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Series / History of the World Part II

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History of the World Part II is a 2023 sketch comedy Sequel Series to Mel Brooks’ 1981 comedy film, History of the World Part I. This time around, Brooks shares writing duties with fellow executive producers and co-stars Wanda Sykes, Nick Kroll, and Ike Barinholtz.

In the eight-part, four night event series, Brooks, Sykes, Kroll, and Barinholtz will be joined by an all-star cast to tell the events in human history Brooks skipped over the first time around. Audiences can expect to discover the stories of Noah, Harriet Tubman, Sigmund Freud, Princess Anastasia, the betrayal of Jesus Christ by Judas Iscariot, and even a glimpse into the future with the long-awaited JEWS! IN! SPACE! - all with Brooks’ signature irreverence.

The series premiered on Hulu on March 6, 2023.

Previews: Teaser, Trailer 1

History of the World Part II includes the following examples:

  • Actor Allusion: This isn't the first time Wanda Sykes is playing an action packed version of Harriet Tubman.
  • Adaptational Badass: As seen in the teaser, Harriet Tubman is packing anachronistic heat and is not afraid to use it!
  • Adolf Hitlarious: The "Hitler on Ice" hinted on the original does appear, as part of a skating competition and the Führer's routine ending on a Pratfall.
  • The Alcoholic: Gen. Grant, to the point where Lincoln issues an order to the entire Union Army: Do not serve Grant any alcohol until the war is won.
  • Anachronism Stew: Of course. For instance, Princess Anastasia is a digital influencer in the 1910s.
  • Artistic License – History: Obviously of course. For instance, the show places West Virginia as part of the Confederacy when it actually part of the Union. It was made specifically to join the Union.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The cavewomen realize they're in a show while smoking pot with the fire they just discovered.
  • Candid Camera Prank: The Marco Polo segment has Kublai Khan reveal he was being pranked on Khan'D, albeit the cameras are artists drawing Marco Polo's face.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Harriet Tubman comes to save Grant, Robert Todd, and the three Union soldiers from getting hanged at the last minute.
  • Chekhov's Hobby: The three Union soldiers sent to rescue General Grant and Robert Todd all have some sort of artistic talent, which is established in their first scene: Henry and Mason both play the bugle, while Mingos does observational comedy. They put this into use in order to distract the townspeople, first by Mingos doing a standup routine, and then Henry and Mason pretending to be a band coming to perform in town. It's a surprisingly effective plan and would've worked had they not accidentally revealed themselves as Union soldiers.
  • Colorblind Casting: Parodied. The voiceover narration makes a point of noting that White politician George Wallace is being played by Black comedian George Wallace.
  • Creator Cameo: The series opens with an intro by Mel Brooks (who appears as as he did in 1981... only in a muscular body).
  • Did Anastasia Survive?: Dove Cameron plays an Anastasia who escapes the Bolsheviks, finds a Jewish boyfriend while in hiding and flees Russia.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: Nixon goes on about how the presidency makes him, "The emperor of the universe!" Kissinger "quickly" reminds him to not give that away.
  • Funny Background Event: In a Mel Brooks film? Surely you can't be serious.
  • Ghost Writer: The segment on Shakespeare references the "Anti-Statfordian" movement by showing Shakespeare as only the showrunner of a roomful of writers who are told to write plays under his name.
  • In the Style of:
    • The sketch on Judas' betrayal of Jesus is done in the style of Curb Your Enthusiasm, complete with an HBO-like title card and the show's famous theme playing.
    • A recurring sketch is a Jackass-style skit with the actual Jackass crew trying to kill Rasputin, played by Johnny Knoxville.
    • A reality show for Kublai Khan's concubines is an obvious parody of The Real Housewives.
    • Shirley Chisholm earns a sitcom on her life.
    • The sketch detailing Jesus and Mary Magdalene's brief romance is a pastiche of The Notebook, with a requisite romantic The Big Damn Kiss scene in the rain and Framing Device of an older Mary telling the story.
  • "I Want" Song: Sung by Josef Stalin (played by Jack Black), who is a No-Respect Guy among the Bolsheviks.
