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The Twenty-Fourth Day of Mellowmas: Dr. Elmo Gets Racist

Jeff: Well, well, well.

Mellowmas Eve.

Jason: ohthankgod

Jeff: It’s the most special night of the year!

A crackling fire…a plate of cookies for Santa and his elves…and only two more songs to get through.

Jason: I’m raising my glass of non-alcoholic eggnog to you, sir.

Jeff: Hey, just curious — is that a plastic tumbler you’re drinking out of? Like, it isn’t actual glass, right?

Jason: My mom says only big boys get to use glasses.

Jeff: Okay, good. Because you may want to throw something when I tell you what’s on tap for today.

Jason: concerned stare

Jeff: Well, it’s like this.

Jason: That’s never a good way to start explaining yourself.

Jeff: We cover a lot of songs every year, and I think you and I both try and make a concerted effort to avoid repeating ourselves too often.

Jason: That’s true.

Jeff: So when I started thinking about what we should cover this Mellowmas Eve, my thoughts turned to genres, artists, and topics we either hadn’t covered in awhile or had never covered before.

Jason: I didn’t know there were any left, but okay.

Jeff: Well, one of the first things I realized was that it’s been years — years! — since we listened to a Kwanzaa song.

Jason: That’s right! That was what, 2007?

Jeff: …And another one of the first things I realized was that we’ve never, ever listened to a song by Dr. Elmo.

Jason: You make it sound like there’s more than one.

Jeff: Perhaps you’re thinking “There’s no way in hell the ‘Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer’ guy recorded a Kwanzaa song.” I can understand why you’d think that. Everyone should think that, starting with Dr. Elmo.

Jason: I’m actually thinking, “There’s no way in hell the ‘Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer’ guy recorded anything else at all.” But are you serious? A KWANZAA song?

Jeff: Yes, Jason. It’s from one of Dr. Elmo’s ELEVEN GODDAMN ALBUMS.

Jason: I admit to not doing much research on Dr. Elmo. But isn’t he….an old white guy?

Jeff:  He’s a 75-year-old veterinarian.

Jason: Seriously? I avoid that song like the plague every year.

Jeff: Most recently, Dr. Elmo released Dr. Elmo Bluegrass Christmas.

Jason: NO.

Jeff: Yes. But good news: today’s track is not from that album. It’s from 2005’s Grandma Got Remixed by a Reindeer.

Jason: Grandma Got WHAT?

Oh no.

Was this done by Rappy McRapperson?

Jeff: You might as well go ahead and throw that plastic cup now.

Jason: Actually, I just asked my mom where we keep the brandy.

Jeff: Under ‘References’ on Dr. Elmo’s Wikipedia page, there’s a link that says “‘Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer’ singer is sued.” Reading that made me happier than I can explain.

Did I mention Dr. Elmo is a multimillionaire? And that he’s played with the Roots?

Jason: I believe the multimillionaire part. You’re just making up the part about the Roots.

Jeff: It’s all true. Look at his fucking face.

Second news item on his site: “Grandma on your iPhone? Yep, there’s App for that!” Truth and beauty are an illusion, Jason.

Jason: I don’t know what to think.

Jeff: I think we’ve reached a low enough point to listen to Dr. Elmo’s “Night Before Kwanzaa.”

Jason: I don’t think this is a good idea, Jeff. Actually, I know this is not a good idea, Jeff. I feel like nothing good can come of this.

Jeff: I’m not disputing anything you’re saying.

And yet.

Jason: sigh

Jeff: Are you ready for some really bad shit to happen?

Jason: Hang on, I need to say goodbye to any chance of getting presents this year. I feel like they’re all going to be returned between now and tomorrow morning.

Jeff: Oh, look, it’s another link: “Visit Dr. Elmo’s YouTube Channel”

Jason: No thank you.

Jeff: “A one-page PDF with pictures and facts regarding ‘Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.'” JASON THIS MAN IS A MEDIA KINGPIN

Jason: This is worse than the time you disappeared into Dolly’s website.

Jeff: Dr. Elmo could buy us and have us spayed.

Nothing about the world makes sense.

Hold on, I’m buying you a copy of Dr. Elmo Halloween.


Let’s just do this. I still have presents to wrap.

