Brow Beat

On Saturday Night Live, Cecily Strong Sees Mommy Kissing Santa Claus and Discovers She’s Kind of Into It

Scarlett Johansson, as a 1950s housewife, kisses Beck Bennett, dressed as Santa, in front of a Christmas Tree. On the staircase behind them, Cecily Strong, dressed in 1950s schoolgirl clothes, looks on, fascinated.
Strangely compelling. NBC

It’s Christmas, that wonderful time of year when otherwise reasonable people devote hours of their lives to debating the creepiness of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” while politely leaving the classic yuletide ode to childhood voyeurism “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” alone. Not Saturday Night Live, though: This week’s episode featured Cecily Strong performing a version of the Christmas classic that really leans into the kink. The less you know about where it’s going, the better:

That is not how Jimmy Boyd or the Beverley Sisters sang it! Scarlett Johansson, Beck Bennett, and Mikey Day all do a great job with the small amount they have to do—Johansson’s gestures while Santa is getting choked out are perfect—but the highlight here is Strong’s performance, which manages to successfully merge the relentlessly cheerful, eyebrow-twitching tics of mid-century pop singers with the furrowed brow and puzzled blinks of someone who is not entirely certain why the sight of Mommy kissing Santa Claus is making them feel funny. The production values are hilarious, particularly the atomic age Hullabaloo set where Strong and her backup dancers perform. (Incidentally, Santa is driving a Nissan Altima, a car first offered for sale in 1992, so the all-vintage 1950s wardrobes, hairstyles, and mannerisms suggest that Strong’s family is into even weirder shit than she’s realized.) The details are solid too: If you zoom in on the Craigslist ad Scarlett Johansson holds up, you can even make out the text. Here’s what it says:

Need big Santa bull for play this XXXmas – mw4m

Ho ho ho. MW4M seeking “YULETIDE CHEER.” She’s been naughty this year and needs Santa to come down the chimney and make a fool out of me. Must be of stocky, husky build with a true, white wizard’s beard. Fake boy beards need not apply—she needs a real Butch Dumbledore. show up in costume and ready for the real man—ME—to step in and take back his prize when your thru w/ her. must arrive after 8PM (bedtime) $1000 cash

This is far from the first time “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” has gotten this sort of treatment: Spike Jones recorded “I Saw Mommy Screwing Santa Claus” in 1952, the same year Jimmy Boyd recorded the original version, although Jones’ version was never officially released for obvious reasons. Homer & Jethro took a stab at it in 1953, with “I Saw Mommy Smoochin’ Santy Claus,” in which Mommy offers Santa the following advice: “Go and get yourself a shave / Then I will be your slave / Kissin’ you is just like smoochin’ Gabby Hayes.” Since then, there’s hardly been a year without some irreverent version of the song, whether it’s from Tiny Tim, RuPaul, or Twisted Sister. But until this Saturday, none of those performances included the complete text of a Craigslist ad written by a man who wanted to be cuckolded by Santa. Now one of them does. Merry Christmas!