The history of the the infamous national humour magazine is told in Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon. National Lampoon was founded in 1969 by Doug Kenney, Henry Beard and Robert Hoffman, as a national spin-off of the Harvard Lampoon. The magazine was known for its boundary-pushing satirical content, which often involved some very crude humour. The National Lampoon brand would eventually expand to include musical recordings, a radio show starring Second City alumni, and number of comedy films.
The legacy of the National Lampoon can probably be best exemplified by the magazine’s infamous 1973 cover featuring a gun being pointed at a dog, with the caption “If You Don’t Buy This Magazine, We’ll Kill This Dog.” National Lampoon was a magazine that was not afraid to push buttons with its humour, which would easily offend many individuals. The National Lampoon was also a launching point of Second City alumni, such as John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Harold Ramis, and Bill Murray, through it’s radio and stage show, many of whom would move on to be part of the first cast of Saturday Night Live. Then of course, there were the National Lampoon branded comedy films of the 1970s and 1980s, such as Animal House and Vacation.
With very crude content and gratuitous nudity, the humour of the National Lampoon is probably not for everybody and might affect enjoyment of Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead. Those who do enjoy this type of lowbrow humour, will indeed find plenty to laugh at over the course of this documentary. Other than that, the film is a typical “history of” documentary, which is interesting, but kind of wanes by the end. That said, I did find it humorous that I have the same name as one of National Lampoon’s editors.
★ ★ ★ 1/2 | FAIR
- Wed, Apr 29, 3:15 PM – Hart House Theatre
- Sat May 2, 9:45 PM – Bloor Hot Docs Cinema