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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Satire > Music > Holiday > TV > A Colbert Christmas – The Greatest Gift Of All! (2008/Comedy Central DVD)

A Colbert Christmas – The Greatest Gift Of All! (2008/Comedy Central DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C+     Main Program: C+



Steven Colbert continues his climb as the funniest, wittiest and most outright satirical figure on TV today, now a rarity in a TV (and now digital and HD landscape) that has become the wasteland it was once wrongly accused of being.  As if to emulate Bing Crosby or Andy Williams, as if they were fans of The Sex Pistols whose Egg Nog was spiked with crystal meth (or something like it) comes A Colbert Christmas (2008).  This darkly humorous send-up of classic Christmas specials is also an annihilation of the last few generations of bad ones since the 1980s.


You know you’re in for it when the front cover looks like a Christmas album Williams or Crosby would have released and the back portrays Colbert and guest stars Elvis Costello, Jon Stewart, John Legend, Willie Nelson, Feist and Toby Keith as characters in A Charlie Brown Christmas!  Running 43 minutes (i.e., for an hour-long TV slot) the show has several music numbers starting with a song and dance by Colbert and sudden singing by all the other guests, including Keith singing the kind of intolerant Christmas song about the current fantasy “plot against Christmas” only Aryan Nation could appreciate (beheading “liberals” for defending the separation of church and state, setting of nuclear blasts if mangers are not on state property, etc.) though the video footage is darkly humorous at times.


With so many of those older specials lost to time (and not on DVD) the show constantly hits a bull’s eye on how plastic and phony those “false warmth” shows could be.  This was even a cycle and ironically, only the Charlie Brown special has endured (see our DVD review elsewhere on this site) only because it is animated, a masterpiece and the characters are fictitious.


All in all, it is worth your time, and to complete the joke, you can watch it with or without an audience response/laugh track.  Let’s hope like Charlie Brown, Colbert gets to do specials for every holiday out there!



The 1.33 x 1 image was taped in the tradition of many of the live-looking specials it spoofs and looks good for that, down to colorful sets that are fun, funny and phony.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo throughout the extras and two tracks for the main program are clean and competent.  Extras include another nod to holiday silliness, the idea of a picture of a fireplace running on your TV in place of a real one.  However, this one has burning books!  You also get three alternate endings, Colbert singing Cold, Cold Christmas and a video advent calendar (video clips you can access by clicking onto what look like paper perforations over those dates to reveal something hidden, yet another clever touch) adding up to more laughs.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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