Stephanie Sottile’s 31 Days of Christmas – Day 12: Joe Pera Helps You Find The Perfect Christmas Tree
“Hey, wait, this isn’t really a movie! It’s a special that was 30 minutes long!” Yeah, well, so was How The Grinch Stole Christmas, get off my back! This Adult Swim original is the brainchild of a local New York comedian named Joe Pera (who, if you haven’t checked him out yet, please do so, you won’t be disappointed). Joe Pera has also worked with Adult Swim before for his short animated special, Joe Pera Puts You To Sleep (which you can also find on Youtube). His patient and soft spoken delivery might be an acquired taste for some, but he’s a refreshing voice among the standup comedy community and his commitment to the character he plays on stage can only be compared to a very few. Since I have been watching him so many years, I was very excited to see he had this Christmas special and it would be very remiss of me if I didn’t share it with others. Joe Pera (or his character if you will) keeps an even-toned demeanor through any situation, so depending on what he’s speaking about or what level you think his emotion should be at, it doesn’t matter because he will still have that tranquil way of communicating; and this is where the humor comes in (at least for me). It’s not just a character who feels awkward or who’s downplaying the importance of what’s being said, it’s a very committed character and how he would honestly react if put in certain situations.
This special starts off with beautiful footage of Michigan forests and Joe telling the audience that he hopes everyone will learn how to choose their Christmas tree from his special. “And if not…I fail,” Joe earnestly, but still gently, tells the camera. It’s wonderfully amusing to me how serious he takes his trees, but still refuses to speak even one decibel higher. We then see him modeling different types of trees and why people would prefer them, all the while, he’s being asked by people about how his students’ Christmas concert is coming along (where we see snippets of the children practicing the songs and Joe desperately making sure they stay focused, even if it means putting on a John Denver wig). Soon after, we see the hardship Joe has to go through as it’s already December 9th and he laments, “I don’t have a tree…my life is falling apart.”
Throughout the special, I am pleasantly surprised by how dark a few of the characters, even Joe himself, become; the scene in which his friend discusses that rivers could solve mankind’s issues is probably my favorite scene where we see that Joe is a real person who is aware of real-life tragedies outside of his tree-less home (and I can’t spoil ALL the lines for you, they’re too good). The end of the special closes with the concert he’s been preparing for and the children give him a Christmas surprise.
FINAL WORDS: A review of this special can’t do it justice. You’ll just have to watch it