Thursday, December 22, 2011

SCTV Christmas magic...Liberace, too!

Hooboy. It's Christmas time, isn't it? (Audible groan from my side of the monitor.)

I hate to be the Grinch before he repented, or the lump of coal in your stocking, but sometimes this season just goes on so long I feel that rather than Christmas being a holiday from the rest of the year, it's vice versa. This year it got upped a day, with the shopping (Black Friday) crowding into Black Thursday, so retailers could get more of our money.

But one thing Christmas does is create good video. The SCTV Television show of 30 years ago had some really fine sketches with Christmas themes, maybe some of their best sketches ever, and that's saying a lot. I consider SCTV to be one of the best comedy shows ever on television.

Catherine O'Hara does a bit as one of the bawdy comediennes of another era in "Sexy Christmas with Dusty Townes," featuring Andrea Martin as Solid Gold dancer Marcie Odette. The tall male dancer is Juul Haalmeyer, lead of the "Juul Haalmeyer Dancers." Haalmeyer was actually the show's costume designer, and his dance troupe was a running gag. "Woefully inept" is a quote someone made of the Juul Haalmeyer Dancers. John Candy plays Divine, then the most famous drag queen in movies (Hairspray and Pink Flamingoes). Both Divine (the real one) and Divine John Candy are now gone, unfortunately.

Martin Short created bizarre characters, including the totally off-the-bizarre-scale Ed Grimly, but also the singing albino, Jackie Rogers, Jr. Eugene Levy is the unfunny comedian Bobby Bitmann, who as one writer observed, "Brings insincerity to a new level of sincerity."

Last, this isn't an SCTV bit, but Liberace was almost a caricature unto himself. This is a clip from his 1954 Christmas special, featuring "Lee" himself. I remember watching this with my mother. Liberace had a regular television show at the time and I remember the candelabra, "my brother, George," and Liberace's flamboyant gayness being rich territory for comedians.

My usual disclaimer: should one of the above videos have a black screen it's because YouTube has pulled it for one reason or another. I hate it when that happens, but it does.


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