Why I Love Emily and Nate Heller’s “Thanksgiving Jam” 2016

“Thanksgiving Jam” is an annual tradition. It’s a totem, a grounding element. It reminds me what I’m thankful for: comedy, weirdos, creative energy, music, friends and family. Emily Heller is a comedian, writer and actor known for role in TBS’ “Ground Floor”, her Comedy Central “The Half Hour” and her podcast Baby Geniuses. Nate Heller is a songwriter and composer with credits in films like “Diary of a Teenage Girl” and “MacGruber”. Together they make each other laugh, make art, and make me laugh. “Thanksgiving Jam” will always be funny. There’s something new to appreciate every year. Here’s what I noticed, and loved, in my latest dalliance.


Reasons Why I love Emily and Nate Heller’s “Thanksgiving Jam” 2016


  1. This video complements its time. The post-Youtube, pre-Facebook Video era. Thanksgiving Jam is rife with off aspect ratios and jitters. It also feels like friends goofing off, for no money, being creative for creativity’s sake. The video isn’t a viral darling, or a deep dive gem, or a ironically-adopted cult phenomenon. It’s personal and awesome.
  2. Catchy. Nate Heller is a versatile musician. Whether with a DAW, a live band, or from the sound of it, an old Casio keyboard and an older four track recorder.
  3. It’s a Thanksgiving song, not entirely about Thanksgiving, but totally what Thanksgiving should be about. Everybody should be thankful, there are so many things to be thankful for, the Pilgrims were dicks, it’s not about deities, and everybody should dance. Also, not a lot of songs about Thanksgiving. This music video is an automatic win for an underserved holidays.
  4. Funny songs are hit or miss. Some are just stockpiled references, some are technically terrible, some are sweaty and unaware (i.e. cringeworthy), some just aren’t funny. This is funny in reasons I can grasp and in reasons I can’t put my finger on. It’s goofy, it’s weird, it’s self-referential and meta, it’s hammy and confident.
  5. This is a historical document for a noteworthy time in San Francisco comedy. We still had the Dark Room, the Business, and karaoke after the Punch Line. Everyone in this video are or will be widely known as great comedians. Each are uniquely hilarious. Anyone familiar with Emily, Chris Thayer, Alex Koll, Chris Garcia knows how funny they are. Anyone one who hasn’t checked them out totally should.
  6. 2016 has been frightening. A spiraling, sinking, sickening feeling from the top to bottom. I hate it. It hates me back. Still, my cosmic anxiety attack isn’t without perspective. The things I love mean more, the people I love are doing more. Now, more than ever, feels new, unburdened. I can hang to the ideals and aspirations that made me who I am. I can use those things to fight for my future.
  7. 2016 has been frightening. Emily Heller making goofy faces provides comfort and levity.


Image by Mindy Tucker

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