‘History of the World, Part II’ Delivers Mel Brooks’s Delightful Brand of Humor

Ulises Duenas


It’s a blessing that Mel Brooks is not only still around, but still producing entertainment. He seems to have the magic touch, where one can’t help but laugh at something he’s in or creates, and this holds true with Hulu’s new series “History of the World, Part II.”


This is a sketch show that serves as a follow-up to the movie of the same name that was released in 1981. It has a cast full of veteran comedians like Nick Kroll, Pamela Adlon, Wanda Sykes, and Jack Black. The whole series is a sequence of parodies that skip around different historical periods and events like the Civil War, the Bolshevik Revolution, and World War II. One of my favorites was the story of Jesus Christ, which was framed like an episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”


The curse of most sketch shows is that by their very nature, you’re bound to get a few duds and this show is not without parts that fall flat. Thankfully, there are many more hits than misses, but some of the misses are bad enough that you’ll want to skip right through them --  like the skit where Seth Rogen plays Noah and his ark only has dogs. 


While many of the sketches are parts of a long story told sporadically, some of the best ones are just one-shot ideas. That means if one series of skits isn’t entertaining, you’ll have to suffer through more of them in different episodes. It’s an idea that pays off well when it works, but also becomes a bigger issue when it doesn’t. 


While a lot of the sketches have a Mel Brooks feel to them, some just seem like regurgitations of other ideas that you’d see in a bad “SNL” skit or a random show with half the budget and a weaker cast.



I wouldn’t expect Brooks to be at the helm of each idea, but some more quality control would have been appreciated. The good news is that the better sketches top a lot of you’d see on other comedy shows these days.


Brooks has always been an acquired taste, and although this show can’t hang with the likes of “Blazing Saddles” or “Robin Hood,” it lands more often than it misses. An episode of “History of the World, Part II” makes for a good break from the many dramas that consume TV right now, and hopefully Mel Brooks has more of his own ideas to offer down the road.


"History of the World Part, II" is streaming on Hulu.


Author Bio:

Ulises Duenas is a senior writer at Highbrow Magazine.


For Highbrow Magazine


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