Brow Beat

Ariana Grande Joined Jimmy Fallon, Tracy Morgan, Chris Kattan, and Horatio Sanz to Recreate Saturday Night Live’s “I Wish It Was Christmas Today”

Horatio Sanz, Jimmy Fallon, Chris Kattan, Ariana Grande, and Tracy Morgan perform in bad Christmas sweaters.
One more time!
NBC

Jimmy Fallon reunited with his Saturday Night Live co-stars Tracy Morgan, Chris Kattan, and Horatio Sanz on Tuesday to recreate their 2000 SNL sketch “I Wish It Was Christmas Today,” with a little help from pop star Ariana Grande. It’s nearly a shot-for-shot remake, which is made a little easier by the fact that the original only has seven shots:

Grande does a wonderful job of updating the material, mostly because adding a person to the lineup makes the shot a little wider for 16:9 televisions, but also because her thrilling vocal harmonies really brings home the song’s message, which has changed a little over the years. The first time “I Wish It Was Christmas Today” aired, the joke was that it was a hilariously half-assed Christmas song:

Ariana Grande’s work here dovetails nicely with the spirit of the original sketch. But there’s a second message hidden in “I Wish It Was Christmas Today” that only became apparent after the second performance:

And this one:

And this one:

And this one:

And this one:

And this one:

At this point, “I Wish It Was Christmas Today” is a running joke whose main punchline is that it’s somehow still a running joke, unless you find the bees in a glass hive effect of watching 18 years take their toll on human faces to the sound of horrible Christmas music to be funny. This terrible Casio keyboard demo is funnier the more often, more insistently, and more earnestly it is performed—see Julian Casablancas’ straight-faced cover if you need any more proof—and so every new version is by definition an improvement and elaboration, because every time, part of the joke is that Sanz and company are still singing this goddamned thing after all these years. Now that Grande has joined the party, the torch has been passed, and “I Wish It Was Christmas Today” will no doubt outlive us all. Merry Christmas!