  • It Will Never Catch On: During the Shakespeare segment, he balks at the idea of a play where people sing their feelings.
  • Literal Metaphor: In Real Life, the Underground Railroad was a secret network of roads and abolitionist safe houses that escaped slaves would take to free states and Canada. Here, they are literal anachronistic subway stations hidden in caves that slaves (including Harriet Tubman) had built.
  • Love at First Sight: Anastasia and Joshy fall for each other as soon as they meet and get engaged a short time later (for Joshy, it's Love Before First Sight, as he's clearly interested in her when he sees a picture of her in the newspaper). She eventually decides to leave Russia and emigrate with Joshy's family to America.
  • Name's the Same: George Wallace the segregationist White politician is played by George Wallace the Black comedian.
  • Noah's Story Arc: Noah here decides that the only animal he'll bring to the Ark are puppies.
  • No, Except Yes: In the teaser, when an early church leader is asked if he wants Jesus to not be black in the Bible, he verbally denies this - while nodding and giving a thumbs up.
  • Race Lift: In-universe. Both Jesus and Mary Magdalene are portrayed as being black, but a group of bishops ask that he be made white to be more "palatable" to audience.
  • Real Trailer, Fake Movie: Like the movie that proceeded it, the last episode ends on a trailer for "History of the World Part II Season II".
  • Really 700 Years Old: When Shirley Chisholm hosts Nixon and Kissinger for dinner, Kissinger notes when he's enchanted by Rep. Chisholm's mother...
    Kissinger: Your mother reminds me of a charming woman I once knew in Transylvania in 1403.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Jesse Jackson's dialogue is entirely in rhyming couplets.
  • Running Gag: Whenever the town Rock Ridge, West Virginia gets brought up in the Civil War sketches, someone will hastily clarify that they didn't mean that one.
  • Schizo Tech:
    • Anastasia using a hand-cranked camera to make TikTok tutorials.
    • Cavewomen using a Bic lighter to make fire.
    • The Underground Railroad as a subway...
    • Galileo also uses TikTok (called "TicciTocci") to spread his scientific ideas. His theory on the Earth revolving around the sun ends up getting him jailed.
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • The teaser ends with Judas commenting that if this (meaning the show, in context) was on Net-Fish, he would cancel his subscription.
    • One of the things the townspeople in Rock Ridge (no, not that one) claim to hate are classic films being turned into television series.
  • Self-Plagiarism: Schmuck Mudman panics when he ends up in the middle of his wife's legs as she rants — and it doesn't try to hide how it's recycling from The Producers once he goes "I'm hysterical! *slapped* I'm in pain, and I'm still hysterical!"
  • Stealth Pun: Subverted. There's an old joke that, at the surrender at Appomattox, Lee wore his full uniform while Grant was in his "union suit"note . In the Civil War sketches, Grant spends a significant amount of time in his underwear, but by the time the surrender scene comes along, he has acquired a full uniform.
  • Two-Timer Date: At the Watergate Hotel, Shirley Chisolm tries to gain the support of feminists and Blacks (in two separate ballrooms), all while her husband is waiting for her back in the suite.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife / Ugly Guy Cute Daughter: Czar Nicholas II is the least attractive out of his family.
  • Vulgar Humor: Many times, such as the segment with a Kama Sutra that also lists soups to consume after sex, or the Bolsheviks coming up with propaganda posters that end up reminiscent of menstruation.
  • Yoko Oh No: Mary Magdalene is portrayed as being one in the Last Jam Session sketches, with her constantly hanging around the Apostles in their recording studio due to being Jesus' girlfriend even though she's not a part of the band and clearly being a bad influence for him.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: In the teaser, Harriet Tubman, upon hearing one of the men she is holding at gunpoint ask if she invented the bathtub, has to ask “How did these dumbasses enslave us?”
  • Your Mom: Alexander Graham Bell's call to John Watson ends up with Watson turning it into a prank call pretending to be Bell's mother. He is convinced easily once he confirms her last name as Bell.