Preview the first track of the Andrew McIlvaney Christmas Album.
Christmas means many things to many people. To us at the Rubber Chicken, for example, it means nothing. Much like the Jews of the field and the Blacks of the air, we adorn ourselves come December in the colors of our own dark festival.
This storied ritual, known to the billions of people who celebrate it every years as Saint Crispin’s Day, is that time of year when families come together to exchange gifts and celebrate the yule-tide cheer that powers us through the remaining eleven months of every gruelling annum.
Saint Crispin’s Day is the Christmas of media-hijacked religious holidays, and via the soft-padded alternate universe of our podcast, we now invite you to have a nibble at the ceremonial moose-head, stuff some gifts in your kids’ shoes, and wring in St. Crispin’s with us like the heathen kings of old did.
We would have invited you to do this on December 25th, but people were busy for some reason.
Andrey Summers, Tim Morrison, Fiona Revill, Michael Cope and “Dave”.
with Brett Cullen, Alastair Craig and Gord Myren
Written and compiled by Andrey Summers
Additional editing by Alastair Craig
Continue reading for episode commentary
Season 2, Episode 6 Commentary
Andrey: Good evening. I am Andrey Summers, the gentleman-prince who Mostly Wrote, and Sort-of Edited Part Of episode 206. I don’t regret these actions.
Alastair: And I’m Alastair Craig, who personally WATCHED a few of these lines being recorded, had virtually NO role in the writing or performance, but spent enough days adjusting the wildly see-sawing volume of this episode’s dialogue to earn a spot in this esteemed MSN Conversation That Will Later Be Edited Into A Visual Commentary Unbeknownst To You.
St. Crispin’s Day, St. Crispin’s Day,
Time to be happy snappy dapper and gay
All the kids come out and play
On Saint Crispins Daaaay
Andrey: So this Choir in the beginning is actually Fiona’s voice like 20 times. She did a billion takes of it, pretending to be a “little boy”
“And I’m Jim Morrison”
Alastair: I’ve known Tim for like eight years. This is the first time I’ve considered his parents might have been Doors fans.
Andrey: Yeah, I wrote most of the script for this thing, and unfortunately it’s riddled with obvious puns like that.
“And what does that mean to kids? What are we brought up thinking St. Crispin’s Day is about?”
Andrey: Since we were harkening back to the Lame Holiday Show format-
Alastair: -introduced (and indeed, invented by) TRC’s Canadian Team with the 2006 Christmas Special -
Andrey: I wanted to mirror the first one by putting a priest interview first.
Alastair: The rich tapestry of St. Crispin’s Day backstory referenced in this interview, and scattered throughout the episode, was developed in a mammoth collaborative document, only a fraction of which was used here. Other mythology, including The St. Crispin’s Day Wolf’s helpers, partially-digested woodland creatures purged of their sins, and a Rudolphesque song called “Minky The Half-Rabbit”, may, god willing, never see the light of day.
Andrey: I hope to come back to the Lore in future
Andrey: Hal Rangton is MEL GIBSON. Really.
Alastair: Not a subtext so much as, well, text.
Andrey: Yeah. But in case anyone, you know… missed that. It’s… Mel Gibson.
Alastair: This sketch continues the podcast’s – and more specifically Andrey’s – childlike fascination with antisemitism.
Andrey: And, in fact, it’s Mel Gibson’s antisemitism that we’re Deftly Satirizing here
Alastair: “He’s right, Tim, that was at night” is amongst my all-time favourite podcast lines. Since you asked.
Andrey: I was really trying to find ways to divide “Tim” and “Andrey”, so they could always fall on opposite sides of a guest.
“Muthafucka, it’s Tyman Fuqon, baby, you know what I’m sayin?”
Alastair: And here we continue another proud Podcast tradition: being very, very white.
Andrey: Tymann Fuquon, meanwhile, was something that Mike Cope was actually offended by. Like, for real.
“I know a joke about rape”
Alastair: Pay Attention Because This Becomes A Running Gag.
“Fiona! How are things going in the kitchen?”
Alastair: Another Questionable TRC Holiday Special Tradition: casting Andrey’s current girlfriend (as a fictionalised, less likeable version of herself) in a cooking show segment. We all look forward to seeing who fills the role next year! (Too soon?)
Andrey: I have a sort of Ricky Gervais crutch in my “comedy”, as is very evident here, where I try to create ignorant, vile people, and their ignorance – racism, sexism whatever – is hopefully funny.
Andrey: Okay, that may not be defensible by the above shpiel.
