It’s a shame that the go-to funny Christmas songs are Elmo and Patsy’s “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” and, even worse, John Mellencamp’s “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” There’s nothing particularly risqué or clever about either, which is why we’ve included nine Christmas-themed songs that are actually humorous, and don’t feature a man who used to go by the nickname “Cougar.”
“Christmas in Jail” by the Youngsters
This is one of those songs that actually isn’t funny – it’s about a guy who gets pulled over for drunk driving on Christmas – but because it begins with laughing, presumably at the party, followed by the lead singer of the Youngsters singing, in the deepest voice imaginable, “Christmas in jail, Christmas in jail, had a little too much to drink/Ain’t got no bail, ain’t got no bail, and I’m spending New Year’s Eve in the clink,” you just have to laugh. The lyrics of the song “I got rocks in my head/I wish I was dead” don’t match the actual sound of the song, which is downright cheerful. If delivered the right way, even tragedy can be funny. Speaking of tragedies:
“Hooray for Santa Claus” by Kids Singing Crappy Song Written by Milton DeLugg and Roy Alfred
This song plays over the opening and ending credits of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, one of the worst movies ever (hence the tragedy segway), leading to the inevitable Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment in 1991. This is the most unintentionally funny Christmas song ever, only because it’s so damn annoying (and yet I can’t stop listening to it). The kids singing are consistently shrill and often out of key, and the horn solo is almost too-good-to-be-true lame. My favorite line: “Hang up that mistletoe/Soon you’ll hear ho ho ho.”
“Must Be Santa” by Brave Combo
Although Mitch Miller originally recorded the song in 1961, Bob Dylan chose the arrangement done by Brave Combo for his 2009 album, Christmas In the Heart. It’s easy to see why: humor has always been one of Dylan’s most underrated talents as a songwriter, and Brave Combo’s “Must Be Santa” is lively and hilarious. Instead of simply counting off Santa’s eight little reindeers, like in the original, Brave Combo (and Dylan) change it to, “Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon/Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton.”
“Monster’s Holiday” by Bobby Boris Pickett
From the same man who wrote “Monster Mash” comes “Monster’s Holiday,” which is basically the same song as its Halloween counterpart. Why mess with perfection? This time, though, the no-good monsters were to kidnap Santa’s sleigh, but once he gives them their gifts, including a speed shaver for the Wolfman, but the song takes an unexpected when Santa begins singing with a vampire’s accent.” So, did Dracula kill Santa, or has Santa been a vampire all along? Explains the coming at night part.
“Buckwheat Christmas Chorale” by the Bob and Tom Show
No, the Bob and Tom Show isn’t a band; it’s actually a syndicated radio comedy show that’s been around since 1983. One of Bob Kevoian and Tom Griswold’s greatest skits is only about 15 seconds long, but it features eight Buckwheat’s, from The Little Rascals, singing a Christmas song. It’s truly – you know what’s coming – otay!
“Kung Fu Christmas” by National Lampoon
Composed by Letterman musical director Paul Shaffer and performed by David Hurdon, Gilda Radner, and Christopher Guest, “Kung Fu Christmas” first appeared on 1978’s Greatest Hits of the National Lampoon. It’s a fake soul song about a boy living in Queens whose only joy comes from the jolly man in a “pimp-mo-sleigh, a red and white fur suit.” When Christmas Eve comes with its last minute bustle, “Santa tells the elves, ‘You gotta do the Hustle’.”
“Christmas at Ground Zero” by Weird Al Yankovic
Clearly, I’m a fan of Weird Al’s work, and while “The Night Santa Went Crazy” (2.2 million YouTube views) gets most of the attention, I actually prefer “Christmas at Ground Zero” (55,000). For years, I felt guilty listening to and laughing at the song, though, for obvious reasons. Not that I’ve made you feel uncomfortable, I’ll add that the song’s actually about nuclear explosions, a much funnier topic.
“I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” by the Three Stooges
Because “hippopotamus” is a funny word (and sorry if by saying it, I made you think of Rob Schneider and Big Daddy). As long as we’re talking about animals and Christmas, let’s go to the greatest Christmas song of all-time:
“Jingle Bells” by the Singing Dogs
These dogs were no one-hit wonders. Dolly, Pearl, Caesar, and King are best known for their barking take on a Christmas classic, but because producers/geniuses Don Charles and Carl Weismann, working from Copenhagen, didn’t want their to work to be only associated with the holiday, the B-side to “Jingle Bells” (which originally was part of a medley also containing “Pat-a-Cake” and “Three Blind Mice,” but was later edited down) was “Oh Susanna.” The record was released in 1955, selling over 500,000 copies, and the dogs would also go on to record “Hot Dog Rock ‘n’ Roll” and “Hot Dog Boogie” with a new member, Pussy. They even toured at one point! In the years since, many animals and humans alike have tried to top the Singing Dogs, including the knock-off Jingle Cats, yet none have succeeded. Ball’s in your court, Singing Guinea Pig.
The Singing Dogs are Josh Kurp’s Beatles.