Will Forte will play the co-founder of the National Lampoon in an upcoming movie, according to The Hollywood Reporter, and David Wain will direct.
Named after a book by the same name, A Futile and Stupid Gesture will chronicle the life of Doug Kenney, one of the founders of the National Lampoon comedy dynasty.
The National Lampoon brand was a comedy juggernaut in the 70’s, launching the careers of many a comedic voice, none more notable than John Belushi. What many today may not know is the comedic magazine was a continuation of work from some college buddies at Harvard. Originally an editor at The Harvard Lampoon, upon graduation Kenney, friend Henry Beard and fellow Harvard alumnus Robert Hoffman founded the humor magazine National Lampoon. Kenney was one of the originating forces of what was to become known during the 1970s as the “new wave” of comedy, a dark, irreverent style of humor Kenney used as the basis for the magazine.
Kenney went on to co-write iconic movies National Lampoon’s Animal House and Caddyshack, giving himself tiny yet hilarious roles in each movie. The next time you watch Caddyshack, look for the man cutting a line of cocaine for a lady in the background of the Brushwood Club dinner party scene. It was perhaps an instance of art imitating life. It was Kenney’s behavior at a Caddyshack press conference that caused friends to begin worry about Kenney’s substance abuse. Close friend Chevy Chase and Kenney’s girlfriend Kathryn Walker attempted to intervene, taking Kenney to Hawaii to relax. When Chase and Walker had to return to work on the mainland. Not long after, as Chase prepared to return to the island to support his friend, he received word that Kenney had fallen from a cliff and died.
The story among others is recounted by friends and colleagues in a documentary, Brilliant Stoned Drunk Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon, which was just released in 2015.
SNL veteran Will Forte is attached to portray Kenney, with David Wain, the co-creator of Wet Hot American Summer, on board to direct the project that is in negotiations to land at Netflix. A Futile and Stupid Gesture is eyeing an April start with a budget in the $15 to $20 million range. Forte is best known for his time with the cast of Saturday Night Live, his current role as The Last Man on Earth, and starring in the critically acclaimed film, Nebraska.