It’s something of a holiday tradition to remake classic Christmas stories in time for people to settle down for a long winters nap, but fortunately the new six-part Audible Original Christmas Delivery written and directed by UCB alum Achilles Stamatelaky and starring comic actors Gillian Jacobs and Sam Richardson is a new spin on Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol worth ho-ho-hoing to. Janeane Garofalo, Jackie Hoffman, and J.K. Simmons round out an all-star cast that delivers Christmas magic.
Jacobs plays Beth Briny, a restaurant delivery courier that hates Christmas and is trying to finish her deliveries in the snow when she hits Richardson’s Christmas Carol singing character Andy Peppers on his bicycle and is forced to take him with her all on all her deliveries in a laugh-a-minute romp through Beth’s past, present, and future where (spoiler alert) grumpy Beth re-discovers the joy of Christmas after all.
Along the way their deliveries take them to meet a madcap cast of kookie characters including a local psychic who uses Alexa, and Beth’s hero, a legendary blues musician who believed that if everyone liked his music that meant it wasn’t cool anymore. Beth’s character embodies the now almost-forgotten 90s ethos of “not selling out” by purposely liking what wasn’t popular and letting that become her identity, and the lessons that we ultimately learn through Beth’s misanthropic misadventures are meaningful ones. It turns out that hating everything that everyone else likes is not a great way to make or keep friends.
Stamatelaky’s idea for the blues legend Willie “Chunky Legs” Weldon was about finding the opposite of Christmas music and he realized it was blues which fit in with Beth hating Christmas and only liking the most obscure things possible.
The original idea for Christmas Delivery was conceived as part of an Upright Citizen’s Brigade project called Movie Cram where they tried to create and film a feature-length film in 24 hours.
Stamatelaky wanted to create someone who hated Christmas and volunteers to work on Christmas because they hate it and he had to overcome his own feelings about Christmas to deliver this miracle. He says he has a “love-hate relationship with the holidays” because there’s a lot to love with the gift-giving and a lot to feel depressed about since it’s so cold and gloomy outside.
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So his challenge was overcoming his cynicism and landing on the fun and joy of the holidays and he found the perfect cast for the job with Sam Richardson and Gillian Jacobs. He said he had them in mind for the roles from the beginning and they were able to record both of them at the same time which he says was very lucky because they have an “odd-couple” relationship and they got the idea for how to play the characters right away and didn’t require that much direction.
Between Jacobs complaining about Christmas and Richardson singing Christmas Carols every five minutes the pacing never slows down, the laughter never subsides, and this is one Christmas delivery you won’t want to miss.
Christmas Delivery is available now on Audible.