Monday, December 14, 2009

The Chanukah Song by Adam Sandler

I grew up surrounded by Jewish people.

At least a third if not more of the people in my school were Jewish. I had no idea that Jewish people were a minority of the world population. When December rolled around it seemed that just as many people were talking about celebrating Chanukah as Christmas.

A couple things became clear to me in elementary school. If you were Jewish you got your gifts earlier and instead of one night of gifts there were eight. My elementary school logic concluded that having multiple nights of gifts and celebrations was for superior. I mean eight nights!! How could that not be better?

One of the early hints that Jewish culture was not prevalent as Christian culture was the fact out of all of the Holiday songs we sang in school and I heard on the radio, the only Jewish one I knew “Dreidel, Dreidel”

I don't know if the "Courtney Cox" counter melody is part of the original song but it seems to work. . . she is Jewish, right?

I realize that there are other Chanukah songs out there they are not as well know as other Christmas songs like “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.” Leave it to Adam Sandler to help fill the gap in our culture with “The Chanukah Song,”

Saturday Night Live has a long tradition of musical comedy like this clip of Andy Kaufman doing this early sketch from the sketch comedies show's first season.

Adam Sandler added to this tradition creating a song to reassuring Jewish children who felt that they were the only Jewish people in their neighborhood that they weren’t alone.

In “The Chanukah Song,” Sandler lists off people in popular culture who are Jewish and what becomes instantly apparent is that even though only 1.4% of the population in America is Jewish they have made amazing contributions to popular culture. Captain Kirk, Spock, James Caan, the Three Stoogies AND the Fonz. Seriously, Asian-Americans make up 5% of the population in the United States and what have we contributed, Mr. Sulu, Bruce Lee and John Cho.

Adam Sandler has a great time with this song. He sets up hilarious rhyme that seem to come out of nowhere, “You don't need "Deck The Halls" or "Jingle Bell Rock" 'Cause you can spin a dreidel with Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock.”

Then there are the unapologetically preposterous rhymes. Yes, yarmulke does rhythm with Chanukah, but not a lot of other words do so Sandler gets creative. There’s “Supersonicah,” “gin and tonicah,” “wannakah” and of course the crowd favorite “smoke your marijuanikah.”

I don’t know what the spirit of Chanukah is, I’ve never celebrated the holiday and my knowledge about "miracle of the container of oil" is weak at best. But for me “The Chanukah Song” is about a sense of pride. Adam Sandler reminds us in a joyous and hilarious way that Jewish people are not alone and have plenty of people in our culture to take pride in.

Adam Sandler may have been a kid growing up feeling like the only Jew in his community but he’s created a song about Chanukah that people who aren’t Jewish sing along to, revel in and share in the Joy of being a Jew.

Not too shabby.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, this song is a Classic. I'd been meaning to link Christmas Classic songs on my Facebook page but been working far too much, of late, to do it. Adam Sandler's song. Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer. Blue Christmas (version by Elvis for the cheese factor and Porky Pig for the side-splitting factor) are among the top.