Mel Brooks’ “History of the World, Part I” was a successful project in terms of giving the audience something fresh and exciting that embodies a totally different concept of humor and depicts true events with a great parody. After about 40 long years, the 1981 film was renewed by Hulu for a sequel, “History of the World, Part II,” which was released on March 6, 2023. Here’s a quick recap of the events and a detailed review of the first two episodes of the series.
Typical Mel Brooks
The first episode starts with Mel Brooks as his 1981 self; the old face of Brooks has morphed into a great physique, and he explains what the show is all about and what we can expect.
The Civil War
Brooks sarcastically remarks that the first episode is enlightening about the Civil War, or 1860s, and not the one coming up in 2024. The south was on its last legs as the Union army closed in, and the head of the army was Ulysses S. Grant (Ike Barinholtz). President Lincoln (Timothy Simons) engages Ulysses in conversation and asks him to take care of his son, Robert Todd Lincoln (Nick Robinson).
The Kama Sutra
The very talented Kumail Nanjiani explains sex positions by adding soup as a constant and calling it Kama Souptra, which is ridiculously funny.
The Russian Revolution
The Romanov family clings to power as they talk about being reinstated as the rightful rulers of Russia. Rasputin’s (Johnny Knoxville’s) quick cameo is somewhat hilarious. Anastasia (Dove Cameron), a young Romanov girl making videos on social media, mocking the norms and barriers of the time period, watches the white army shoot the entire Romanov family, but she still indulges in the video to show her grief.
Other Events And Connections
The discovery of fire being mocked by the Stone Age people who created fire for smoking and the appearances of Shakespeare and Hitler on an ice skating rink are the hilarious events of the initial episodes.
Episodes 1 & 2: A Detailed Review
Master of parody and EGOT-winning actor and director Mel Brooks continues to abuse Hollywood’s obsession with sound. From casting “Spaceballs 2” and the hunt for more capitalization in the original “Spaceballs” to naming his 1981 sketch comedy film “History of the World, Part I,” it’s been his walking ape light for decades, even if he’s never had a plan of effects. Now he’ll have the final laugh with Hulu’s “History of the World Part II,” a stellar sequel starring the comedy stars. Brooks boldly introduces himself at the start of Part 2 of “The History of the World,” saying, “To some of you, I am a hero; for others, a mere legend.”
The 96-year-old needs no false modesty, and he’s still quite entertaining as a narrator and penman, starring Nick Kroll, Wanda Sykes, Ike Barinholtz, and David Stassen. They have assembled vignettes that skillfully recall millions of comedies and ironically depict the history of the world. There are moments in the first two episodes that sound like classic Brooks, especially the parody of Fiddler on the Roof with Kroll playing Schmuck Mudman’s ill-fated Jewish town, who uses the same ridiculous voice for loudmouth use. Made by the equally forgetful Coach Steve. Kroll is perfect for this design as he follows in Brooks’ footsteps with the first musical rooted in the Jewish experience since the Bat Mitzvah holiday broke out in the first season of Big Mouth. As the musical number was a tape section of World History Part 1 and a climax of Big Mouth, the first two storylines can indeed stand.
Nick Kroll Is A Great Fit For The Series
Nick Kroll is perfect for this collection. Kroll also stars as Judas Iscariot, who appears on a panel titled “Check Your Judaism,” a perfect parody of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, the show’s guest-starring cast. Brooks has already done The Last Supper in World History Part I, so reading the story feels almost redundant, but Kroll mixes the sour character of Larry David with his role as Nu Skin in the league, inspired by the thrilling excitement of J.B. Smoove and Richard Soort, Beyond the Universal. The debut is also reminiscent of the invention of fire, this time with a weaker creative spark, resulting in a one-note stoner monkey glow that always greets him.
The pacing was the biggest problem with the first part of the world story, and it still is. Brooks’ “more is more” approach to comedy means the jokes can become nonsensical pivots, but the legs don’t drag for long. A pardonable luxury, of course, since the verbosity of the sketches can sometimes be a source of humor, like the D-Day clip suggesting that Gary has hit rock bottom in the American World Police.
Part 2 Is Diverse And Less Eurocentric
World History, Part II, is less Eurocentric than the original and is supported by a more diverse set of inspirations and talents. Kumail Nanjiani brings his captivating and straightforward presentation to the launch of Kama Souptra, a cookbook that combines recipes and guides to sex positions, filled with clever puns and “Spaceballs” sharp humor. Likewise, Sykes provides a truly valuable history lesson by riffing on the Jeffersons’ portrayal of Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman in Congress. With expert help from one of the show’s many unexpected guest stars, the skit highlights black sitcom tropes while providing another great outlet for Kroll, whose impressive Henry Kissinger is reminiscent of Henry Killinger from “The Venture Bros.”
“History of the World, Part II” shares some of the same structure as D.C.’s “Legends of Tomorrow,” mixing historical events with great works of pop culture. Touchstones’ influence ranges from the Russian Revolution, and Marco Polo’s travels to Jackass and Punk’d. Even without all the gags, there were enough laughs at the premiere that I’m curious to see where the continuing storylines go and all the great moments that Brooks and company can cram into the next six episodes and icons of the comedy.