Friday, April 28, 2023

Remembering Departing Host James Cordon's Christmas Carpool Karaoke

I don't often watch late night TV, or any broadcast TV for that matter. But I do try to keep up with what's on as a matter of general interest, and I know that after eight years of hosting CBS' The Late, Late Show, James Cordon is leaving the program this week. I really enjoyed Cordon's predecessor, Craig Ferguson, who retired from the show in 2015, but I can't say I've tuned in since Cordon took over. I do, however,  enjoy watching what is perhaps the show's most popular feature on YouTube. It's called Carpool Karaoke, and it involves Cordon and various celebrities driving around, chatting and singing together. The segment was launched in 2016 when Cordon picked up singer Adele for a taped drive around London during which they sang excerpts from several of the songs from her three hit albums. Cordon subsequently picked up (or was picked up by) numerous other celebrities, including Paul McCartney, BTS, Bruno Mars, Michelle Obama and Barbra Streisand.  The segment with Stevie Wonder got off to a bit of a rocky start when the blind singer arrived to take the host for a drive, but things turned out fine after Cordon took the wheel. 

To mark Cordon's departure as host I'm posting one of the several Christmas-themed Carpool Karaoke episodes Cordon put together, this one featuring Reggie Watts and a variety of other guests singing "Joy to the World." Ready for a little Christmas in late April?

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Drunk Uncle Has Some New Year's Resolutions

As the curtain comes down on 2022, many of us will be making resolutions with an eye toward improving 2023. Drunk Uncle has some resolutions of his own, which he tries his best to describe to Weekend Update's Seth Meyers:

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Philomena Cunk on the Wonders of Christmas

I'm crazy about Diane Morgan, the British actress who plays Philomena Cunk, the dim-witted and ill-informed host of a series of outrageously funny mockumentaries. I've just discovered one dealing with the origins and evolution of the celebration of Christmas. Enjoy!

Monday, December 26, 2022

This Year's Boxing Day Horror Show Makes You Feel Worse than a Trip to the Gym

It's December 26 — the day after Christmas, or what the nations that formerly made up the British Empire (and a number of other countries, too) call Boxing Day. The holiday is named for the custom among the British aristocracy of providing service workers and the underprivileged boxed gifts of household items to clear room for the many new gifts that had been received the day before on Christmas. Over time, Boxing Day became less about gift-giving and more about an extra day off. Stores and other businesses remain closed on December 26, and people tend to stay home with their families to enjoy the good feelings kindled during the preceding two days. There's lots of laughter and fellowship and plenty of leftovers to share, and everyone benefits from an extra day away from the cares of everyday life. Boxing Day never quite caught on here in the United States, Here, the 26th of December typically means a trip to the mall to return the gifts we didn't like, and maybe picking up an extra helping of fried dough or something.

I like the idea of extending the Christmas holiday myself. Families should be allowed to stay together an extra day as the food and refreshments run out and the fun of opening presents has ended. Let everyone stay cooped up together as they're running out of clean clothes and the hangover of overspending on gifts begins. In that spirit, we started a fun little tradition ten years ago called the Boxing Day Holiday Horror Show. It involves posting a perfectly dreadful holiday movie to allow folks to really wallow in the after-Christmas blues. There's no better way to double-down on the feelings of guilt and angst that typically overwhelm us anyway on the day after Christmas.

This year's horror show is called Santa with Muscles, a 1996 feature starring Hulk Hogan and (sadly) Ed Begley, Jr. (whom I usually like). Hogan plays a conceited millionaire with a fitness business who runs afoul of the law and dons a Santa suit at the mall in an effort to evade the police. Ordinarily in movies, this is where the fun begins, but there's no fun to be had here. As one of the more favorable reviews of the film explains, this movie is

[b]ad, bad, bad, BAD. With the possible exception of Santa and the Ice Cream BunnySanta With Muscles is not only the worst Christmas movie ever made, but it is one of the worst that could be made … ever. Weighing in at a whopping 2.4 at IMDB and ranked in the bottom 100 movies of all time, you know it is going to be beyond terrible, and it was. Nothing other than actually watching this 97 minutes of Hell can prepare you for how incompetent this movie actually was.

So find a comfortable place to sit, grab a big hunk of fruitcake and do your best to endure this year's Boxing Day Horror Show:

Need still more punishment? Why not revisit some of our previous horror shows, But be advised that Santa with Muscles is a five-star Academy Award winner compared to most of the films below:

Sunday, December 25, 2022

The Time When a Draft Dodger Visited the Bunkers for Christmas Dinner

As a child of the '60s and '70s, I've always appreciated Nick at Nite and TV Land for celebrating the television fare I grew up with. I don't watch much TV of any type these days, and I didn't watch a whole lot after about the 10th grade. But I do enjoy the old shows, which take us back to a simpler time and provide a virtual escape from today's challenges. 

A few years ago, TV Land put together its Top 10 Holiday Moments from the shows of the classic television era. Included in the list were moments from The Andy Griffith Show, Sanford and Son, Cheers and several TV specials including The Andy Williams Christmas Show and A Charlie Brown Christmas. The list also included an especially emotional episode of All in the Family, which featured a Christmas visit from a friend of Mike Stivic's who was dodging the draft in Canada:

It's worthwhile remembering that the deep divisions we see among Americans today are not wholly new. We've had divisions before. However, we seemed to have enough in common to overcome or at least overlook the divisions of the past. It seems different somehow, today. Perhaps we can look to the holiday spirit to put things in some perspective and agree that there still is much more that unites us than the things that divide us.