History of the World, Part II: Ike Barinholtz Reveals Mel Brooks’ Advice on “Dirty Jokes”

In exclusive interviews with E! News, Ike Barinholtz, Wanda Sykes and Pamela Adlon reveal how Mel Brooks has inspired their careers and what to expect from History of the World, Part II.

By Daniel Trainor Mar 07, 2023 2:11 AMTags
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To make some history of your own, sometimes you have to honor the past.

Hulu's History of the World, Part II—starring, produced and written by Ike Barinholtz, Wanda Sykes and Nick Kroll—is a sequel 42 years in the making. The series shares the same spirit and comedic sensibility as 1981's History of the World, Part I—directed and written by Mel Brooks, who also narrates Part II—which was vitally important to all involved as huge fans of Mel's work.

"I loved the movie," Wanda exclusively told E! News. "Seen it so many times. But just Mel Brooks in general, from Blazing Saddles to Young Frankenstein. It's just so iconic. He pretty much created that whole genre."

Ike remembered seeing Part I when he was "under 5" years old, and argued that Mel is responsible for making cinematic comedy what it is today.

"There were movies before Mel that were very funny and cool and good, but they weren't hilarious," he told E! News. "I don't think they were really hilarious until Mel came along."

So, how do you take something so celebrated and culturally significant and modernize it for a new audience?

"We wanted to focus on the themes and message of Mel," Ike said. "It really does feel like a lot of his movies are exploring an every man or an every woman. Without getting political or taking sides, we're going to call out the hypocrisy of the people who are in charge and how greedy and stupid they can be."

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Ike also said Mel told them, "Don't be afraid to make dirty jokes," which became a guiding light for the series.

"Because we held those beliefs in our head, we didn't run into problems of getting on the front lines of the culture war," Ike explained. "We were like, ‘Let's just make the stupidest, offensive, dumb, fun show that we can possibly do and let people watch it and enjoy themselves.'"

For Pamela Adlon, who appears in the series, her relationship with History of the World, Part I is so storied that she doesn't even recall when it started.

"I don't remember the first time I ever saw it because it's always been in here," Pamela told E! News. "That's just who we are. I grew up in the ‘70s, so that is my language. He is our country's one-man, Jewish Monty Python."


In addition to giving a younger generation a lesson in Mel Brooks, the Better Things creator argued that History of the World, Part II is exactly the type of show audiences need.

"It's a perfect harmonic convergence of everything," Pamela said. "It's the right time to have this kind of satire and this kind of parody that feels a little naughty and a bit dangerous, and push the envelope. Because that's what Mel always did."

History of the World, Part II is available to stream on Hulu.

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