‘Lampoon’ Legend

(Above: Douglas Kenney, left, in ‘Animal House.’ Above source: IMDb)

Douglas Kenney, although not well-known to today’s audiences, holds a very special place in American comedy history.

Kenney co-created National Lampoon Magazine and National Lampoon Radio Hour. He also co-wrote two film classics with Harold Ramis, Animal House and Caddyshack. His career – and life – ended tragically in 1980, shortly after Caddyshack’s opening, when he either fell or jumped to his death in Hawaii.

Today, Netflix debuts A Futile and Stupid Gesture, a film that looks back at Kenney’s role at the center of the ’70s comedy counter-culture that gave rise to Saturday Night Live, still going strong more than 40 years later.

The movie, which stars SNL alum Will Forte as Kenney and Martin Mull as “modern Doug,” is based on the 2006 book A Futile and Stupid Gesture: How Doug Kenney and National Lampoon Changed Comedy Forever. The cast also includes Joel McHale as Chevy Chase (McHale’s real-life former cast-mate in the comedy series Community), Jackie Tohn as Gilda Radner, Jon Daly as Bill Murray, John Gemberling as John Belushi, Rick Glassman as Ramis, and Armen Weitzman as Lorne Michaels.

You can stream A Futile and Stupid Gesture with a Netflix subscription.

If you’ve seen Animal House, you’ve seen the real Douglas Kenney. Here he is as Stork, responding to Bluto’s (John Belushi) rally speech to his fraternity brothers:

You can watch Animal House in its entirety with an HBONow subscription; or rent it starting at $2.99 from Vudu and other providers.

Caddyshack is available to stream with a Netflix subscription; or to rent starting at $2.99 from Google Play and other providers.

About Larry Greenberg

A former local beat reporter and film critic, co-founder Lawrence Greenberg has more than 25 years’ experience as a writer and public relations executive.

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