And you don’t need to be drunk, stoned, brilliant, or dead to appreciate it
“Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon” could not have been a better title to describe the documentary depicting the rise and fall of the nation’s most popular comedy magazine of all time. The National Lampoon was a humor magazine that lasted from 1970 to 1998 and was something that took comedy and humor to the next level. Years before Saturday Night Live was even a concept, a group of humor enthusiasts set off to examine American culture in a way that it has never been examined. Harvard grads Henry Beard, Doug Kenney, and Robert Hoffman took what was then the Harvard Lampoon and made a spinoff of it to what is now known as the National Lampoon. There was nothing that was considered off limits and what started as a jab at pop culture and media soon turned into something close to a comedy empire spanning albums, theater productions, television programs, books, radio shows, and film.
This funny and enlightening documentary follows the rise and decline of this monumental magazine outlet, interviewing comedy greats such as Chevy Chase, Kevin Bacon, Bill Murray, and more, all who were key figures in the highs of the lampoon. What was interesting about this documentary was the way that it incorporated its humor into the telling of the story. Mostly all the jabs and funny moments were pulled directly out of actual Lampoon articles, but what was great about this approach was the way the subjects interpreted the material in a modern perspective. Furthermore, it was surprising how much this documentary had to say. A humor magazine in the 70’s doesn’t seem like it would have much meat to the story, but on the contrary, there was a lot of fascinating tidbits to The National Lampoon, such as how many of its contributors went on the be the first cast and crew of Saturday Night Live. This documentary tells a vivid story about the lives of the people who started the Lampoon as well as depicting the ins and outs of what it was like to work at the Lampoon. This film will not fail to make you laugh and draw you in as an audience member. It was full of entertainment and there was never a dull moment to it. Overall, this documentary did its job of telling a story, but also hit all the marks on what makes a fun, informative, and great documentary.
William Grant & Sons presented the film’s new york premiere at Sunshine Landmark. The after-party was held at the Experimental Cocktail Club where guests enjoyed specialty cocktails. The cocktail infused with “Brilliant”- Hendrick’s Gin, was the most popular. Otis Day later got in stage and performed “Shout.”