Monday, 21 December 2015

Christmas Carol Parodies

That cartoon of course reminds me of the classic Marx brother’s sequence from “A Night at the Opera”

Chico Marx: Hey wait, wait. What does this say here, this thing here?

Groucho Marx: Oh that? Oh that's the usual clause, that's in every contract. That just says, it says, 'If any of the parties participating in this contract are shown not to be in their right mind, the entire agreement is automatically nullified.'

Chico Marx: Well, I don't know.

Groucho Marx: It's all right, that's in every contract. That's what they call a sanity clause.

Chico Marx: You can't fool me, there ain't no sanity clause.

But Christmas also reminds me of carols, and of parody carols, of the kind we used to sing at school. Probably the most popular parody was:

While Shepherd's washed their socks by night,
All seated round the tub
The Angel of the Lord came down
And they all began to scrub.

As television began to dominate the living room in the 1960s, this was updated as follows:

While shepherd washed their socks by night
All watching ITV
The Angel of the Lord came down
And switched to BBC

And of course with the Swinging Sixties, there was a parody of “We Three Kings…”:

We three Beatles of Liverpool are,
John in a taxi, Paul in a car,
George on a scooter hooting his hooter,
following Ringo Starr.

Meanwhile, the commercial side of Christmas also was apparent in the parodies:

Ding dong merrily on high,
In stores the tills are ringing:
Ding dong! Profits reach the sky
And filled with with owners singing.
Gloria, Bonuses in excelsis!

This next parody, however, shows the shape of things to come, with the larger stores squeezing out the smaller shops:

God Rest You poor small businessmen
Who've managed to survive;
Be glad in this e-con-o-my
That you are still alive;
Give shouts of praise at Christmas time
When folks who buy appear;

There's a'll break even for the year
For the whole year
There's a chance that you'll break even for the year

The chain stores and con-glom-er-ates
Have brought you to your knees;
High taxes, rent and labor costs
Have caught you in a squeeze;
The cost of goods keeps going up
Inflation's running on

So give can buy cheap from Taiwan
Good old Taiwan
So give thanks that you can buy cheap from Taiwan!

But one I had not seen before, and one I like a lot came from Mike & Tracy Kazaleh, and is to be sung when the family pet decides that the expensive Nativity set in the living room is something to play with. It is a brilliantly inventive parody of "Away in a Manger..":

Away from that manger, you bad pussy cat!
You've spilled the Lord Jesus and knocked Mary flat;
You've scattered the shepherds and likewise the sheep
Away from that manger -- those things don't come cheap!

Away from that manger, you dirty old dog!
If you must chew something, go chew the yule log;
Don't dare lift your leg! now I'm warning you here
Or we won't hang a stocking for Fido this year!

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