Creators, cast and network executives recount the strange history of the Dana Carvey Show, the irreverent prime time sketch comedy show that aired for eight episodes on ABC, following its star's meteoric run on Saturday Night Live.
Featuring rare and never before seen footage, this is the mind boggling story of The National Lampoon from its subversive and electrifying beginnings, to rebirth as an unlikely Hollywood heavyweight, and beyond. A humour empire like no other, the impact of the magazines irreverent, often shocking, sensibility was nothing short of seismic: this is an institution whose (drunk stoned brilliant) alumni left their fingerprints all over popular culture. Both insanely great and breathtakingly innovative, The National Lampoon created the foundation of modern comic sensibility by setting the bar in comedy impossibly high.
Henry Beard, Himself:
It was like we had an attic full of culture that had been accumulating from 1945 to 1970. And we opened the trap door and nobody had been up there. And we just basically looted it!
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It's notable that none of the truly successful / funny people who got their start via Lampoon- related ventures (Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, etc.) are in this movie, vouching for the quality of the Lampoon. Why is this? Because they owe their start to Second City, not to the Lampoon. Just as the Lampoon blames Lorne Michaels for taking "their" talent wholesale, they took this talent from Second City - people like John Belushi, Gilda Radner etc. ever wrote for or even had anything to do with the Lampoon. Animal House had a few laughs and, as noted in the movie, created a genre, but a realistic viewer will suspect the laughs are the result of (non-Lampoon) Harold Ramis. Caddyshack was crap. P. J. O'Rourke is (still) a pompous, unfunny drunk / conservative. Chevy Chase is here, promoting the Lampoon because the Lampoon is affiliated with his glory years 3 decades ago. The National Lampoon may have been considered shocking, new, or different, but it simply wasn't as funny as this movie makes it out to be. A truly timeless work will stand on its own. What is the legacy of the Lampoon? Quite a few people spell it out in this movie: "tits". Pictures of breasts and juvenile cartoons. Breasts are great, but (generally) not funny. If the Lampoon had classic, funny articles, people would still be referencing them (people still reference the Marx Brothers or Shakespeare). But they don't - why do you think that is?
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