A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All! (2006)

colbert-christmas-the-greatest-gift-of-all-special-review
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

A great mock-up of old celebrity holiday specials

Nothing

TV Show Info

TV Show Name:  A Colbert Christmas:  The Greatest Gift of All!

Studio:  Comedy Central

Genre(s):  Comedy/Seasonal

Release Date(s):  November 23, 2008

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

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If you’re good Santa will bring it to you!

It is Christmas and Stephen Colbert is planning a huge Christmas special starring Elvis Costello, the Jonas Brothers, and goats dressed up like reindeer.  When Colbert is trapped in his cabin by a bear, he desperately tries to find a way to the studio.  Visited by Toby Keith, a vision of Willie Nelson, his friend Jon Stewart, forest ranger John Legend, the angel Feist, and Santa Claus (George Wendt) himself!  Will Colbert get his wish for a perfect Christmas Special?

Directed by Jim Hoskinson, A Colbert Christmas:  The Greatest Gift of All! is a spin-off Christmas special from Stephen Colbert’s Comedy Central show The Colbert Report.  The special originally aired on November 23, 2008 and (as the special itself makes abundantly clear) is available on DVD.

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Everybody must get stoned!

I love Stephen Colbert.  I love his dry humor and pokes at politics by playing a complete right-winger.  The special is a great throwback and reminds me of other classic TV specials that were popular in ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s (heck, even Bob Hope did specials into the ’90s).  The style and tone of the special gets it completely right.

Holiday specials were always ridiculous and Colbert plays that up with the “story” of A Colbert Christmas:  The Greatest Gift of All!  The “bear trapping Colbert” is trite and it is intentional.  Plus, you get the random celebrities able to stop by and sing a song.  It of course ends up with everything turning out alright…the perfect ending to a holiday.

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That’s right…we’ve got to do a Hanukkah song…

The show has a great blend of guests.  You have your country star with Toby Keith, your “legend” with Willie Nelson, your R & B singer with John Legend, a hip-new singer in Feist, and a singer who is actually part of the plot in Elvis Costello.  Plus, you get Colbert’s cohort Jon Stewart (doing the obligatory Hanukkah song) and George Wendt playing Santa.

The visuals are very cheesy, but all the specials were.  Soft focus and rack focus dominated the shows and here they are loaded into the special.  The super-imposed scenes with Feist and Willie Nelson were common in the old style and you also had horrible costumes like the bear and Elvis Costello’s bad costumes.

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Have a Merry Christmas…everyone!

The specials were always showcases for music.  Here, Colbert makes the point of saying that you have to pay royalties so he avoids “real music” so all the music is new.  You can even tell where Colbert copied classic specials like Crosby and Bowie for example in his song with Willie Nelson which sounds like their Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth mix-up.

A Colbert Christmas:  The Greatest Gift of All! is a fun addition to holiday specials.  Much like Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special, the special really stands out and I think can be enjoyed in years to come because of its dated nature.  Check out A Colbert Christmas:  The Greatest Gift of All! and hopefully, Colbert will do some more holiday specials in the future.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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