Pamela Adlon on ‘History of the World, Part 2’ & Growing Up With Mel Brooks

Mar 7, 2023

If you’d said to any Mel Brooks fan even three years ago that we’d finally be getting a long-awaited sequel to History of the World, Part I, the epic parody film that took audiences through all of human history, they’d likely have called you crazy. But, in 2023, that vision is finally a reality, and the much anticipated History of the World, Part II, has finally arrived, shepherded in by writers, stars, and executive producers Wanda Sykes, Nick Kroll, and Ike Barinholtz.

The series continues the tradition begun by Brooks, framing each episode as a series of sketches covering the entire history of civilization — and then some. Among the many, many stars of the show is Pamela Adlon, who plays the wife of Kroll’s Schmuck Mudman in the show’s “Russian Revolution” segment, part of a family who moves from the shtetl to the city to become a part of the revolutionary forces. However, when Schmuck has different ideas of serving the revolution than his wife, and their son discovers (and subsequently falls in love with) the missing princess Anastasia (Dove Cameron), things get turned around as fast as you can say “Putzmates”.

Collider was excited to sit down with Adlon to talk about the show and how she got involved. During this interview, she discussed working with Kroll on Big Mouth and getting the call to play his wife, playing a part in one of History of the World’s larger segments, and the difference between preparing for voice work versus a live-action role.

Image via Hulu

RELATED: ‘History of the World: Part II’ Review: A Worthy Sequel 41 Years in the Making

Check out the interview in the player above, or read a transcript below, and check out History of the World, Part II, streaming on Hulu.

COLLIDER: My first question that I’ve been asking everybody is that, obviously Mel Brooks has had such a massive influence on film and television all the way back to Sid Caesar. What was your first exposure to his work?

PAMELA ADLON: I grew up with this book and album, Free To Be…You and Me, and he played a baby in it. Marlo Thomas played the other baby, and they were talking about their gender, and he’s like, “Hi.” “Hi.” “I’m a baby.” “Well, what do you think I am, a loaf of bread?” It’s like this whole thing. I literally grew up knowing this entire skit. I would imitate Marlo, imitate Mel. I feel like this formed me doing all the voices I do for animation. [The 2000 Year Old Man] with Carl Reiner, Young Frankenstein, High Anxiety. Somebody asked me, “Do you remember the first time you saw History of the World, Part One?” No, I don’t remember because it’s just always been a part of my DNA and my nervous system. This is the thing that everybody understands.

Nick asked me to play his wife in this. He texted me, because we’ve known each other for years, and we do animation together, Big Mouth and Human Resources. He texted me, “Do you want to play my wife in History of the World, Part II?” I’m sure I was like the twenty-fifth text. The other people were busy. I don’t give a shit. I’m so fucking happy that it landed on me. He texted, “Do you want to play my wife in History of the World, Part II?” I said, “Voice or face parts?” He texted back, “Face parts.” Then I texted him back a fangool hand, like what else am I going to say? No? Nick Kroll asks you to come over and help him clean the dog shit from his backyard, you are there. “Yes, sir.” Anything for Nick. Anything for Mel. That’s what everybody, I think the whole village that came together. But the difference is, it’s like it feels like a happening. It felt really, really special, like rare air.

Image via Hulu

As someone who also grew up with History of the World, and with Spaceballs, and Young Frankenstein and everything else, it feels like it really captures that air of all of his work. I wanted to know, you are in one of the few sketches that sort of stretches over a multitude of episodes. Obviously, a lot of that is improv. A lot of that is sort of kicking things around. But is there anything that ended up on the cutting room floor that you wish would’ve made it in there?

ADLON: Oh, I have no idea. I haven’t seen it.

Oh! [laughter]

ADLON: I haven’t seen any of it. I’m dying to see it.

That’s fair. Fair enough. I can tell you right now, your sketch, the whole Russian Revolution thing I think was personally my favorite one in the entire show. You and Nick Kroll are hilarious. Dove Cameron’s hilarious. I spent the entire time wondering why I knew your voice, then I realized I grew up watching [you in] Recess.

ADLON: Oh, yes. “Let me introduce you to Madame Fist!” She’s a little in there.

Yeah, she is a little bit, just a tad. But is there any sort of difference in prepping for voice work versus something like this, which is so sketch-based and so based on improv?

ADLON: You have to have everything at the ready when you’re doing…this is a really high level of satire and parody. When you’re doing voiceover and animation and you’re in a booth, I learned years ago, you can’t be afraid. You’ve got to look silly. You’ve got to just go for it. You’ve got to pull everything out of you that you have in your bank, in your Rolodex. It’s very similar, but the difference is in a studio, you don’t need to get into hair and makeup. But the best performers in voiceover are the ones who have all of that stuff inside of them. That’s why Nick is so good in all of those worlds.

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

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
Publisher: Source link

Hasan Minhaj To Host 2023 Independent Spirit Awards

Perhaps it’s the fact the ceremony traditionally takes place in a tent on a beach. Maybe it’s the early afternoon brunch setting where an abundance of spirits are flowing. Or, maybe it’s the irreverent history of the awards themselves, but…

Mar 30, 2023

Did The 2024 Oscars Begin At Sundance?

After making history in 2022 with “CODA,” its first world premiere to win Best Picture, the Sundance Film Festival had a slightly disappointing Oscar tally for 2023. The festival didn’t make the Best Picture cut, but “Living” landed an Adapted…

Mar 29, 2023

Andrea Riseborough Oscars Controversy Prompts Academy Campaign Review

It looked as though the 2023 Oscar season would be the first in over a decade without some sort of scandal in its midst. After the events of the past week, that does not appear to be the case. The…

Mar 28, 2023

‘A Thousand And One’ & ‘The Persian Version’ Top 2023 Sundance Film Festival Awards

After a two-year virtual in-person hiatus, the Sundance Film Festival returned to Park City and that meant an old-fashioned in-person awards ceremony as well. Well, sorta. The post-ceremony party was absent this year (as well as its traditional host), but…

Mar 27, 2023