I can’t believe it’s almost Christmas and unlike past years, I haven’t written a single anti-Christmas post. What’s going on? Have I finally grown a human heart? I think that a) the travails and triumphs of my son, Charlie, born a year and a half ago at 1.4 lbs. and now a robust 24 lbs., have made me more positive in general, and 2) I’ve completely removed myself from the part of Christmas that makes me nuts–the high-stress consumer orgy. I actually was in a mall this morning with Charlie (mostly to get out of the incessant L.A. rain) and it was like being in another world. Looking at the array of brand spankin’ new stuff, I felt like a recent immigrant from some Iron Curtain country, I was fascinated by the abundance (but still didn’t want to buy anything). But I’m glad for our economy that at 9 am the mall was already filled with real shoppers!
The truth is, even back when I was writing posts with titles such as “Stamp Out Santa,” it was clear that on some levels I’ve always been a sucker for the holiday–at least in terms of pop culture, and the sappier the better. I feel lucky that I grew up during the heyday of Christmas-themed television, from the annual visits from the Crosby and King families to those Rankin-Bass favorites, Rudolph and Frosty, to the inspirational charms of Charlie Brown and the Little Drummer Boy.
Yesterday on Facebook, our friend Jane Wilson, herself a brilliant actress and incredibly funny woman, was kvelling over the talents of Catherine O’Hara, remembering the Christmas specials of her character, Lola Heatherton, on the 1980s classic, SCTV. It all came rushing back, not that it ever completely left me. Every year at this time, I can be found singing one of Lola’s Christmas hits:
Baby, baby, my heart’s freezin’, boo-hoo-hoo,
I’m all alone I got no love this season, boo-hoo-hoo!
Boo-hoo-hoo, I’m cryin’ my eyes black and blue.
Ding-dong-ding, all I want’s a wedding ring!
But why am I blathering on? If you haven’t seen it, behold the magnificence that is Catherine O’Hara:
Did you catch a young Martin Short as one of the Juul Haalmeyer Dancers? I can’t mention SCTV Christmas without showing a clip from another Catherine O’Hara gem: Dusty Towne, based on the bawdy “adult” comedienne Rusty Warren (featuring John Candy as Divine!). Oh my God.
And while I’m at it, even though Hanukkah is over, I have to share a clip of O’Hara with my other favorite SCTV performer, the amazing Andrea Martin, celebrating the Festival of Lights on Libby Wolfson’s Hanukkah special. This clip features several lines that I’ve repeated every Hanukkah since the early 80s!
While SCTV’s production values were crude compared to today (in fairness, they were supposed to be simulating a low-budget TV network) the show was so consistently hysterical that it made the uneven SNL seem about as funny as The Oral Roberts Show.
Many of the SCTV alums, including Catherine O’Hara, have been appearing in Christopher Guest’s wonderful films over the years, but I hope Jane Wilson fulfills her dream of writing a screenplay for the woefully underused O’Hara.
Now don’t forget, Lola Heatherton wishes you such a merry Christmas, it’s SCARY! And, of course, she wants to BEAR YOUR CHILDREN!