When it comes to comedy movies, an American actor, producer, and writer that has been prolific over decades is Mel Brooks. Brooks has been involved in movies as well as other forms of entertainment for a long time and is a well-known figure in comedy. One of his movies that displays a lot of his comedic stylings is History of the World: Part One. I’m not quite sure if there was ever a Part Two. And, in fact, that may be a joke in of itself. At the end of the Part One movie, there are some trailer footage material that is showing with visual gags. It’s not clear if it was ever intended to actually be part of a full-fledged movie or not, but the laughs are provided at the end of this movie, nonetheless.
History of the World starts, as you might expect, right at the dawn of our earth in terms of the first humans. This short passage sets the tone of the type of humor you will be experiencing for the rest of the film. There will be crude jokes, risqué sight gags, double entendres, parody songs that may shock, and lots of other shenanigans that Brooks is well know for by his fans.
The move progresses through the days of the Roman empire, the Spanish Inquisition, and the French Revolution. Yes, you can imagine the colorful humor that Brooks has to leverage some of these apparently quite unfunny circumstances to base a comedy around! Brooks, a Jew, also uses healthy doses of hilarity around religion, including his own, but also not sparing anyone else. What is also not off limits are racial jokes, politics, and pretty much anything else insensitive and potentially funny. It is amazing and slightly shocking to consider everything that he gets away with or got away with and how such things would likely never pass muster today.
A good example of that last statement is another Brooks film, Blazing Saddles. This is another classic comedy from the 1980s that has many memorable parts and quotes that are still in people’s imagination and vocabulary. But, honestly, it’s difficult to watch certain passages of Blazing Saddles today and maybe not blush at some of the subject matter and directness of the humor. Here, you will witness racial slurs, naughty behavior, and usual Brooks antics.
A good place to stream either of these movies or more from Brooks is at Hulu, the movie website.