National Lampoon Slams Unauthorized ‘Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead’ Biopic Series
Just the other day, National Lampoon seemed reborn as 2015 documentary Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon spawned an A+E scripted TV series. One small hitch, however, as the real National Lampoon isn’t too happy about the association, saying “A+E has no rights; they can’t say ‘National Lampoon’ at all.”
Previously, Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead was to be developed and produced with 4th Row Films, with National Lampoon magazine co-founder Matty Simmons serving as consulting producer. The original Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead documentary premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, chronicling early times of the magazine, which was created from an Ivy League school by Douglas Kenney and Henry Beard.
That said, National Lampoon president Alan Donnes gave a scathing rebuke to Vulture, noting that A+E had not contacted them about rights usage after the documentary:
Had they, we would have told them that we have been developing a series that involved some great writers from the ‘glory days’ of the magazine and have been working with several of the estates of deceased former ‘Lampooners.’ Our show, which is yet untitled, will be true to the history of the company and the many characters who worked at the company at one time or another. We believe that viewers would rather watch an actor portray John Belushi than watch an actor portray some heavyset guy named Bob or Fred or whatever name they give their fictionalized character.
We can use our own material, they cannot. Our chief complaint is that while they are now backtracking and saying, ‘Oh, no, it’s all going to be fictionalized,’ they used our brand and its rich history to promote their fictionalized show. If it was always going to be fictionalized, why bring our brand and history into the situations?
National Lampoon has granted its rights to David Wain’s star-studded Netflix biopic, A Futile & Stupid Gesture, but will A+E back off whatever fictionalized version they’d been preparing? Watch the original trailer below.