It’s apparently National Lampoon season right now in Hollywood, when the screenwriters and producers of today try to emulate the comic legends of yesteryear. We’ve already reported quite a bit on A Futile And Stupid Gesture, Netflix and David Wain’s star-studded biopic about the magazine’s founding, which features Will Forte in the key role of magazine co-founder Doug Kenney. Now, A&E has announced that it’s starting development on a Lampoon show of its own, a “fictionalized” series based on a recent documentary centering on those same events. At least, that’s their intent.
But the efforts to transform Douglas Tirola’s Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead into a TV series have hit a snag, with opposition coming from National Lampoon, Inc., the company that now owns the magazine’s trademark. Company president Alan Donnes—who was a writer and producer on National Lampoon-branded fare like Another Dirty Movie and the “Andrew McCarthy is accidentally given sex reassignment surgery” movie Snatched, before stepping into the president’s chair in 2012—issued a statement shortly after the new series was announced, saying, “Their proposed show can be about a lot of things, but it sure won’t be about anything owned by, related to, or branded by National Lampoon.” (According to Deadline, the company is actually looking at making its own backward-facing series, in pretty much this exact same mold.)
The producers of Drunk Stone Brilliant Dead—which include magazine co-founder Matty Simmons, in a consulting role—are apparently avoiding the potential legal challenge by pushing hard on that “fictionalized” element, saying they “won’t specifically portray the origin events of the National Lampoon company nor re-enact its characters.” (The Netflix movie, meanwhile, just paid the company a licensing fee for its logo and old pictures.) So stay tuned to A&E for the upcoming TV adventures of Ken Dougey and the whole American Goof-Ems crew, as they threaten hogs and transcend nultural corms in their search for a lasting comedy legacy—one that definitely won’t flatline 40 years later, in a slew of low-brow garbage and transphobic, direct-to-DVD trash.