Featuring rare and never before seen footage, this is the mind boggling story of The National Lampoon from its subversive and electrifying beginnings, to rebirth as an unlikely Hollywood heavyweight, and beyond. A humour empire like no other, the impact of the magazines irreverent, often shocking, sensibility was nothing short of seismic: this is an institution whose (drunk stoned brilliant) alumni left their fingerprints all over popular culture. Both insanely great and breathtakingly innovative, The National Lampoon created the foundation of modern comic sensibility by setting the bar in comedy impossibly high.
P.J. O'Rourke, Himself:
Why does one laugh? Laughter's entirely a defense mechanism. Laughter is a, eh, a defense against hostility, a replacement for hostility, a, eh, a defense mechanism against guilt, embarrassment.
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If you were living in your late teens and early 20's during the 70's, male (in most cases) there is a good chance you may have been a regular or semi-regular reader of the "National Lampoon" an outrageously funny monthly periodical of the time. A good description is that the NL was a natural progression for teenage boys when they were outgrowing "Mad" and developing some intellectual chops. The NL was screamingly funny, absolutely hilarious satire. I'll admit that when I first started reading in high school some of the stuff went over my head but one thing about the 'Poon compared to the lightweight so-called satirists of today, the overwhelming majority of whom are promoting a far left agenda - the NL was truly an equal opportunity satirist. I'm sure that most of the writers, being in their 20's and most with an Ivy League background were politically left but the 'Poon went after politicians and causes of conservatives and liberals with an equal vengeance, with Nixon and Ted Kennedy being 2 prime examples. While the NL made great sport of right wing iconic institutions like the military, big business, police, Christianity, the NRA and right to life, they also satirized virtually every ethnic group, liberal elites, homosexuals, the entire counter-culture movement, and women (plenty of tits!) Indeed, if someone would try to revive the NL in the spirit of the 70's I'd think the PC police would immediately begin to try to abolish its existence for being racist, sexist and homophobic.
For those under about age 50 the National Lampoon is remembered for the movies that began in 1978 with the classic "Animal House" and then the series of "Vacation" movies, plus some others over the years not worth mentioning. The success of AH would continue the siphoning of the NL's most talented writers and performers (the NL Radio Show, which ran on Saturday evenings on a syndicated network, mostly AOR stations. Included Belushi, C Chase, Radner, Ramis and the Murray Bros.) which had begun with NBC's SNL. The NL couldn't compete with the money, fame and women that movies and TV offered their creative talent and the magazine died a slow death in the 80's. "DSBD" is a great look at this quick rise and fall of a comedy empire.
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