In previous decades, American television found itself overtaken once a year by the annual airing of Christmas specials. Whether these were the numerous broadcasts hosted by Andy Williams and Bing Crosby, children’s programs like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and A Charlie Brown Christmas, or weird one-offs like the Star Wars Holiday Special, many of these cheerful productions became holiday traditions for networks and the families who watch them. Yet more recent iterations of this Christmas tradition have abandoned the variety show elements perfected by Williams, Crosby and their counterparts.
Hence why Andy Richter’s Home for the Holidays, out on Seeso today, feels like a breath of fresh air — even though it’s actually a ridiculous parody of the entire genre populated by the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre’s best and brightest. We spoke with the host — Conan‘s Andy Richter — about his decision to dive back into improv, whether or not Home for the Holidays is family appropriate, and his penchant for tweeting about politics.
What was the thinking behind doing a parody of the Christmas special?
Home for the Holidays was a designed as a Christmas special for Seeso, but it’s also a collection of UCB talent. UCB has a deal with Seeso, which serves as an outlet for their properties and people — different shows and characters they’ve done. So this was kind of like a review of UCB talent within the framework of being my holiday special. It was meant to be a kind of parody or play on the Andy Williams Christmas specials, but a really profane kind of twisted one of those.