A Futile And Stupid Gesture: Legends Played By Today's Comedy Stars (Side By Side)
David Wain’s A Futile and Stupid Gesture is a must-see for comedy nerds everywhere. It holds a magnifying glass up to all of your favorite National Lampoon comedy stars, and shows just how serious things can get in the comedy world. A super-cool part of the film is seeing classic comedians portrayed by other comedians, so here are 15 of the greatest casting choices side by freakin’ side.
Will Forte as Doug Kenny
Will Forte carries this film with his effortless portrayal of The National Lampoon’s tortured co-founder, Douglas Kenny. The film roots itself in the performance of this protagonist, as we see just how far someone will push themselves to get the laugh.
Domhnall Gleeson as Henry Beard
Henry Beard was the co-creator of The National Lampoon and is essentially the person who keeps the group on track to get content out while the rest of the writers were buried in a mountain of cocaine. Doomhall Gleeson is excellent in the role and brings a lot of logic to combat Forte's erratic nature.
Neil Casey as Brian McConnachie
Neil Casey portrays the eccentric SNL, National Lampoon, and SCTV writer Brian McConnachie. There's not much to compare him to as McConnachie as he was often behind the camera, but Casey is still fun to watch. He shows how much thought can go behind the silliest pitches.
Jon Daly as Bill Murray
Jon Daly is a massively underrated comedian in the current comedy scene, and if you’ve seen him live, you know what I mean. It’s hard to capture the magic that is Bill Murray but Daly does a pretty darn good impression if I do say so myself.
John Gemberling as John Belushi
Broad City’s John Gemberling was tasked with playing John Belushi in the film, which are mighty big toga sandals to fill. He doesn’t say much, but they have his look down pat.
Rick Glassman as Harold Ramis
Rick Glassman as the late Harold Ramis is arguably the most spot-on casting in the film. He sounds, acts, and looks exactly like Ramis, what more could you ask for?
Seth Green as Christopher Guest
Another comedy legend in the film who doesn’t get much screen time, but a fun casting nonetheless. We see too little of Seth Green to determine whether it’s a good Guest impression, but hey, he’s barely in it so why not throw his familiar little face in the cast.
Thomas Lennon as Michael O'Donoghue
Thomas Lennon portrays the long time SNL head writer Michael O’Donoghue. Lennon always has a cigarette in his mouth and they even included his famous quote when referencing writing sketches for the Muppets on SNL, “I won’t write for felt.”
Matt Lucas as Tony Hendra
Tony Hedra, who was a part of Lemmings and most famously played the manager in This is Spinal Tap, is played by Matt Lucas. Lucas knocks it out of the park as the short-tempered writer, and I’ll take any chance to see that stocky Brit play any character.
Natasha Lyonne as Anne Beatts
Natasha Lyonne brings some much needed raw feminine edge to the comedy collective as Anne Beatts. Her portrayal of the character highlights how down and dirty Beatts was willing to get to break up and sometimes outdo the boys club.
Joel McHale as Chevy Chase
In perhaps one of the greatest casting choices of all time, Joel McHale plays his former Community co-star, Chevy Chase. McHale brings subtle nuances and many pratfalls to Chase’s character from his long (and difficult) working relationship with Chevy but still makes the character likable. Chevy would be proud. Well, maybe, I don’t know the last time that guy was happy.
Jackie Tohn as Gilda Radner
Jackie Tohn steps in to play Gilda Radner, who we see way too little of in the film. Gilda was taken far too soon so it’s only natural to want to see more of her, but for what we do see, Tohn is just fine for the role.
Related: It Ain't Easy Being Garrett Morris
Armen Weitzman as Lorne Michaels
Armen Weitzman puts on his best Dr.Evil impression to play young Lorne Michaels in A Futile and Stupid Gesture. His only scene revolves around Kenny’s confrontation with him at an SNL wrap party, but at least he’s got the hair just right.
Paul Scheer as Paul Shaffer
“Hey we need a bald guy to play Paul Schaffer, how about Paul Scheer? He’s already got the name down.” - The assumed conversation at the casting offices of A Futile and Stupid Gesture. It’s a small role, but I’m always down for a little Scheer action.
Ed Helms as Tom Snyder
Ed Helms makes a fun cameo as the late interviewer Tom Snyder. There is a fun little interplay between Kenny and himself where he tries to scorn the writer. Nobody likes a critic.
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Top Image: Orion Pictures & Netflix