There are much worse things

I love “A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All,” Stephen Colbert’s parody of Christmas specials, featuring Elvis Costello, Willie Nelson, John Legend, Feist, Toby Keith, Jon Stewart and George Wendt. The past couple of years, Comedy Central has only run this gem in the middle of the night; they did so last night, and fortunately I’d thought to look for it in advance and caught it on my DVR.

The special is not for all tastes; some would certainly be offended by Willie’s musical number, a “Little Drummer Boy” parody referencing a substance with which Willie is passing familiar. But I find the show wonderful, irreverent in the good sense of that term. Feist’s song, sung from the perspective of a call-waiting angel who tells you that your prayer is important to us and will be heard shortly, is hilarious, and Keith pokes fun at his own country conservative image with a song about the War on Christmas. I think it should be noted that the real Stephen Colbert (not the eponymous egomaniac character he plays on TV) is a devout Catholic who teaches Sunday School, or used to.

The entire cast (save Stewart and Wendt) sings a cover of Costello’s “What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love and Understanding?” which you think is going to be the finale. But the special actually ends with this, a really lovely duet between Costello and Colbert:

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
A Colbert Christmas: Colbert/Costello Duet
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