The background on how the Tonight Show's "Song for Mormons" came to be

Late-night television audiences have come to expect zany song-and-dance numbers from Conan O’Brien’s “The Tonight Show,” but the show’s recent Mormon Christmas send-up actually had its roots in an unusual place: an offline brainstorming session among progressive Jewish bloggers.

The backstory started earlier this month when Tablet magazine published a story on a Chanukah song written by Orrin Hatch, a Mormon Republican senator from Utah. In response, blogger Larry Yudelson posted a query to his fellow Jewschool.com contributors wondering if “there are any special Mormon holidays for which we can return the favor?”

In response, Jewschool managing editor Alana Suskin mused, “Wouldn’t it be off the charts funny to do a [Jewschool] holiday song for Mormons?"

Trouble was, they couldn’t think of any special Mormon celebrations.

What next?

“We were geeky," Yudelson said. "We did some research.”

Suskin said that various holiday ideas were bounced around, including Pioneer Day, a July commemoration of the westward journey of the Mormons to the Salt Lake Valley.

In the end, she said, it was decided that the Dec. 23 birthday of Mormon founder and prophet Joseph Smith lent perfect seasonal timing to the idea of a holiday-themed song.

Read the rest of this story at jta.org
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