“Winter Wonderland” — SNL Original Cast

The original SNL cast’s take on “Winter Wonderland” is one of my favorite Christmas recordings ever. It’s from the first season of Saturday Night Live; Candice Bergen is hosting, and you can see her singing along with Gilda Radner, Jane Curtin, and Laraine Newman. The underrated Garrett Morris delivers the powerful lead vocal, and there’s something magical about the moment when the boys — Chevy, Aykroyd, Belushi — come in for support.

When I was a kid, I was always puzzled by the clip. I saw it several times on Comedy Central reruns; this is back when Comedy Central was a fledgling network that ran SNL about 8hrs a day, along with lots of bad ’80s stand up shows, MST3K, and a show I loved called Short Attention Span Theater hosted by some guy named John Stewart. Anyway, I guess what puzzled me so much was that it seemed so damn sincere, and so good. I suppose Morris’s vocal provides much of the earnest authenticity that so baffled me when set against the goofy, ironic sloppiness of those (very) early SNL skits. I guess I was looking for a joke and couldn’t find one. They didn’t seem to be mocking the song. In retrospect, I can see that there’s something of a loving parody at work in their version of “Winter Wonderland,” a gentle poke at old, hokey Christmas musicals, but the emphasis is on loving — it’s almost bizarre in its tenderness and earnest emotion.


10 thoughts on ““Winter Wonderland” — SNL Original Cast”

  1. Still looking for SNL opening that had Garrett Morris singing an aria, perched up high. This video (except for Garrett), glad they kept their nite job.


  2. Simply the GREATEST Christmas sketch ever from SNL. Ever. I don’t think they intended it to be as great as it was. Maybe just something to fill time. Instead, Garrett Morris comes out singing his arse off. Make no doubt about it, he wasn’t fooling around, and it shows. The women hit a home run also; getting that great combo of voices (who knew?) and motivation was a driving force. The guys slowly get into it, you can tell Chevy just considers it a sketch, but kudos to Dan Ackroyd for being directly in front of the mic and just wailing, man! Thanks again for putting this clip up, it continues to inspire.


  3. Thank you! I have searched YouTube every Christmas season for years and have never been able to find this clip. Thanks for the link.


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