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Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: An Unvarnished Look at the History of National Lampoon

Explore the chaotic creativity of a comedy powerhouse in 'Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon'.

Keywords: National Lampoon, comedy, pop culture, American history, documentary. Three-word: "Rebellious," "Hilarious," "Influential."


"Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of The National Lampoon" is a 2015 documentary directed by Douglas Tirola. The film offers a deep dive into the history of the American comedy publication and production company, National Lampoon, from its inception in the 1970s through to 2010. In our era of limitless comedic content, exploring the roots of a company that played a significant part in shaping modern American humor is both essential and entertaining.


The documentary provides an insightful look at the rise, fall, and enduring impact of National Lampoon. Through rare and never-before-seen footage, viewers get a front-row seat to the creative chaos and cultural impact that defined the company.

More Film Analysis


Tirola takes an explorative approach, using archival footage and interviews to paint a vivid picture of the era and the anarchic spirit of National Lampoon. The depth of the research and the exploration of the subject matter bring out the company's influence on American popular culture.

Historical and Factual Context

National Lampoon began as a humor magazine at Harvard University, eventually branching out into radio, live theatre, and film. Its influence stretched across various media and had a significant impact on American culture and comedy.

Key themes in the film

  • The power of humor to challenge societal norms
  • The impact of creative freedom on art and media
  • The evolution of comedy through the decades

Film Comparisons

Unlike other documentaries about comedy, such as "The Aristocrats" or "Comedy Vehicle," "Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead" stands out for its focus on a single influential entity and its cultural impact.

Noteworthy Moments

The documentary includes several enlightening moments, particularly the exploration of the creative process behind iconic National Lampoon productions.


The film was generally well-received, with critics praising its exploration of the National Lampoon legacy.


"Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead" offers a rare glimpse into the history of an influential comedy institution. It's a must-watch for comedy and pop culture enthusiasts.

More film information:


  • IMDB score: 7.2/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 86%
  • Metacritic score: 69/100
  • Film festival awards: Official Selection at Sundance 2015



  • Douglas Kenney: Co-founder of National Lampoon.
  • Henry Beard: Co-founder of National Lampoon.
  • Chevy Chase: Early contributor, later became a famous actor.



  • New York City: National Lampoon's main office.
  • Harvard University: Where National Lampoon originated.

Key questions raised by the film:

  • How did National Lampoon shape American comedy?
  • What is the legacy of National Lampoon today?

I wonder what the film would be in another art form

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  1. A famous book, it would be "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" - Both are irreverent, chaotic explorations of American culture.
  2. A famous song, it would be "American Pie" - A nostalgic look back at a specific period in American history.
  3. A famous piece of art, it would be a Jackson Pollock painting - Both are chaotic, energetic, and innovative.
  4. A famous celebrity, it would be John Belushi - Both are comedic icons of their time.
  5. A colour, it would be bright red - Bold, loud, and impossible to ignore.
  6. A music style, it would be punk rock - Both are rebellious, groundbreaking, and not for everyone.

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A look at the history of the American comedy publication and production company, National Lampoon, from its beginning in the 1970s to 2010, featuring rare and never-before-seen footage.