Connor Ratliff is a writer and improvisor in New York City. He is best known as a member of The Stepfathers, the warm-up comic for The Chris Gethard Show and the host of The George Lucas Talk Show. Ratliff’s holiday special (made with the help of Chris Gethard Show cohorts Keith Haskel and Rob Malone), The Spirit of Ratliff, goes online December 21. Ratliff is agnostic and perhaps the most passionate fan of Xmas I’ve ever met.
In your Tumblr post detailing the origins of the Spirit of Ratliff EP, you never spell out the word “Christmas.” When we transcribe this interview, should we do the same?
I think so. It’s funny, I was talking to someone last night and they were asking me about the whole special and the EP—I remember as a kid, people would say they didn’t like it when people spell “Christmas” with an X. I don’t know what the actual origin of it is, but I remember hearing so much the people didn’t like it because they felt it was X-ing out Christ, and they felt it was sacrilegious. That seems like a hostile act, whereas we were writing the songs I was making a point of what I celebrate being secular Xmas rather than the religious holiday. Even though they’re obviously connected, I do believe they are two distinct holidays that people celebrate.
It’s a visual shorthand, even though they’re pronounced the same way. I never say “Xmas” as a word. The X in Xmas is pronounced “Chris.”
The Spirit of Ratliff special is a spin-off of the Spirit of Gethard specials. In the past it has felt as though Chris [Gethard] was at the whim of whatever Keith Haskel and Rob Malone had planned, will this special have a similar feel or will it be entirely different?
I was making a joke that the first three Spirit of Gethard movies were like the first three movies in the Bourne Identity trilogy, and this one is like that fourth Bourne movie that Matt Damon wasn’t in and Jeremy Renner was. It’s of the world, but clearly not the same. Not a straight continuation.