BOOTLEG FILES 407: “How the Grinch Stole Kwanzaa” (2005 viral video that features unauthorized slices of Dr. Seuss and Bill Cosby).

LAST SEEN: Available on numerous online video sites.


REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Oh, do you really have to ask?


Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known by the pen name Dr. Seuss, was responsible for some of the most imaginative stories of the 20th century. But even the excessively fertile imagination of Dr. Seuss could never have conceived that his beloved holiday tale “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” would one day wind up on the Internet with some very significant changes to its text – not the least being the import of some of the most politically incorrect R-rated humor ever put on a soundtrack.

“How the Grinch Stole Kwanzaa” pulls a bootleg double play by hijacking the 1966 Chuck Jones-directed television production “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and footage of Bill Cosby from his “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids” days. Now, you may be wondering what these two extremely different cultural classics have in common. Well, if you are not easily offended, allow me to explain.

In this version, Bill Cosby (or a fairly reasonable vocal facsimile) informs the bewildered viewer that the “old cracker” Grinch lives in a cave that overlooks the town of Hoville. Not Whoville – that is the Dr. Seuss version. The Grinch hates the Hos in Hoville, but the reason is not immediately clear. The faux-Cosby wonders if it is because his skin is too white, or perhaps because “his dick is two sizes too small.”

The Grinch is agitated by the Hos’ lifestyle and berates them for “living on welfare and drinking malt liquor.” He also hates how the Hos spend much of their time having sex – a point that is illustrated by a liberal mix of the Chuck Jones TV special with footage from porno films. Cosby also gets in on the Hos’ act – he is shown on screen with (via clever editing) blonde sluts from skin flicks that are supposedly going down on him.

Anyhow, the Grinch wants to put a stop to the Hos and their holiday hedonism. “Why for 53 years I’ve put up with this s**t,” he exclaims. “I must stop this Kwanzaa now before I throw a m***********g fit!”

The Grinch decides to disrupt the Hos’ Kwanzaa celebration by dressing up in a scary outfit. He plans to create a Ku Klux Klan outfit, but since he only has red fabric he winds up with a Santa suit.

The Grinch arrives in Hoville while all of the Hos are asleep. But once he enters the first house on the square, he is shocked to discover there is nothing to steal – the Hos are so poor that their homes have almost nothing of value. But the Grinch decides to raid the icebox and steals a bunch of crummy food, including a six-pack of Nehi Grape Soda. (Huh?)

But whereas the original Grinch is temporarily interrupted by little Cindy Lou Who (who was no more than two), this cracker Grinch is met by Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. Hey, hey, hey! The Grinch then engages this group in a series of “Your mama” snaps, with Fat Albert going overboard in comparing the Grinch’s mama to a bowling ball. (And, no, I am not going to share the joke – even I have some limits to what I am willing to put into print!)

Needless to say, the Grinch manages to take whatever he can grab, but he cannot stop Kwanzaa from coming. Having learned his lesson, the returns the stolen merchandise to the Hoville denizens and provides Fat Albert and his pals with a video copy of “Black Spring Break 2.”  And a beleaguered Cosby, frustrated with the Grinch’s antics, bawls out, “You’re so white, you thought Malcolm X was Malcolm the Tenth.”

The obvious question at this point is: Who the hell is responsible for this film? The answer is: I don’t know. The anonymous individual behind this film has also created a number of politically incorrect shorts that “borrowed” classic animation and added new blue-streak soundtracks, which were then released under the banner of Most Offensive Video. The most famous offering from this unknown creative artist is “A Charlie Brown Kwanzaa,” which debuted in 2002.

While this person has chosen not to make himself known, his work has caught a lot of attention – and some of it is has been problematic. YouTube deleted his account after four years and million of hits, while MySpace and Lycos have also hassled him about his off-color content and claims of copyright violation. In an e-mail that he sent to me, the filmmaker stated that he is remaining anonymous out of fear of lawsuits and the possibility of death threats.

Ultimately, the challenge is whether to identify “How the Grinch Stole Kwanzaa” as being offensive. Yes, it traffics in awful stereotype-driven humor that disappeared from mainstream culture many years ago. Yet the overkill is so anvil-heavy that it becomes more silly than scurrilous – I mean, really, referring to the Grinch as a cracker? And the idea of a family-friendly Bill Cosby do Redd Foxx-style raunchy comedy with the zany scatological narration has a lot of appeal.

But, on the other hand, the video loses a lot of focus when Fat Albert and his gang show up – that segment is weak and it throws the video out of balance. And, quite frankly, the video sort of stops without having a proper ending, as if the filmmaker ran out of ideas.

As you can imagine, this film will not be found on commercial DVD in the near future. But, for the moment, there are many online video sites that run this offering. If you really want to try something very, very different for the holidays, then check out “How the Grinch Stole Kwanzaa.” And if you hear a strange whirring sound while watching the video, don’t worry – that’s just Dr. Seuss spinning in his grave!

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The unauthorized duplication and distribution of copyright-protected material, either for crass commercial purposes or profit-free s***s and giggles, is not something that the entertainment industry appreciates. On occasion, law enforcement personnel boost their arrest quotas by collaring cheery cinephiles engaged in such activities. So if you are going to copy and distribute bootleg material, a word to the wise: don’t get caught. Oddly, the purchase and ownership of bootleg DVDs is perfectly legal. Go figure!

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