It was only a matter of time before Santa Claus did the talk show circuit.
The bidding was furious. Everyone from Barbara Walters to Howard Stern wanted an exclusive with the old man. They all promised “fair and equal” treatment. Some offered millions of dollars. Santa said thanks, but no.
What he really wanted was to talk to all of them together.
So on Christmas Eve, in “The Mother Of All Talk Shows,” the four networks and every radio station in the country tuned in for a live Q-and-Abetween the most famous mouths — Stern, Walters, Rush Limbaugh, Oprah Winfrey, Larry King, Phil Donahue, Jay Leno, David Letterman, Arsenio Hall, Geraldo Rivera, Sally Jesse Raphael, Leeza Gibbons — and jolly old St. Nick.
Here is how it went:
KING: Hello, America! Welcome to the biggest event of the year!
DONAHUE: Who said King could open?
RIVERA: Yeah. Why not me?
SANTA: Ho, ho, ho, boys and girls, no fighting. It’s almost Christmas. Ho, ho, ho.
LETTERMAN: Santa, welcome to the show. You look great. Good to see you again.
SANTA: But you never saw me before.
LENO: Don’t mind him. He says the same thing to every guest.
STERN: Will you (bleeps) cut the (bleep)? Santa, lemme ask you something: Didja ever do it with an elf?
SANTA: Ho, ho . . . what?
STERN: C’mon, fat man. When Mrs. Claus is asleep, don’t you ever sneak downstairs, get one of those chick elves, ask her to (bleep) your (bleep) with a whipped cream (bleep)?
SANTA: Goodness. Someone isn’t getting any presents for Christmas this year.
STERN. Eat me, pal. I made $15 million while I’m sitting here.
OPRAH: Santa, my audience would like to know what diet you’re on.
SANTA: Why, the same as you, my dear.
OPRAH: Well, I never —
LIMBAUGH: You never shut up, is what you never do. Mr. Claus, isn’t it true, under the Democrats we’ll only get to keep 40 percent of our gifts this Christmas, with the rest going to entitlement programs for shiftless Americans who don’t want to work?
SANTA: Ho, ho, ho. I’m not very good at politics, I’m afraid. I believe in peace on earth and good will toward men.
RAPHAEL: Why not toward women?
HALL: Why not toward black men?
DONAHUE: What about gay men?
SANTA: It’s just an expression —
WALTERS: Santa, Barbara Walters here, ABC News. Tell us — cameraman, get the light on me — tell us, Santa — not so harsh, someone fix my hair — tell us — can I get some lip gloss? — Santa, did you cry when Rudolph died?
SANTA: But Rudolph is fine —
WALTERS: DAMN IT, CAN I GET A MAKEUP PERSON AROUND HERE?
SANTA: Are there any other quest-
GIBBONS: Santa, have you seen Elvis?
GIBBONS: Yes. Is he well?
RIVERA: Santa, my producers would like me to open your sack of gifts on national TV. We guarantee a sizable rating, and —
STERN: Come on, fat man. Fess up. You did it with a reindeer, didn’t you?
LIMBAUGH: Your elves are Mexicans!
SANTA: Children, please —
DONAHUE: It’s all right to cry, Santa. Marlo does it all the time.
OPRAH: Let me give you a hug.
HALL: No, I want to hug him!
SANTA: CHILDREN, PLEASE!
KING: Let the man speak.
SANTA: Thank you. What’s your name?
KING: Larry. Just a poor shlub from Brooklyn . . . who’d ever have believed . . . me and Santa . . . by the way, John Grisham’s new book, “The Client,” is a must read . . .
SANTA: Look. The real reason I asked to speak to you people is because I’ve had a lot of requests this year. Many requests. Countless requests, really
— involving you.
KING: They want my book, right?
LIMBAUGH: You loser, it’s my book.
STERN: You’re both full of (bleep). They want my book, then my body.
SANTA: Actually, ho, ho, ho, they all want the same thing.
SANTA: Well, they, um, ho, ho, ho, they . . . they want you to shut up.
SANTA: And I’ve decided to grant their wish.
With that, the radios went dead, the TVs went black, and the satellites shut down into a truly silent night.
People said it was the nicest Christmas they’d had in a long, long time.
Mitch Albom will sign his books “Fab Five” & “Live Albom III” Tuesday at 2 p.m., B. Dalton, Briarwood Mall, and 6:30 p.m. at Waldenbooks, John R, Madison Heights.