Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Conan O'Brian (and Jewschool's) response to Senator Hatch's Chanukah Song

One of the biggest bits of internet buzz this Chanukah season was Senator Orin Hatch's Chanukah song. (See my post from last week.) The buzz hit prime time last week when Conan O'Brian and his The Tonight Show gang played a clip and then sang a song that was supposed to celebrate of Church of Latter Day Saints founder Joseph Smith's birthday, but mostly, humorously, pointed out how little they knew about Mormons. The song, which which mixed melodies of Driedel and Maoz Tzur, was a gift from Max Weinberg, Tonight Show band leader and the show's only Jew.

According to recent a JTA article, the idea for the song actually came from everyone's favorite progressive left Jewish blog, JewSchool. "Larry Yudelson posted a query to his fellow Jewschool.com contributors wondering if “there are any special Mormon holidays for which we can return the favor?” In response, Jewschool managing editor Alana Suskin mused, “Wouldn’t it be off the charts funny to do a [Jewschool] holiday song for Mormons?" They knocked around some lyrics online and then "occasional Jewschool contributor and full-time “Tonight Show” writer Rob Kutner recognized a funny idea when he saw one."

Their song is funny and terrible (both on purpose) , unlike Sen. Hatch's which is mostly funny and terrible by accident.


Anonymous said...

I liked the Senator's song.

Jack said...

Dovid, I'm glad. And you're not the only one. It definitely has a following. Personally, I found it to be entirely and immediately forgettable.

Anonymous said...

Jack - I think what I liked about it was its earnestness and energy. It doesn’t have as catchy a riff as Day Tripper, but I can hear my 6 year and 3 year old catching on to parts of the melody pretty quickly. I’ll be sure to put it on cd for them for next year, i’yH.

And it’s pretty cool that a songwriting U.S. Senator who’s not Jewish wrote it, and wears a little mezuzah case (I guess) around his neck. Hey- we should beam it into Iran – a Mormon singing a Chanukah song praising freedom of religion.

Jack said...

I agree that it was cool that Sen. Hatch, a Mormon, wrote it and that it was a nice interfaith gesture. As a few folks have commented (on the facebook feed of this blog), it would be even nicer gesture if the Mormon community promised to stop doing retroactive conversions of dead Jews into dead Mormons. Sigh.