Jeff: Hold on, I’m punching myself about the head and neck.

Okay, now I’m ready. Beaten physically and emotionally.

Jason: sigh

Jeff: Let’s hear what happened to Dr. Elmo on the night before Kwanzaa.

Jason: I still think this is a terrible idea. For the record.

Dr. Elmo, “The Night Before Kwanzaa” (download)

Jeff: What?

Who was that?

What’s happening here?

This does not sound like the Dr. Elmo I’ve strenuously avoided all these…oh, there he is.

Jason, I’m in pain. So far, he’s rapped “hood,” “Gucci,” and “Yanni.”

Jason: Are we in Bel-Air?

Jeff: Oh no!

Jason: “Two loves of white bread on a shelf of whole wheat…”


Jeff: He’s rapping about homicide!

Jason: Is he saying black people are whole wheat?


Jason: I….can’t.

Jeff: “Yo, got a problem?”

Wait, was he just kidnapped by a man in a full-length fur coat?

Jason: I wish you could see my face right now. This guy should run for the Republican nomination.

Jeff: Oh, but wait, here’s the heartwarming final verse. Complete with what sounded like Dr. Elmo’s version of a brief tribal Kwanzaa chant.

Oh no.

Jason: My mouth is wide open.

Jeff: Now he’s rapping “black” names.

Vittles! He fucking said vittles! AND HOMIES

Jason: speechless


Jeff: That was amazing.

Jason: I think that might be the most racist thing I have ever heard.

Jeff: I don’t know why, but I’m stunned that it exists. My wife was silent throughout the song, and when it ended, she said only “that’s horrible.”

Jason: So this track is about how he met some black people, he was visibly afraid he was going to get killed, but instead he was surprised to be invited to a Kwanzaa celebration?

Jeff: That’s exactly what this song is about.

Jason: I am ashamed. I am ashamed for Dr. Elmo.

Jeff: He and his wife were at home, minding their own business, when a black man in a full-length fur coat came and took them to the hood. And he fed them vittles and introduced them to his family, and when it was over they were all homies.

I kind of think this is Glenn Beck’s idea of how racial harmony happens.

Jason: Oh look, Santa just gave me the finger and left with my presents.

Jeff: I was going to make a joke about that possibly being Dr. Elmo’s fur-coated Kwanzaa Man, but I’m too sad.

Jason: Who told Dr. Elmo this was a good idea?

Jeff: The animals?

Jason: He must live in an all-white town. But I’m not going to his website to find out.

Jeff: Dr. Elmo lives in Novato. It’s a small California town. And yes, as of the 2010 census, it’s 76 percent white.

Jason: hangs head in shame

What’s even worse is that YOU bought this track. You gave Dr. Elmo 99 cents.

Jeff: In my exteremely limited defense, once I saw the words “Dr. Elmo” and “Kwanzaa,” I assumed it would be perfect for Mellowmas — and casting aside the awful music and worse lyrics, it kind of is.

Jason: I can’t imagine a single listener feels good right now.

Jeff: I mean, what’s more Mellowmas than an old man desperately clinging to his little bit of fame by regurgitating old ideas for the holidays?

Jason: I don’t know, but I can get Lifton on the phone to find out.

Jeff: ZING!

Jason: Well, folks. There you have it.

Jeff: Yeah, um…there it is.

It’s Dr. Elmo.

Jason: Not much else to say, is there?

Jeff: Words fail me, old friend.

Jason: I feel empty inside.




Jeff: It’s always darkest before the Mellowmas dawn, Jason. I sense redemption on the horizon.

Jason: This is the part where the entire Peanuts cast comes out and yells, “HAPPY MELLOWMAS EVE, JASON HARE!” And then Bob Dylan’s version of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” plays?

Jeff: Except Charles Schulz is dead and DR. ELMO IS STILL MAKING RECORDS.

Jason: There is no God.

There is no Santa.

There is only Mellowmas.

Jeff: This is our “Han Solo in carbonite” moment, folks. Tomorrow: Ewoks.

Jason: I have to go to sleep now. I’m going to pull the covers up over my head and hope against all hopes that something awesome happens tomorrow.

Jeff: Ooh, that makes me wonder if the Ewoks ever recorded a Christmas album.