HISTORY OF THE WORLD: PART II
Starring: Wanda Sykes, Nick Kroll, Ike Barinholtz, and Mel Brooks
Creator: Mel Brooks
I haven’t seen Mel Brooks’ History of the World: Part I in maybe 25 years, and while I remember finding it funny, I admit that I was a fairly non-discerning teenager. However, to the discerning adult that I have become, Part II is aggressively unfunny, which is wild given the A-listers that show up. Like any anthology, it can be hit and miss, but even the relative “hits” (a generous term) barely elicit a chuckle, not to mention the skits are oddly repetitive. It’s easy to see why Hulu quietly dumped all eight episodes of this poor man’s Saturday Night Live over four consecutive weekdays.
You know that face you make when you give a matter-of-fact smirk, as if to say “ah, I got that reference”? That’s about the best reaction History of the World: Part II got out of me, and it didn’t come frequently. The idea for many of these skits is clever, but that initial cleverness seldom translates into laughs. I'd question whether maybe this just wasn’t for me, but I grew up a fan of shows like Mad TV, and this is barely even a comparison. In fact, this falls much closer to the brutally unfunny Mad TV revival from 2016.
As a massive fan of Mel Brooks and History Of The World: Part I, my hype was through the roof when I found out about History Of The World: Part II, and it did not disappoint… for the most part. When it attempts modern references, it falls a little flat, and the meta humor ranges from really funny to a little too on the nose. Still, the vast majority of the series is exactly what I wanted: a bunch of hilariously silly history lessons with a funny cast of characters and cameos. It’s a hard show not to be delighted by.
While it took over 40 years to receive a follow-up to History of the World: Part I, I’m here to report that this over-the-top sequel is a mixed bag. Fans of Mel Brooks and the movie will definitely have some chuckles here and there, but even with a stacked cast of comedians, History of the World: Part II falls flat due to its bad dad jokes and feeling tedious AF. The only thing this series has going for it besides its fun cameos is its runtime. The 30-minute sketches only work as well as they do because they feel like they are designed as SNL meets Drunk History skits.