The Chanukah Song

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"The Chanukah Song" is a novelty song written by comedian Adam Sandler with Saturday Night Live writers Lewis Morton and Ian Maxtone-Graham and originally performed by Sandler on Saturday Night Live '​s Weekend Update on December 3, 1994.[1] Sandler subsequently performed the song as part of his stand-up act, later updating it with new lyrics. All variations center on the theme of Jewish children feeling alienated during the Christmas season, and Sandler's listing of Jewish celebrities (both real and fictional) as a way of sympathizing with their situation.

Part I (1994)[edit]

"The Chanukah Song"
Single by Adam Sandler
from the album What the Hell Happened to Me?
Released 1995
Format CD single
Genre Comedy
Length 3:44
Label Warner Bros.
Writer(s) Adam Sandler, Ian Maxtone-Graham, Lewis Morton
Producer(s) Adam Sandler, Brooks Arthur
Adam Sandler singles chronology
"Lunchlady Land"
(1993)
"The Chanukah Song"
(1995)
"Bleeps"
(1996)

This version appeared on Sandler's 1996 comedy album What the Hell Happened to Me?.

Persons referenced in "The Chanukah Song":

During the final verse, performed originally on Saturday Night Live and on a radio cut, Sandler sings the line "Drink your gin and tonic-ah, but don't smoke marijuan-icah". On the uncut album version, and during various concert appearances, the line was changed to "Drink your gin and tonic-ah, and smoke your marijuan-icah". The uncut version, despite the reference to marijuana, receives most radio airplay today; another radio edit skips completely over the gin and tonic/marijuana line altogether.

Part II (1999)[edit]

The "The Chanukah Song, Part II" was recorded live at Brandeis University for Sandler's 1999 album Stan and Judy's Kid.

Persons referenced in "The Chanukah Song, Part II":

Other pop culture references include: Manischewitz wine, Hooked on Phonics and Tijuana, Mexico.

Part III (2002)[edit]

Included on the Eight Crazy Nights soundtrack featuring vocals from actor Rob Schneider and the children's choir The Drei-Dels.

Persons referenced in "The Chanukah Song, Part III":

Also, in an unedited version that Sandler sings at some of his comedy shows, he replaces the lyric "As for half-Jewish actors/Sean Penn is quite the great one/And Marlon Brando's not a Jew at all/But it looks to me like he ate one" with "Gwyneth Paltrow's half-Jewish/But a full-time Oscar winner/Jennifer Connelly's half-Jewish, too/And I'd like to put some more in her". While this version is not played on radio stations, the music video shows a background screen shows a picture of Sandler licking his lips as the Jennifer Connelly lyric is sung, with shocked laughter coming from the audience. This version is hidden about four minutes after the edited version on the Eight Crazy Nights soundtrack.

Although Sandler does not actually mention Schneider by name as part of the song, he mentions Deuce Bigalow, a character played by Schneider, in the lyric, "we can do it all night long, with Deuce Bigalow" (the "you can do it" line is also a reference to Schneider's recurring "townie" character that originally appeared in The Waterboy). As Sandler mentions Bigelow, Schneider walks on stage, yells, "I'm Jewish!", and joins in for an abbreviated chorus. After the chorus, he sings a Jewish reference for the song (Mickey Raphael, see above), using an Elvis-esque vocal tic, to which Sandler seemingly ad libs "tiny Elvis, ladies and gentlemen, tiny Elvis!" (a reference to a Saturday Night Live skit Schneider performed with Nicolas Cage; and possibly also to Elvis Presley, who was halakhically Jewish on account of his maternal great-great-grandmother[6]) In the rehearsal version, Sandler then gives an aside of, "Schneider, I did not even know you were Jewish," to which Schneider replies, "I'm a Filipino Jew, in fact, I've gotta run home and light the first pig!" In the aired version, Schneider states, "I'm a Filipino Jew." When Sandler muses, "Filipino Jew?" Schneider responds, "There are four of us." He then puts on a blonde wig and joins the "Drei-dels," the backing chorus of children, to whom he is already similarly dressed.

Covers and spoofs[edit]

Jimmy Fallon impersonated Adam Sandler during a Celebrity Jeopardy! sketch on Saturday Night Live on October 24, 1998. In the sketch, Fallon, as Sandler, interrupts Will Ferrell's Alex Trebek by playing guitar and singing a line that's supposed to be from "The Chanukah Song", but is not an actual line from any of the three songs. In the tune of the song's chorus and first few verses, Fallon sings, "Robert De Niro, Bela Lugosi, Snuffleupagus, and Parker Posey!" Interestingly enough, De Niro, Lugosi, and Posey are (or in Lugosi's case, were) not actually Jewish, and were in fact all raised Roman Catholic.

In 2004, Jewish-Australian hardcore punk band Yidcore covered it as "The Punk Rock Chanukah Song".

In the season 3 The Office episode "Diwali", Michael Scott (Steve Carell) parodies Sandler by performing "The Diwali Song" during a Hindu Diwali festival.[7]

In 2008, Unitarian-Universalist Evan Austin performed a parody of this song called "The Chalica Song"[8] about the Unitarian-Universalist holiday of Chalica. Austin lists celebrities and historical persons who are "Unitarian-Universalists. Or Unitarians. Or Universalists. Or people with similar ideas." In 2009, Austin recorded "The (Second) Chalica Song" [9] with the same tune, but a new list of names.

In 2009, a cover of the song by Neil Diamond was released on A Cherry Cherry Christmas.[10] This version featured several changes in lyrics, including the change from "Tom Cruise isn't but I heard his agent is" to "Tom Cruise isn't, but Jesus Christ is".

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "SNL: 12/3/1994 (Roseanne/Green Day) - Weekend Update segment". SNL transcripts. 12-03-1994. Retrieved 2011-11-15.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ Charlton, James; Shatzkin, Mike; and Holtje, Stephen. The Ballplayers: Baseball's Ultimate Biographical Reference. (New York: Arbor House/William Morrow, 1990), pp 155-156. ISBN 0-87795-984-6.
  3. ^ Jenkins, Gary (March 1999). Harrison Ford: Imperfect Hero. Kensington Books, 9–12. ISBN 0-8065-8016-X.
  4. ^ Jennifer Beals Interview - Apr 2004
  5. ^ Flanagan, Bill (interviewer) (November 28, 2009). "Bob Dylan gives interview to The Big Issue". music-news.com. Retrieved March 26, 2010. 
  6. ^ Chandler, Adam (August 16, 2012). "Elvis Presley: Jewish King of Rock". Tablet.
  7. ^ The Office - Diwali Song (Full), Youtube.com
  8. ^ The Chalica Song, Youtube.com
  9. ^ The (Second) Chalica Song, Youtube.com
  10. ^ Neil Diamond Covers Adam Sandler's 'Chanukah Song', Steve Baltin, Spinner.com, September 29th 2009

External links[edit]