NPR's Happy Christmas Elf: 'I'm Going to Have You Killed'

National Public Radio was replaying "holiday favorites" on Friday's Morning Edition -- to be specific, allowing humorist David Sedaris offer a very nasty take on Christmas as he played "Crumpet the Elf" at Macy's. In a seven-minute reading from his "Santaland Diaries," there's some rather shocking attempts at humor that aren't exactly warm and fuzzy.

Sedaris's elf shouted at a woman for asking where the women's bathroom was, saying it was next to the line with all the women in it. This followed: "I had two people say that to me today: 'I'm going to have you fired.' Go ahead, be my guest. I'm wearing a green velvet costume. It doesn't get any worse than this. Who do these people think they are? 'I'm going to have you fired,' and I want to lean over and say: 'I'm going to have you killed.'"

Apparently, this recounting (or embellishing) of Sedaris's actual stint at Macy's was first read on NPR's Morning Edition on December 23, 1992. It's also been turned into a one-man play for people whose Christmas season needs more vinegar.

There were also homoerotic moments in Santaland:

SEDARIS: The overall cutest elf is a fellow from Queens named Ritchie. His elf name is Snowball and he tends to ham it up with the children, sometimes tumbling down the path to Santa's house. I generally gag when elves get that cute, but Snowball is hands-down adorable. You want to put him in your pocket.

Yesterday, Snowball and I worked as Santa elves, and I got excited when he started saying things like: I'd follow you to Santa's house any day, Crumpet. It made me dizzy, this flirtation. By mid-afternoon, I was running into walls. By late afternoon, Snowball had cooled down.

By the end of our shift, we were in the bathroom changing our clothes, and all a sudden we were surrounded by five Santas and three other elves. All of them were guys that Snowball had been flirting with. Snowball just leads elves on -- elves and Santas.

Then Crumpet the Elf scared the little brats that Santa would steal everything in their house and their car if they were naughty:

A woman was standing at one of the cash registers, paying for her pictures while her son lay beneath her, kicking and heaving, having a tantrum. The woman said: "Riley, if you don't start behaving yourself, Santa is not going to bring you any of those toys you asked for."

The child said: "He is too going to bring me toys, liar. He already told me."

The woman grabbed my arm and said: "You there, elf. Tell Riley here that if he doesn't start behaving immediately, then Santa's going to change his mind and bring him coal for Christmas."

I said that Santa changed his policy and no longer traffics in coal. Instead, if you're bad, he comes to your house and steals things. I told Riley that if he didn't behave himself, Santa was going to take away his TV and all his electrical appliances and leave him in the dark.

The woman got a worried look on her face and said: "All right. That's enough." I said, "He's going to take your car and your furniture, and all of your towels and blankets and leave you with nothing." The mother said, "No, that's enough -- really."

The reading ended with another mother screaming at her daughter to stop crying on Santa's lap. NPR likes spiking the Christmas punch with some acid. It's all kind of Sed-arid.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis