Boy,” about the three wise men… and, of course, pot), Toby Keith (doing “Have I Got A Present For You,” a hilarious all-American ass-kicking ode), and, well, Feist as an angel, singing the least memorable holiday original “Please Be Patient”.
But for me, the show-stealer, hands down, is John Legend. The soul crooner shows up at Stephen’s front door working a park ranger uniform (HOT!), then sits down at the piano to sing the sexiest Christmas song, well, EVER. Get a taste of “Nutmeg”:
The only residue I want you wiping off your face
Is my nutmeg
You’ll be happy that you ate it
MMMmmmm, yes you will
So just grab my seed and grate it
It’s my nutmeg
(It’s his nutmeg)
(His sweet nutmeg)
Oh, dear, is it warm in here? Whooooooo!
And what else do you do when you have Elvis Costello in the house, even though he’s been eaten by a bear? Why have a group sing-along of “(What’s So Funny ’bout) Peace, Love And Understanding” (Whoooaaah ohhhhh!)
The DVD includes a few extras, like a book burning Yule log (where you can see a screen-sized cozy fire stoked by books tossed on for fuel), a couple alternate endings (to eat or not eat Elvis?), and a goofy video advent calendar, where you click each of the numbered days of December for a little video quip from Mr. Colbert. And, to his credit, a portion of the proceeds of the sales of the DVD go to the charity Feeding America. Now, that’s the holiday spirit! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to give John Legend a call and see if he’ll bring over some of his sweet, sweet nutmeg….