Sydney Film Festival 2015 - Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of National Lampoon

Next up at the Sydney Film Festival was another documentary - Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of National Lampoon. Like Lambert & Stamp, this is a straightforward documentary that follows a similar path of two very different young men creating something in reaction to post World War Two conservative western society. In this case the subject is comedy rather than music, but the trajectory is similar to that of a band making it big, setting a trend, blowing out and having a tragic end to one of the founders. Just like Lambert & Stamp. What is quite astonishing in this documentary as you track the rise of a very American style post war comedy that started out as political and social satire and ended up as frat boy humour. It is a very particular type of humour that started as the brain child of Henry Beard and Douglas Kenney, who met at Harvard University. They took what was then Harvard Lampoon and made it a national magazine. They tapped into the end of the counterculture in the USA at the beginning of the 1970s and gave the establishment the big finger. As it was said in the documentary, US culture from 1946 to 1970 with subjects such as Nixon and the Vietnam War were a rich source for satire. The National Lampoon magazine provided the Second City comedy group of John Belushi, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Harold Ramis, and Gilda Radner a stepping stone to Saturday Night Live and beyond, and launched comedy radio programs, books and finally they made it in Hollywood with Animal House.   And the rest they say is frat boy comedy history. It is an interesting documentary if you are into the history of this type of comedy and the influence it had.  Here is a great review on the documentary below.