Mike Cope also urged me to not use Ying. He and I actually worked in a White Spot kitchen with a prep cook named Ying, who was of a differing Asian descent.
Alastair: Let us pray he doesn’t have iTunes.
Andrey: God Willing, yeah. Though I’d hope he would understand that I was mainly portraying the thankless role immigrants sometimes have in western society. The flippant remark that Ying “used to be an Admiral” is pretty much the crux to his whole existence.
“And speaking of soldiers…”
Andrey: Billy Bob, meanwhile, was written by mostly James Simpson. He’s very political-minded. I remember in high-school he’d go home and read CNN.com, which always baffled me.
“If it’s Morty Bechbaum I’m slitting my other wrist.”
Alastair: For those of you coming in raw, Morty Bechbaum was Andrey’s self-proclaimed “agent” (introduced in the previous holiday special, with intermittent cameos throughout the second season), whose incoherent phone manner quite rightly drove the character to wrist-cutting levels of frustration and plain discomfort.
Andrey: Good comedic rule there too: get more information out than the brain can digest at once. It takes a second for a person to compute that Andrey has already slit one wrist. That little second is what makes it funny.
Alastair: The word “other” is exactly what separates Andrey from the rest of us, ascending his words into the mythical realm of Actual Comedy. I’m very proud to unceremoniously brand THATCHICKENSITE.COM onto lines such as this.
“Joining us right now VIA SATELLITE is Private First Class Billy-Bob Sinclair live from a US Army supply column in Fellujah, Iraq.”
Alastair: Brett Cullen delivers another wonderful vocal performance as Billy-Bob. The man tries very, very hard to move on to his career in the Australian Film & TV industry, but we at The Rubber Chicken will always be clinging to his foot, holding him back from his dreams so he can deliver one more yokel impersonation.
“Oh, those are prisoners of war who were tortured and executed.”
Andrey: James and I call this ‘dropping the veil’, or we would if we made up names for comedy tropes we rely on… which we of course don’t. The earliest version of this joke was actually us pretending to be a jock bugging a guy about getting some sex. He’d start using a lot of euphemisms, and then ‘drop the veil’, and just be like “ARE YOU GOING TO INSERT YOUR REPRODUCTIVE ORGANS INTO HERS?”
“He’s eight years old, but he already has the bones of a pensioner.”
Andrey: Alastair to the rescue here with Little Simon.
Alastair: We didn’t have it in our consciences to enlist a real 8-year-old in this filthy operation.
Andrey: Indeed. Considering some of the things Simon is exposed to, and forced to say, too…
Alastair: As luck would have it, I have an innocent boyish demeanour, and will likely be asked for ID until my early 30s. For once, this worked in my favour.
“Is that “happy birthday” being sung in the background?”
Alastair says: As far as the internet is concerned, the Happy Birthday song does not exist.
Andrey: Absurd local celebrities being invited to “The Mayor’s Birthday” is a joke stolen from our very talented friend Troy Adebar, who improvved it in a movie we made once. I take full credit, however, for the expression “a thousand or so close friends”.
Alastair: Not kidding here about the birthday song. That copyright is not an urban myth. Whichever shadowy organisation the current royalty-leecher is hiring to enforce it, they are very good indeed, to the point that I’m seriously questioning the wisdom just now of openly admitting to using it here, in easily-tracable text.
Andrey: I’m very much in love (as is James) with the concept of the Local Celebrity. They’re walking paradoxes. Unknown Celebrities.
Alastair: When I got the chance to ask Andrey and Fiona in person about the “Local Celebrity” thing, they succinctly summarised it as “admission of defeat”.
Andrey: Haha – I totally forgot about that, but it definitely applies. Another fun subspecies of this type is the “Very Industry-Specific Celebrity”, like pro boxcar racers that only people who give a shit about boxcar racing even know exist.
Alastair: So I can illegally download the vinyl-only b-side to Morris Minor and the Mjaors’ late 80s novelty hit “Stutter Rap” (“Another Boring B-Side”, incidentally – it’s actually much funnier) in, like, five minutes. But Happy Birthday, the most popular song in the western world? Just not on. I went out of my way to find a YouTube video of this slightly grating rendition of the song, and then even further to find a way of converting streaming video into sound, all for this borderline-inconsequential background detail. Bask in it. Appreciate it. Please.
Andrey: In your dreams, behind-the-scenes-toiler.
Actually, this is exactly why I pawned off editing this thing to you. FACT: I put a rough-cut together myself. FACT: it had gaps and I gave up.
