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TV/DVD Review: ‘A Colbert Christmas’

[IMG:L]In A Colbert Christmas (airing Sunday at 10/9c on Comedy Central; in stores two days later), Stephen Colbert injects a little satire into the traditional, snooze-inducing Christmastime musical, the kind that Perry Como made infamous some time ago. Unfortunately, even Colbert Nation — of which yours truly is a proud citizen — will be forced to concede that there’s nothing all that special about this special.

Colbert Christmas would’ve actually benefitted from more spoken skits and less sung ones, because as a musical it just lacks a certain Colbert-ness. That’s not to say the songs, performed by Colbert and a host of famous singers (and Jon Stewart), aren’t often funny, but they do get a bit old, as all parody-type songs tend to. 

Colbert plays himself — and by “himself” I mean the faux conservative pundit we know and love — so excited for the holiday that he’s “sporting a Yule log.” There’s one problem, though: He’s stuck in his cabin because of a grizzly bear just outside his door, and barring some Christmas miracle he won’t be able make it to his Colbert Report Christmas special in New York City, where Elvis Costello and others anxiously await his arrival.

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One by one, celebs show up at his cabin to help cheer him up — and perform satirical songs. First comes a rifle-toting Toby Keith, who sings about the war on Christmas.

Next, Willie Nelson appears in Colbert’s mini nativity scene and performs “Little Dealer Boy,” naturally. He is followed by The Daily Show’s Stewart, who tries to spread a little Hanukkah cheer; John Legend, who sings about nutmeg in a most unsavory way (which is by far the show’s funniest “carol”); singer Feist, as an angel promising Colbert that his prayers will be answered in the order in which they were received; and finally Costello — in a twist ending! (And keep an eye out for George Wendt as Santa.)

Again, there’s funny aplenty as well an underlying holiday jolliness, but A Colbert Christmas isn’t quite the neo-classic it should’ve been. It’s more of a YouTube-ready collection of famous voices singing altered carols. Watchable, absolutely, and laughable, sure, but not quite on the same level as the average Report episode.

Grade: B

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