On this week’s On Story we’re tracing the history of modern film comedies back to a singular movie celebrating it’s 40th anniversary. Grab your toga and your ‘college’ sweatshirt as comedy writers reflect on Animal House’s lasting influence. We’ll also hear from SNL alum and Adam Sandler collaborator Tim Herlihy, who used the National Lampoon movies as a model to write some of the biggest comedies of the 1990’s.
40 years ago National Lampoon’s Animal House changed American comedies and shaped people’s expectations of the college experience. The frat comedy was an instant success when in was released in 1978 and remains one of the most quotable films. Beverly Hills Cop writer Daniel Petrie, Jr and Role Models writer Tim Dowling explored Animal House’s lasting legacy at the 2015 Austin Film Festival in a conversation moderated by filmmaker Roy Rutngamlug.
One direct influence that came from the National Lampoon’s continued collaboration was Tim Herlihy’s work with Adam Sandler. In the 1990’s, Herlihy co-wrote a string of successful films that launched Sandler into an unlikely leading man. Some of his writing credits include Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, and The Wedding Singer. He conceived of most of those films while writing at Saturday Night Live. I spoke with Tim Herlihy at the 23rd annual Austin Film Festival in 2016.
Clips of Animal House courtesy of Universal City Studios, Inc.
Clips of Billy Madison courtesy of: Universal City Studios, Inc.
Clips of Saturday Night Live courtesy of: National Broadcasting Company, Inc.
Clips of The Wedding Singer courtesy of: New Line Productions, Inc.
Clips of The Waterboy courtesy of: Touchstone Pictures, an a.d.o. Disney Enterprises, Inc.