All Of The Celebrity Appearances in ‘A Very Murray Christmas,’ Ranked
Bill Murray’s A Very Murray Christmas special dropped last Friday on Netflix, to the delight of twee and Bill Murray ironic t-shirt wearing audiences everywhere. The show was a delightful excuse to watch Bill Murray drink in a hotel and sing Christmas songs with his famous friends while Sofia Coppola did Sofia Coppola things, which everybody knows is at the true heart of the spirit of Christmas.
But in a movie that was essentially a 58-minute parade of people who are more accomplished than you, who stood out as the best? We ranked all 14 celebrity appearances in the special, according to a rigorously subjective analysis of who was the most talented, goofiest, and best fit for Murray’s show.
14. Dimitri Dimitrov
Apparently Dimitri Dimitrov is Los Angeles’ most famous maitre d’, not bad for a cast member who tails Bill Murray around for most of the special, and definitely enough to earn him the championship belt as the most famous (presumably) Moldovan actor ever.
13. David Johansen
The former New York Dolls lead singer may have looked like a cross between Fred Armisen’s Lawrence Welk and present day Bob Dylan, but that didn’t stop him from going balls to the wall with his part as a bartender with the baritone of David Bowie and the wardrobe of an androgynous Elvis Costello.
12. Amy Poehler
Who doesn’t love Amy Poehler? She’s great no matter what, although it’s a little disappointing to see her comedic presence wasted on a needling producer character who exits the stage far too soon.
11. Michael Cera
Finally, at long last, Michael Cera plays a bold and assertive male character who suavely maneuvers through the complex world of adult relationships.
Wait no, just kidding, this is Michael Cera we’re talking about.
10. George Clooney
Is George Clooney funny? I don’t think George Clooney is funny, but I do think that he very badly wants us to think he’s funny. Or at least the little tuxedo’d robot operating George Clooney’s bodily movements from inside Clooney’s quaff wants us to think he’s very funny when he sings “Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin’,” which, to be fair, is funny. Although not as funny as the Monuments Men put-downs sprinkled into the beginning of the special.
8. (tied) Jason Schwartzman and Rashida Jones
Schwartzman and Murray may be nearly two decades removed from Rushmore, but their hip sentimentality still works together, especially over a drink. Schwartzman and Jones’ “I Saw The Light (Only You)” might not be a Christmas song, but it still fits the earnestly hip tone of the show, although if Schwartzman’s character is dumb enough to make Rashida Jones angry on their wedding night, he doesn’t deserve her in the first place.
7. Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus reminds everybody that she can, in fact, sing as she busts the hell out of “Silent Night” and a few other numbers. It doesn’t hurt either that her Santa Claus outfit rivals her MJ uniform in terms of sheer ability to spread Christmas cheer.
6. Chris Rock
For a Bill Murray movie, A Very Murray Christmas isn’t particularly laugh-out-loud funny. Chris Rock’s screen time on the show, however, is the most joyful five minutes of the special, especially watching turtleneck-clad Rock and Murray play it straight through the most incredible rendition of “Do You Hear What I Hear” you can find on Netflix.
Phoenix’s performance of the long-lost Beach Boys Christmas song “Alone on Christmas Day” is a gem among gems. We should have guessed that perennial indie darling Sofia Coppola would choose perennial indie darling Phoenix to break out the jams with perennial indie darling Bill Murray.
4. Jenny Lewis
Bill Murray and Jenny Lewis might not be dating, but Bill Murray definitely isn’t kidding when he hits on her during their “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” And honestly, who can blame him?
3. Maya Rudolph
Holy shit Maya Rudolph’s got pipes! Why did nobody tell us Maya Rudolph could sing like that? Rudolph absolutely eviscerates her version of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” which edges out Murray’s opening “Christmas Blues” as the best song of the special.
2. Bill Murray
Murray’s Christmas special was everything we could expect: dry, witty, earnest, and good-humored. Nothing more, and not much less. Rather than put on pretensions or take the easy way out and laugh at itself, Murray and co. created everything a Christmas special should be — a light, easily-digestible piece of joy that was happily given to us by its cheerful star.
1. Paul Shaffer
Don’t trust what the “media” or “IMDb” or “Vulture” may try and tell you — Paul Shaffer is the true star of A Very Murray Christmas. The man twinkles the ivories with charismatic ease, bald head bobbing like the ice in Murray’s tumbler all the way. Just as Letterman was nothing without his hoarse, goblin-descended band leader, Murray’s special is carried by the jazz-inflected accompaniment of the sunglassio’d Shaffer, who absolutely steals the show.