So Close to Greatness…

So if you haven’t seen this, watch it. You’ll need it as background for today’s post.

Actually, I thought that was far gentler and funnier than it could have been. All in all, it was very much a positive.

I wasn’t the only one who thought so.

One of my friends works for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir – not to be confused with Conan’s Mormon Tapper-nacle Choir. The day after this aired, he called Conan’s people to suggest that the Mormon Tabernacles would be interested in responding. Very quickly, he was speaking to Conan O’Brien’s executive producer, who said that they’d be very interested.

Then he called me.

He had about twenty minutes before he was going to go in and pitch this idea to the powers that be. He wanted to go in armed with something the Choir could sing that would be an appropriate response – funny and cutting edge without being cruel or embarrassing. And he needed it pretty much in about ten minutes.

So I churned out the following three verses, sung to the tune of “O Tannenbaum.” I include it with annotated explanations for the Conan uninitiated:

We really liked
Your Mormon song
The one that Max was singing [I kind of liked “the one the Jew was singing,” but that was too nasty.]

On drums, we know
He’s apropos
On vocals, he’s no Springsteen [Max Weinberg was and is the drummer for Springsteen’s E Street Band.]

Now we reply in harmony
Bill Shatner sings there; why can’t we? [Reference to the very popular Shatner/Palin sketches.]

So here’s our new Tonight Show song
Enjoy the payback, Andy. [Andy Richter, Conan’s sidekick who claimed you can find out about Mormons by watching Children of the Corn.]

Los Angeles seems good for you
And much of what you’re doing

We’re glad you dropped those characters
Unfit for family viewing [This is the closest I could come to directly referencing the Masturbating Bear.]

We offer you a yule log
To lose that insult comic dog

We dug those puppies dressed as cats
That’s really worth pursuing [A fun sketch that Conan does regularly]


We hope you’ll come and visit us
If you get further inland

All of us can’t wait to meet
The Prime Minister of Finland [Reference to long-running Conan gag about the fact that he looks exactly like the Prime Minister of Finland – who is female.]

We think that you’re the better man
We’d never go on Letterman

So Merry Christmas one and all
Nothing rhymes with Finland.


That’s it. I think it’s mildly clever on its own but would be riotously funny if the entire choir were to sing it. My friend agreed, and I waited to hear back as he ran it up the flagpole with the powers that be.

I spent about two or three hours reveling in the idea that I had just written something that would be performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on the Tonight Show. I imagined my inevitable new career as the Tonight Show’s new head writer, and I was wondering where I would live upon my triumphant return to Los Angeles and show biz stardom.

Alas, it was not to be.

It’s a no go. The Choir, it seems, doesn’t do comedy of any stripe. They are considered official representatives of the Church, and to get permission to do this, they’d have to get direct approval from the First Presidency. Which is about as likely as me flapping my arms and flying to the moon.

Still, I had a good time. And it makes for an above average blog entry.

Cleta's First Talk in Sacrament Meeting
Christmas Report/Movie Reviews

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