History of the World, Part II is Worth The Wait

At long last, History of the World, Part II is finally seeing the light of day and the sketch comedy series is worth the 40-plus year wait.

I never thought I’d see the day. I binge-watched the eight episodes almost as quickly as Hulu sent the screeners. Listen, I know the series is premiering on a Jewish holiday but try and fit in some time to watch the two episodes as soon as possible. Believe me, you do not want to be the person missing out on discussions during the Purim Seudah. Now, I know that not all of my readership is Jewish but there is a strong overlap when it comes to Jews and Mel Brooks fans. I know this because I fall into both categories with films like Blazing Saddles being among the best comedies ever made. Our parents start us young! The fact that this sketch series is dropping on Purim just might be a coincidence but let’s just think of it as a weeklong Purim spiel.

I’ll get into more of the hysterics below the poster.

History of the World, Part II
General Grant (Ike Barinholtz), Shirley Chisholm (Wanda Sykes), Schmuck Mudman (Nick Kroll), Princess Anastasia (Dove Cameron), Jesus Christ (Jay Ellis), Mary Magdelene (Zazie Beetz), Noah (Seth Rogen), Fanny Mudman (Pamela Adlon), William Shakespeare (Josh Gad), Kublai Khan (Ronny Chieng), Kama Sutra writer (Kumail Nanjiani), Amelia Earhart (Hannah Einbinder) and Mel Brooks (himself), shown, on the History of the World, Part II — Season 1 artwork. (Courtesy of Hulu)

The above poster gives you an idea of what to expect during the eight-episode series. Much like the film that preceded it, there are some blackout sketches and sketches that run the course of the entire season. At no point does it feel like any sketch has run beyond its expiration date. This is a writers’ room that knows what works and what doesn’t. The trailer gives you a brief idea of the hysterics taking place but of course, that’s not all. If you know Mel Brooks, you know to expect some fun songs–including one about the North during the Civil War, sung by Private Mason Dixon (Tyler James Williams) and Lt. Henry Honeybeard (Tim Baltz). This is a song that is truly worthy of an Emmy.

The season mainly focuses on the Civil War, Russian Revolution, Jesus, and Shirley Chisholm. There are no shortage of laughs and they even find some time to poke fun at other topical material. I absolutely love how they present the Shirley Chisholm bit as a late 1960s sitcom. The other bits have the typical Mel Brooks twist. But again, it’s so much fun getting to watch things happen as they may. No matter which comedian is on screen, you can certainly tell that they’re having fun. Plus, we get to see Noah (Seth Rogen) on the Ark with puppies and you cannot go wrong with puppies!

History of the World, Part II
Luke (J.B. Smoove), Jesus (Jay Ellis), and Mark (Ike Barinholtz), shown, in History of the World, Part II — Episode 106. (Photo by: Patrick Wymore/Hulu)

You cannot have a sketch comedy series without some sort of topical humor. In this case, the Sermon on the Mound gets The Beatles: Get Back treatment. I may be Jewish but you’ve got to admire the approach to what’s taking place on screen. Honestly, I wanted this bit to be longer because of the humor and well, the music.

History of the World, Part II features so many comedians, some catchy music that could be in play during awards season, and every one gets a chance to shine. If it is not too much to ask, please do not make us wait another forty years. It is way too many years of having to wander in the comedy desert…

DIRECTORS: Alice Mathias, David Stassen, Nick Kroll, Lance Bangs
WRITERS: Ike Barinholtz, Emmy Blotnick, Guy Branum, Mel Brooks, Owen Burke, Adam Countree, Lance Crouther, Ana Fabrega, Fran Gillespie, Janelle James, Jennifer Kim, Nick Kroll, Sergio Serna, David Stassen, Wanda Sykes
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Mel Brooks, Kevin Salter, Nick Kroll, Wanda Sykes, Ike Barinholtz, David Stassen, Christie Smith
NARRATOR: Mel Brooks
CAST: Mel Brooks, Wanda Sykes, Nick Kroll, Ike Barinholtz
GUEST STARRING: Pamela Adlon, Zazie Beetz, Dove Cameron, Ronnie Chieng, Danny DeVito, Jay Ellis, Josh Gad, Jack McBrayer, Kumail Nanjiani, Seth Rogen

Hulu will premiere History of the World, Part II with two episodes on March 6, 2023. Two episodes will drop daily through the finale on March 9. Grade: 4/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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