The next Comedy Central A Clüsterfünke Christmas (note the umlauts) it is not the first time that a couple of ex Saturday night live stars have embraced the venerable basic genre of cable television movies. However, unlike the memorable 2015 outing of colleagues Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig, the family horror melodrama Lifetime pastiche (or not?), A deadly adoption, the title of Rachel Dratch and Ana Gasteyer’s version of the Christmas movie Lifetime makes it pretty clear where they stand on those handmade Christmas treats.
“However, this movie was not authorized by Hallmark, it has nothing to do with it,” Dratch said. Late at night host and ex SNL co-star Seth Meyers on Tuesday, “so don’t sue us, Hallmark.” And while Meyers joked that the next overpriced, glitter-dusted holiday card you receive may, in fact, be a decorative citation, Dratch probably has nothing to worry about. After all, the practice of chuckling bewildered before the absolute and inescapable ubiquity of these semi-movies produced seasonally, practically identical it’s pretty much a cliché of its own right now.
Plus, as Dratch told Meyers, without the traditional hint of trustworthy tropes that adorn the average Hallmark Christmas extravaganza like trusty old-fashioned Christmas lights, A Clüsterfünke Christmas it would just blink away. “For these Hallmark-style movies, there are all these tropes and things to hit to make them look real,” explained Dratch (putting some quotes on the air around “Hallmark” for legal safety), noting that she and Gasteyer brought the veteran Hallmark writer Michael Murray to shore up the plausibility of his feature-length blunder. (Just a sample of Murray Hallmark Titles: Looking for John Christmas, Christmas from 9 to 5, The Christmas setting, The tree that saved Christmas, and the confusingly named You can’t buy me love in Santa.)
For co-writers Dratch and Gasteyer, when it came time to choose from the limited selection of traditional Hallmark holiday roles, it was easy enough to see where the veteran was. SNL troupers would fit. “We knew we weren’t going to be the executive coming out of town to fall in love,” Dratch said, outlining the basic plot of about 75 percent of each of those movies. But, when they come up with their own version of the never-ending trope of the ruthless big-city woman who arrives to take over a small local Christmas-themed business, but ends up being swept away by the charm of a small town and a local (lumberjack, firefighter, quaint wooden toy maker, etc.), Dratch told Meyers that she and Gasteyer knew they would end up throwing up household clichés like the movie’s gray-haired inn-keeper spinster. Clüsterfünke sisters.
Dratch assured would-be viewers that, unlike the deadpan imitation that was A deadly adoption, A Clüsterfünke Christmas it will be a sketch comedy that will run to the end, while those brave Clüsterfünkes try to direct Crazy ex-girlfriendVella Lovell (“big city, executive bitch,” according to Dratch) to the roughest, most eligible bachelor in her small town (30 Rock‘s Cheyenne jackson, wearing flannel and wielding an ax).
Noting that she and Gasteyer wanted to check as many Hallmark boxes as possible, Dratch revealed that a magical dog will naturally figure in the incompatible pair’s inevitable pairing, presumably under some mistletoe that Jackson’s sturdy heartthrob knocked down himself. Just to keep in mind, Hallmark Murray scribe also wrote the dog / holiday-centric The Christmas Shepherd, so Dratch and Gasteyer are on dry land. (That terrain is Vancouver’s fake snow setting in July, as is the filming terrain for most Hallmark Christmas movies.)
A Clüsterfünke Christmas premieres on Comedy Central on December 4.