Exploring the “Wackiest” Historical Figures in History of the World, Part II
The landscape of contemporary comedy cinema was populated by two distinct categories: feature-length films, such as Mel Brooks’ “Blazing Saddles” (and “Young Frankenstein” (), “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (and “Monty Python’s Life of Brian” (), and the Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker classics “Airplane!” (and “The Naked Gun” (); as well as rapid-fire collections of sketches typically compiled together to attain movie length, such as Ken Shapiro’s “The Groove Tube” ().
Two of director Mel Brooks’ films, Young Frankenstein (and History of the World, Part I (), featured a comedic examination of the Stone Age, the Old Testament, the Roman Empire and beyond, with the latter culminating in an fictitious trailer for History of the World, Part II. Until now, no such sequel was ever released. However, the recently released series from Hulu, History of the World, Part II, continues in the same tradition, presenting historical events with a blend of humor, political incorrectness and a mixture of jokes from both vaudeville-style corniness to current meta humor that references other films by Brooks. Additionally, traditional routines are also included.
The comedy presented in this production is often funnier than the continuous stream of jokes seen on social media. Although some bits of humour may not be as successful and seem to drag, a majority produce knowing chuckles and even some laugh-out-loud moments. At times, the parody is so accurate that it almost serves as a tribute rather than criticism, for example when the characters involved in the ‘Russian Revolution’ story thread sing about their hopes and dreams in a manner extremely reminiscent of an Act closing musical number typically seen in Broadway theatre before Intermission.
At the outset of the series, American treasure Mel Brooks, who is years old, remarked Hello! I’m American treasure Mel Brooks. To some of you, I’m a hero; to others, merely a legend. Serving as the executive producer and narrator with comedic stalwarts Nick Kroll, Wanda Sykes and Ike Barinholtz leading the creative team, the show also features appearances from Kumail Nanjiani, J.B. Smoove, Quinta Brunson, Pamela Adlon, Danny DeVito, Zazie Beetz, Jay Ellis and Seth Rogen to name only a few.
The review presents admiration for the production values of this series of sketches honouring Shirley Chisholm (Sykes), paying homage to s sitcoms such as “Good Times” and “The Jeffersons.” Additionally, a notable parody of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” is featured, titled “Curb Your Judaism” and starring Kroll as Judas alongside some regulars from the Larry David show. Dove Cameron also impresses in her role as Anastasia, an egocentric social media influencer who conducts monologues in front of a camera.
Greetings all, I am Princess Anastasia. Recently, I have noticed an abundance of comments expressing hardship and monetary strain. In order to alleviate this, I thought it wise to demonstrate how to effectively de-contour your cheeks for today’s tutorial. Furthermore, a parody of The Beatles: Get Back has been adapted to reflect the current era, evidenced by a reference to Hulu within the series itself. Ultimately everyone is expected to communicate as if living in the twenty-first century.
What we can learn
In conclusion, Sykes is a clever series of sketches that pays homage to classic sitcoms and parodies modern-day culture. It has impressively high production values, as well as a powerful lead performance from Wanda Sykes, an impressive and witty cameo from Kroll, and an inspired appearance by Dove Cameron. Through these elements, the show combines comedy with serious messages about the power of women in the entertainment industry and stereotypes in popular culture. Ultimately, it proves itself to be an entertaining watch with something relevant to say.