Jimmy Kimmel enlisted country star Chris Stapleton to hawk a fake COVID-19-era Christmas album on his late-night TV talk show on Wednesday night (Nov. 11) — and, honestly? We’d buy it.
In the Jimmy Kimmel Live! sketch, Stapleton advertises A Very COVID Christmas, his first holiday album. Its future Christmas classics include “Disinfect the Halls,” “Oh, Cover Your Mouth-Hole,” “Coughing Around the Christmas Tree,” “Oh, Clorox Wipes,” “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Pneumonia,” “Oh, CDC” and more — “all the holiday hits you love, with a bleak 2020 twist.”
Performing in a mask and face shield, Stapleton really sells the rewritten, but still festive, tunes. (Then again, as he proved during a 2016 Kimmel sketch, Stapleton can pretty much sing anything and make it sound good.)
Kimmel’s introduction for Stapleton’s faux ad played off the rash of positive COVID-19 diagnoses within the country music community ahead of Wednesday night’s 2020 CMA Awards ceremony. Lee Brice and Florida Georgia Line‘s Tyler Hubbard revealed early that they’d tested positive in the lead-up to the awards show and could no longer attend or perform, while in the minutes leading up to the event, Rascal Flatts and fiddler Jenee Fleenor revealed that they, too, would have to sit the CMAs out due to COVID diagnoses. Additionally, Lady A excused themselves from attending after someone in one of their immediate families tested positive.
The 2020 CMA Awards took place live at Nashville’s Music City Center. Rigorous testing, as well as other protocols, were in place for the night, but after artists and their guests were spotted maskless at tables and mingling on the show floor, the Country Music Association issued a statement further clarifying its policies.
“We are following all protocols that have been put in place by the CDC as well as the creative unions to ensure we provide the safest environment possible. Prior to even stepping onto our footprint at MCC, every single person (including artists and their reps) was required to be tested, with many testing repeatedly throughout the week as an extra measure of precaution,” said a representative on behalf of the CMA. “Just as with COVID regulations at restaurants, all in attendance are required to wear a mask any time they leave their assigned seat. Staff and crew are also required to wear PPE at all times and, of course, practice social and physical distancing. Tables are spaced eight feet apart with no more than four people seated per table.”
Stapleton, who performed with wife Morgane during the 2020 CMA Awards, will release a real, non-holiday-themed new album on Friday (Nov. 13). Starting Over is the singer’s fourth studio album since 2015.