The words “National Lampoon” might mean different things depending on your generation: a magazine, Animal House, Saturday Night Live, a still-ongoing spate of raunchy films, that publication that you always get confused with Mad Magazine.
The new documentary Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon takes us back to the birth of the ultimate problem child, the National Lampoon magazine. Arrested development and controlled substances aside, the Lampoon crew shepherded comedy from its antiseptic television roots through the youth counterculture and back into the mainstream again. It was unfiltered anarchy; vulgar, subversive, and hilarious. Get ready to laugh, feel ashamed for laughing, and then laugh some more.
Possibly (and very arguably) the most influential television show of all time, Saturday Night Live (SNL for short) is American comedy (albeit with a bit of Canadian help) exemplified: irreverent, absurdist, made for short attention spans, and continually being both panned and lauded by critics. Whether you still lock your door in fear of Land Shark, turned the show off in 1980 and never looked back, or are in need more cowbell, you know the magic that is SNL.