Alastair: And speaking of FACTS, the real (and possibly fictitious) St. Crispin did not actually get devoured by wolves.
Andrey: Oh, you want to do some real history? Yes – St. Crispin’s Day was actually at one point a real thing. Then, the church cancelled it because (drum roll) THEY WERE NO LONGER SURE THERE HAD ACTUALLY BEEN A ST. CRISPIN.
Alastair: You’d better bet we were overjoyed to learn this. The day had already been chosen (at random, by Tim, from a calendar hanging from my family’s toilet door) before we learned this fact, which we chose to interpret as The Vatican’s official “go ahead, we’re cool with it”.
Andrey: And I was further overjoyed to discover that “Christmas” sounds a LOT like “Crispin’s”, enabling the “slang” you hear some of the characters here employ.
Alastair: Ultimately, though, this direction was the product of our laziness, after we failed to write a 2007 Christmas special. The obscurity (and canonical nonexistence) of St. Crispin’s Day gave us the liberty to put together this episode whenever we damn well got around to it.
Which, as it happens, wasn’t until the following Christmas. Like rain on your wedding day.
“Do you think they are cutting a cheesecake?”
Alastair: Tim’s natural voice is perfectly suited to deadpan voice-of-reason lines. Something about his manner invites one to push him to breaking point. I try to limit this to the character rather than our friendship, but I can’t make any promises.
Andrey: Yes. And when we recorded his lines live in Australia, I attempted to do this by giving him repeated line-readings. Basically telling him HOW I wanted every syllable to sound.
This is not the way to become an actor’s friend.
Alastair: Sidenote: Andrey and Fiona did indeed fly to Sydney (the traditional haunt for International Rubber Chicken Shindigs) with what I choose to believe was the exclusive purpose of overseeing Tim’s lines for this episode. They returned to Canada engaged, so hey, that was a nice bonus too.
Andrey: I like the part here where Tim leaves, and Andrey forgets to continue the show even though the next guest is right in front of him.
“Well, Andrey, the narrative centers on a fictional character who is sort-of like a really hip, sexy version of me, and you see he discovers that inside the paintings of Picasso is hidden a sort of Code, you see, that leads him to uncover history’s Best Kept Secret!”
Andrey: Gord turns in an oscar-worthy performance as faux-Dan-Brown as TRC once again skewers pop culture with the gilded blade of SATIRE.
“I don’t care if his plot gets spoiled! He’s passing my findings off as his!”
Andrey: Do you notice how deftly we got Fiona out of the studio before bringing in a character she plays, so there wouldn’t be any confusion?
“No, that’s in real life. In the continuity of the podcast we haven’t decided on a comedic through-line for our relationship yet, which is why earlier I was delusionally mistaking her for someone else, which Alastair had to rewrite into being simply a delusional obsession with HER, but she didn’t think that was as funny as the other running gag despite essentially forbidding us from using it, and…”
Andrey: Fiona really wanted us to leave the whole relationship thing alone, and make jokes about something else. Before doing that, I thought we’d Look it Right in the Eye one last time, which she tacitly allowed by recording her half of the scripted conversation.
Alastair: I’m just happy to be noticed.
“Anyway, sitting across from me is the psychopath, and his handler Dr. Richard Casement.”
Andrey: I was very pleased with Mike Cope’s contribution to this episode. He recorded a bunch of interviewees, and they all came off as very different characters.
“Lester, you must be excited about the holidays. Lester…?”
Alastair: While editing this segment at 2am, the second “Lester” was close enough to the standard pronunciation of my name, and close enough in delivery to a wake-up call, that it would inevitably jolt me awake.
(Self-absorbed digression: I get the same surreal call-to-attention with the opening line of Radiohead’s “Electioneering”, which sounds alarmingly like “Alastair with morphine”.)
“Andrey said having a dingbat from the wacko-basket on the show would be a bit of fun, but this is getting kind-of morbid.”
Andrey: What kind of person entertains that notion, and then is surprised by the outcome?
We can’t just cut to a song the audience knows isn’t even written yet. That’s not an exclamation mark, that’s a question mark.
Andrey: Gord failed us with the song. I had a great one written, too
Alastair: (Sigh) Gord, Gord, Gord. Where did we go wrong?
Andrey: We hope to slot it in as a secret edit in the future.
Andrey: SPOILER ALERT.
Alastair: Luckily, the pre-song banter openly admitted that such a tune had not yet been written, so we do get that sense of closure regardless. A happy coincidence for us, a mildly awkward anticlimax for you. For now.
Andrey: Anyway, that’s the word on that.