Two weeks before Christmas and all through the 'hood
People were doing their best to be good
And not be unkind, or cheat, or tell lies
Except for little ones, or of medium size.
The season was joyful and jolly and festive
To men's nervous systems and also digestive,
And here at Town Hall, a large congregation
Had come in a mood of anticipation.
After trying to get tickets to Chicago or Rent or
Henry the IV at Lincoln Center
Or Renee Fleming at Carnegie Hall
Or the jazz quartet of Ahmad Jamal
Or Wonderful Town or Ibsen's Doll House
Or Die Frau ohne Schatten by Richard Strauss
Or Roof, Cat on a Hot Tin or Roof, Fiddler,
Or the Beacon Theater to see Bette Midler
Or the Christmas show at Radio City,
And striking out, again and again (what a pity),
Were forced to give up and settle at last
For a seat at this, a radio broadcast.
Radio! To come to New York from Lord knows where
And watch somebody go on the air---
What a gyp! The audience was miffed.
You come to a show expecting a lift
For the heart and mind and also libido,
And here's an old guy in a wrinkled tuxedo
Telling old jokes that all fall flat---
But wait! What's this? (CAT) It's a tap-dancing cat,
In a red vest and a big top hat,
Snapping its paws and keeping the beat
With a pair of bottle caps on its hind feet.
And then came a dog, a miniature terrier,
To sing "God Rest Ye, Gentlemen, Merrier" (DOG SINGING).
He sang with pretty good pitch and rhythm
And he'd brought a sheaf of music with him
But they hustled the pooch away before a
Man came out in a brown fedora
With an oxygen tank and sat down on a bench
And played "Silent Night" on a pneumatic wrench. (WRENCH)
He played it boldly, not sneakily or deviously,
And it wasn't like anything they had heard previously.
And then back came the old guy in the tux
To introduce the next act: a pair of white ducks
Who came out on stage in little top hats,
Canes, white tails, black ties, and white spats,
And their feathers combed and carefully curled,
They did a duet of "Joy To The World". (DUCKS, JOY TO THE WORLD)
A lovely duet for two barnyard foul----
Their diction was beautiful, every word, every vowel
Was beautifully shaped. They brought down the house,
And came back again for a couple more bows.
There was such variety of musical techniques:
A man who played "O Tanenbaum" on his cheeks (CHEEKS)
And after he'd tapped out the do re mi fa,
He did it again on a chainsaw (CHAINSAW)
And the Christmas tree came crashing down (SFX)
And almost hit the next act, a clown
Who came out with a towel and a glass of Lavoris
And gargled the entire Hallelujah Chorus. (GARGLING)
Which was remarkable that he could do it
Though the front row was sprayed with bodily fluid.
And when you were hoping he'd finish, just maybe,
Out came his wife and their two-year-old baby,
And he said he was sure it would amuse and tickle us
If the baby, Elizabeth, sang a song about St. Nicholas.
And the audience clapped and that's what she did,
Cause no audience will ever boo a kid. (BABY)
Though they thought about it as the song went on,
And looked at their watches and wished she were gone,
And then came a man with a set of car keys
Who tried to play "Jingle Bells" ---- the crowd yelled, "Oh, please!"
And up they jumped and ran up the aisles
And out to the street, both Jews and Gentiles,
And I heard them exclaim, as they left, the whole mob:
"The music was great but don't quit your job."