A solid, funny continuation of history poked fun at by Mel Brooks and new comedy talents.
What started off as a joke at the end of Mel Brooks’ “History of the World: Part I,” ends up having a 42-year-old sequel on Hulu. Mel Brooks is still alive to produce and co-star with Nick Kroll, Ike Barinholtz, and Wanda Sykes. Actually, Brooks narrates, but still good enough for me. And Kroll, Barinholtz, and Sykes all appear in various roles.
You a number of guest stars like Danny DeVito as Czar Nicholas II, Seth Rogen as Noah, Josh Gad as William Shakespeare, Jack Black as Joseph Stalin, Jay Ellis as Jesus Christ, and many others like Kumail Nanjani, the “Jackass” crew, Zazie Beatz, Fred Armisen, Pamela Adlon, Lauren Laupkis, Jason Alexander, and Rob Corddry come in for the fun.
Do we really need Anastasia (Dove Cameron) doing YouTube videos or Rasputin farting or Jesus stepping in Camel sh*t? No, not really? These types of gags are generic and over the top.
But is it worthy of your time? Yes, because it’s often funny and interesting the way it plays more like a sketch comedy series than a movie. It makes sense, especially since Nick Kroll was the star of “Kroll Show.” And he, Barinholtz, and Sykes all do good work as various characters. You get Kroll as a Russian-Jewish mudpie salesman, you have Barinholtz as Ulysses S. Grant, and you have Sykes as Harriet Tubman.
When we see WWII soldiers vomiting on boats, it’s disgustingly fun. When historic figures use modern amenities, it’s proof it’s Mel Brooks material. He may have stopped directing movies after the failures of “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” and “Dracula: Dead and Loving It,” but his spirit will never cease to delight us.
Two episodes are premiering on Hulu these next few days, and it’s always exciting to see what comedy star will spoof a historic figure-good or bad. And I assure you: with all these big names, it’s nowhere near as offensive, awful, or ugly as “Movie 43” was. This is miles and miles and miles and miles ahead of that.
When my mother asked if she had to see “Part I,” I said: “You have to know what you’re getting yourself into.” It’s an underrated classic, and 42 years later, we have a show that may be considered underrated in the future. I had to know what I was getting myself into before I saw the first few episodes. And while the classic film is better, this one is runner’s up. I can’t wait to see the rest. And I’m not the critic who would pee on this cave painting.
2 Episodes Premiering Each Night on Hulu