The true story of funnyman Doug Kenney and the origins of National Lampoon magazine, which changed the face of comedy in the 1970's.
A Futile and Stupid Gesture (2018)
Directed by David Wain
Written by Michael Colton and John Aboud
Starring Will Forte, Domhnall Gleeson, Martin Mull, Matt Walsh, Emmy Rossum, Joel McHale, Thomas Lennon, Matt Lucas,
Annette O'Toole, Harry Groener, Camille Guaty,
Natasha Lyonne, Neil Casey, Rick Glassman
Based on the book Futile and Stupid Gesture: How Doug Kenney
and National Lampoon Changed Comedy Forever by Josh Karp
Comedy is one of the most powerful artistic forces that exists. It can jumpstart careers, ruin reputations, make us cringe, offend us, inspire us, and most importantly, it makes us laugh. There are moments in entertainment history that change the game, and for the world of comedy, one of the most important moments was the founding of National Lampoon magazine by Doug Kenney and Henry Beard in 1970. This magazine took humor to the next level, relishing in the offensive, irreverent, and super dark jokes we all laughed at privately. The founding of the magazine led to the creation of Saturday Night Live, which led to so many incredible comedic careers. In addition, Doug Kenney was the writer of two timeless comedy classics, Animal House and Caddyshack. I can't believe I had never heard of this man before watching this hilariously insightful movie.
Will Forte plays Doug Kenney, one of the most unapologetic and brilliant comedic minds of all time. Forte does a tremendous job never being serious about anything. Kenney apparently loved to treat the world like it was his own never-ending private joke. His partnership with Henry Beard (Gleeson) led to so much success that Doug either reveled in or despised. It's hard to tell. He suffered an inferiority complex that likely caused his overcompensation in the joke department. Regardless, he was a genius. It was especially neat to see so many famous comedians recreated, especially Joel McHale's fantastic turn as Chevy Chase..
A Futile and Stupid Gesture tells the story of how a humor magazine that emerged during the Nixon Administration and the Vietnam War took the nation by storm and gave young people everywhere something to laugh at. Something to escape their crazy world for just a bit. Doug Kenney had a vision, and even though that vision was clouded by a thick cocaine mist, his legacy speaks for itself. The man shaped the future of comedy itself, and we have him to thank for it. Check out this movie simply to learn about who this man was and what he did before his tragic, untimely death.