Seth MacFarlane is known for his musical numbers in his animated comedies Family Guy and American Dad!, as well as his semi-disastrous stab at hosting the Oscars. Now he will parlay that enthusiasm into the most wonderful time of the year: the 40-year-old has recorded a Christmas album, featuring guest spots from Norah Jones and Sara Bareilles, which will be released this year.
Macfarlane assembled a crack team of swingtime greats, including former Frank Sinatra bassist Chuck Berghoffer and a 52-piece orchestra, to record the album in Abbey Road studios. Jones joins him for Little Jack Frost Get Lost, while Bareilles duets on Baby It's Cold Outside. Other songs include Let It Snow and swooning Sinatra obscurity Christmas Dreaming, all of which are arranged by longtime MacFarlane collaborator Joel McNeely.
It's far from the first airing of MacFarlane's love for swing and vocal jazz. His debut album, Music is Better Than Words, was released in 2011 and earned two Grammy nominations, and he's been a frequent Proms guest singing songs from the movies and stage. During his hosting of the 2013 Academy Awards, he sang a widely criticised song called We Saw Your Boobs, making reference to actors' nude scenes amid a high-stepping Broadway-style number; the blend of classy orchestration with bawdy humour has long been a feature of his long-running animated series Family Guy, which features a barbershop song about Aids and a big band number about Down's Syndrome.
MacFarlane's first film Ted, in which he voiced a foul-mouthed teddy bear alongside Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis, made nearly $550m worldwide – it also featured Norah Jones in a cameo role. His new movie and his first in a non-voice role, A Million Ways to Die in the West, opens on June 6 and co-stars Charlize Theron and Liam Neeson in a comedy set during the Wild West. As well as starring, MacFarlane directed, produced and wrote the script, which he has also turned into his first novel.