In case you’ve been hiding under a rock (or don’t live 24/7 inside the jblogosphere, like we do), Republican Mormon senator from Utah Orrin Hatch (who apparently has a big song-writing hobby) loves the Jews so much, he decided to give us a brand new song about Chanukah. Jewschooler Aryeh Cohen covered the song here. Tablet originally posted the song.
In return, Jewschool started thinking about a way to return Hatch’s gift with a song about a Mormon holiday. (Big tip o’ the nib to RebYudel and KRG.) We were looking at ways to record it, had come up with some great lyrics, but this was used on the show before we had a chance to polish it off and post it ourselves. Our RobK passed it along and the result?
Conan O’Brien and his Jewish sidekick Max Weinberg decided to return the favor with this. Enjoy. Chappy Chanukah.
Our blogger Rob Kutner adds more of the back end to the story – again, note that the idea came from a discussion offline among Jewschool’s contributors:
I saw the idea being bandied about among Jewschool’s contributors. Someone had a pretty brilliant riff to the tune of Maoz Tsur. Then it occurred to me that the Tonight Show band leader, Max Weinberg, is Jewish – and maybe he could be the centerpiece of such a response to the Mormons. I pitched the idea to Conan, and then my colleague (and Heeb 100er) Todd Levin and I wrote new lyrics to the more universally known (if not necessarily beloved) “I Have A Little Dreidel.” Unlike the scathing Maoz Tsur lyrics, Standards & Practices was skeptical, so we made our focus the average American’s cluelessness/misunderstandings of Mormonism. It’s definitely an interesting moment when Jewish culture is mainstream enough to provide a window on another minority religion’s relative marginalization.
One more cultural nugget: I had the idea to liven it up by bringing in the “Mormon Tapper-nacle Choir,” and one of the tap dancers told me last night that she was Jewish, but that her hair was too frizzy, so they had to put a straight wig on her to make her look more “Mormon.”
One last little tiny update. For those who are jonesin’ to know what the lyrics were, we include them below. We wanted to have a song that was special to a Mormon holiday, and the one we found was Joseph Smith’s birthday, to the tune of “Oh, Chanukah, Oh Chanukah.” Thanks to our Mormon friends for taking it all in a lighthearted spirit. Just to be clear (in case it isn’t) the lyrics are meant to make fun of Orrin Hatch, not Mormons or Joseph Smith.
Oh Joseph Smith, Oh Joseph Smith
The prophet of the Mormons
On Dec 23 we toast your birth
(Though not with coke or tea or bourbon)….
An angel showed to you a bunch of golden plates
Leading you to make your people mi-grate
And Jesus …did visit …the natives of this land
giving revelation, that lead to celebration
and moving to Ohio with his band.
But financial collapse and other mishaps
brought them to Utah and senators who like wiretaps