Motown legend Smokey Robinson wildly mispronounces 'Chanukah' in Cameo video

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SCREENGRAB/TWITTER @JEFFJACOBSON
  • Screengrab/Twitter @JeffJacobson

Smokey Robinson might know a thing or two about “One Heartbeat,” but the Motown legend has no clue about eight days celebrating the Festival of Lights, at least according to a charming and totally adorable video Robinson sent to a fan via Cameo.

For the uninitiated, Cameo is a service that connects fans with celebrities who, for a fee, will record and send a personalized video. Since formally launching in 2017, more than 30,000 “celebrities” have signed on to be a part of the services, though we're not sure Ken Bone, the red sweater guy from the 2016 election town hall, constitutes a celebrity, but he's on there and charges just $25 for a video.



There are Real Housewives, 90 Day Fiancé “stars,” Donald Trump impersonators, Santa Clauses, wrestlers, gamers, Playboy playmates, influencers, and Game of Thrones' White Walkers and Night Kings. Saxman Kenny G is on there, too, for $295; as is N'Sync's Chris Kirkpatrick ($100) and Lance Bass ($249); Carole Baskin, the Tiger queen who may have fed her husband to, well, tigers ($299); Brett Favre ($400); and also Sugar Ray's Mark McGrath who is lowkey a Cameo king for $90, which he donates to charity, and introduces himself as “Mark McGrath from the band Sugar Ray, off the charts but always in your hearts.” And The Office's Kevin Malone is actually the king of Cameo, and was the app's top earner in 2020 after he raked in $1,000,000 from fan videos and chats.

But among the comic con B-squad, voice actors, and, well, Andy Dick ($99), there are a few legends — one of them being Detroit-born Motown great, Smokey Robinson.



That's right. The 80-year-old icon and, as it says in his Cameo bio, “recipient of the 2016 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for his lifetime contributions to popular music,” is available for birthday messages, anniversaries, special milestones, and, in some cases, holiday wishes, as was the case when Jeff Jacobson dished out $350 to get Robinson to send some holiday love to his mother, who had a geographical tie to the singer.

“My mom grew up on the same street as Smokey Robinson in Detroit,” Jacobson wrote on Twitter. “So for Chanukah, I wanted to reunite them via @Cameo. But the video takes a strange twist.”


“They told me you used to live in Detroit across the street from me, that's beautiful,” Robinson says in the video. “How're you doing, again? Nice talking to you, again, I guess.”

The twist? Jacobson had enlisted Robinson to wish his mother a happy Chanukah. However, the “Cruisin'” singer cannot pronounce Chanukah — a less common spelling of “Hanukkah,” or as he calls it, “Chon-nuke-ah” — nor does he know what the hell it even is.

“They wanted me to wish you a happy Chanukah,” he says. “I have no idea what Chanukah is, but happy Chanukah because they said so. Anyway, god bless you, babe, and enjoy Chanukah.”

If it were literally anyone else, like, say, Andy Dick, it would not be nearly as charming. But Robinson just really went for it, mispronouncing the Jewish holiday with the confidence of a tearless clown, and we think that is absolutely worth $350.

Happy Chon-nuke-ah, everyone!

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