One of my first tasks when I realized my Comedy Nerdom was hunting down as many issues I could of the National Lampoon on eBay. But I was more than a little sketical about the appeal of a movie about the founding of the National Lampoon. And I have a comedy blog.
But every bit of casting I've heard about the upcoming Netflix film "A Futile & Stupid Gesture" — based on the Josh Karp book of the same name — gives me hope. Let's run through them:
- Will Forte will play National Lampoon co-founder Doug Kenney
- Domnhall Gleeson (of Star Wars: The Force Awakens) will be co-founder Henry Beard.
- Joel McHale will play Chevy Chase (1 of the 2 people who could possibly play that role... the other being Will Arnett)
- John Gemberling of Broad City will be John Belushi (I'm hard pressed to think of an alternative for that role) (the Wrap)
- And finally today it was annouced that Thomas Lennon will play comedy writer Michael O'Donohue. (Hollywood Reporter)
Most of these people are professional funny people... so they don't have to be looped in on what it is to be a funny person for a biopic. But more important is that the film will be directed by David Wain from a script by Michael Coltion and John Aboud.
That's a big deal because Wain, as a founding member of the State, knows what it's like to create a humor instituion right out of college. And as Harvard Lampoon alums, Colton and About know more a little of how rare and hard it is to create a humor institution with their attempt at creating Modern Humorist in their post graduate years. Everyone is close enough to the material to get who Doug Kenney was because they've lived a bit of it themselves, albeit at a smaller scale.
So at the very least we won't be getting someone treating comedy like Aaron Sorkin did in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Perhaps they might be too close to the experiences of the material to do it justice, but my National Lampoon-collecting cynical Comedy Nerd heart is starting to believe.
A Futile & Stupid Gesture starts production later this month.