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Six Cynical Songs for a Silly Season

Silver Linings #11

Hello, and welcome back to Silver Linings where I plow through the maligned, the forgotten, the silly, and the subversive.

I enjoy Christmas. I don't go crazy over it like some others do; I do that for Halloween. I still enjoy it, though. However, I am very much a non-traditionalist. Giving gifts is one thing; listening to an endless marathon of traditional Christmas songs is something else. Like many people, I had gotten thoroughly sick of the numerous versions of the same typical Christmas songs that the easy listening stations play from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day. So, as my little gift, I'm giving away a few tracks that I always play when I'm dodging the insane shoppers this time of year. I've always enjoyed dark comedy; so, these songs have a cynical edge that get me laughing every time.

'Chanukah Song' - Adam Sandler

When it comes to cynical comedy, you don't have to look much farther than Happy Gilmore himself, Adam Sandler. The highlight of many of his live shows is his "Chanukah Song." This song about pointing out the many famous people who don't celebrate Christmas is not only quotable as hell but is also highly adaptable. To date, Sandler has done four recorded versions of the song to point out the numerous famous Jews. I get a kick out of the song even though I don't spin a dreidel for "eight crazy nights."

'Christmas at Ground Zero' - "Weird Al" Yankovic

This is what happens when a record label pressures "Weird Al" into recording a Christmas song.  You get the apocalypse.  The best dark comedy is the stuff that goes WAY over-the-top, and that's what Al does with this hilarious tribute to Cold War paranoia. It may seem in bad taste to listen to a funny song about nuclear annihilation in today's current political climate, but I say, "Screw it; Al won't be denied."

'Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer' - Elmo & Patsy

When it comes to cynical Christmas music, this one is basically the grandma of the genre (pun fully intended).  Elmo & Patsy basically invented the idea of dark jokes at Christmastime. Though the song itself isn't as funny as the others on this list, I'm fully convinced that the other songs on this list would never have existed without this memorable case of vehicular manslaughter.

'The Night Santa Went Crazy' - "Weird Al" Yankovic

Yeah, I'm putting another "Weird Al" track on the list; sue me. This story song about Kris Kringle cracking is one of the funniest things I had ever heard in my life, and I'm NOT exaggerating! Just like with "Christmas at Ground Zero," Al continues to get more and more outlandish as the song goes on until it reaches absurd levels of gory detail, and I can't stop laughing the whole time.

'Rusty Chevrolet' - Da Yoopers

Spoof songs are a common feature when it comes to funny Christmas music, and "Rusty Chevrolet" is one of the first I had ever heard. This twisted take on "Jingle Bells" is funny enough on its own, but it gets a lot more mileage (ugh) when you've grown up around car mechanics your whole life. Even the accordion solo is goofy enough to be charming.

'The Twelve Pains of Christmas' - Bob Rivers

There is no shortage of warped takes on "The Twelve Days of Christmas," but this one is, by far, the funniest. It's also the one that's the most identifiable. Everyone has experienced these annoyances at Christmas, after all. The funniest thing is how the lyrics change with each verse. Listen to the aggravation guy #2 has with "rigging up the lights" each time his part comes up.

I know I left off some other songs that fit the bill. Which are your favorites? Let me know, and Happy Holidays!

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