Holiday bonus: ‘Kevin Geeks Out’ doubles down on Santa specials

Christmas so bright, he’s gotta wear shades: Carroll Gardens comedian Kevin Maher is expanding his pop culture empire, starting with this month’s “Kevin Geeks Out About Holiday Specials” at Alamo Drafthouse and at Nitehawk Cinema.
Brooklyn Paper
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He’s made a list, and you can check it out twice!

A Carroll Gardens comedian has assembled a show of the greatest and strangest pop culture portrayals of Santa, and audiences will get two chances to hear about the jolly old elf going toe-to-toe with Martians. The video variety show “Kevin Geeks Out About Holidays Specials” will take to the screen at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema on Dec. 9, and again in its regular space at Nitehawk Cinema on Dec. 14.

The show’s creator says holiday specials have an extra place in peoples’ hearts — which might grow three sizes while they watch.

“People tend to have an emotional connection with the holiday specials they grew up with and watched year after year,” said host Kevin Maher. “It’s fascinating to see how holiday specials are a product of their era. Some hold up over time, and some become terribly dated.”

For instance, the 1965 special “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is one example of a timeless classic, said Maher, while “It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown” from 1992 is definitely not.

“It’s like the New Coke of Christmas specials,” said Maher “We’re going to talk about it — it’s awful!”

While researching the show, Maher noticed that the holiday specials fall into two basic categories.

“There’s two classic tropes,” he said. “The ‘Christmas Carol’ template, with three ghosts, and ‘Santa can’t deliver the presents,’ so Fred Flintstone has to do it. It happens every year! It’s like Santa hasn’t actually delivered a present in 40 years!”

During the shows, Maher and his guests will focus on different aspects of the yuletide tradition. Highlights will include an in-depth discussion of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles show “We Wish You a Turtles Christmas,” a look at World Wrestling Entertainm­ent’s annual holiday stunts, and an analysis of the formula followed by every holiday special on ABC Family channel.

The two shows will have some overlap, but each will have more than an hour of fresh material, said Maher, so completists may want to check out both.

If the holiday special goes well, Maher hopes to add a second show at Alamo every month, in addition to his regular gig at Nitehawk.

“It’s all part of expanding the Kevin Geeks Out empire,” said host Kevin Maher. “I know there are some schoolteachers who couldn’t come out at 9:30 on a weekday, but now we’ll have an earlier show for them.”

And Maher has another plan to expand his audience in 2017 — kid-friendly matinee performances, with an R-rated version happening later the same night.

But even when Nitehawk opens its second cinema in Park Slope, Maher is unlikely to add more shows he side, because poring through old films for the perfect segment takes too much time.

“If I’m doing a show every week, I don’t know when I would prep it,” he said. “Each show takes several weeks of research. For every clip that you see, there are five that weren’t good enough. It’s heartbreak­ing!”

“Kevin Geeks Out about Holiday Specials” at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema [445 Albee Square West between Fulton and Willoughby streets Downtown, (718) 513–2547,]. Dec. 9 at 7:30 pm. $15.

And at Nitehawk Cinema [136 Metropolitan Ave. between Wythe Avenue and Berry Street in Williamsburg, (718) 384–3980,]. Dec. 14 at 9:30 pm. $16.

Reach arts editor Bill Roundy at or by calling (718) 260–4507.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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