Hollywood actor-director Mel Brooks came up with the title to his 1981 comedy feature ‘History of the World, Part I’ as a joke. There were never any plans to make a Part II. But now, things seem to be changing.
As the streaming revolution took hold, Brooks, his producing partner Kevin Salter and rightsholder Searchlight Pictures decided to explore a long overdue sequel, but in series form, reports ‘Variety’.
That’s when they contacted Nick Kroll, who’s known for his sketch comedy (in addition to the painfully funny take on adolescence ‘Big Mouth’), to kick around a ‘Part II’ that was four decades not in the making.
“There was something slightly more exciting about hearing from Mel Brooks, with all due respect to the wonderful folks at Searchlight,” Kroll said.
As per ‘Variety’, Kroll brought in Wanda Sykes, Ike Barinholtz, and David Stassen to develop the 21st century take on the original. But they didn’t want to do a new ‘History of the World’ without the king who started it all. As Covid-19 kept everyone at home in lockdown, Kroll and Sykes called Brooks to invite him into the virtual writers’ room.
“First, it was a long-distance call, so I wanted to establish who was paying for it,” quips Brooks, still as funny as they come at 96. “And they said they were, so I said, ‘OK.’ They’re both crazy about ‘History of the World’ and they thought that a new ‘History of the World’ was actually needed. I was stuck in this COVID situation where you didn’t see people, where you were locked in a cave. So, this was a very welcome relief from isolation”.
Together, the comedians and the legend mapped out ‘History of the World, Part II’ an eight-episode series on Hulu that launched on Monday, March 6, with two episodes rolling out over four consecutive nights this week. Kroll, Sykes, Barinholtz and Stassen serve as writers and executive producers, as does Brooks.
“When you throw a joke in and you get a laugh from Mel Brooks, it really is just like a hand of God giving you a little pat on the back,” Barinholtz said. Kroll added that Brooks “is singularly the most important, influential person” in his own comedy.