Josh Gad Shared Respectful Exchange After Hulu Show Was Suspected Of Ripping Off Shakespeare Musical By Its Creator

Josh Gad in History of the World, Part 2
(Image credit: Hulu)

EGOT winner Mel Brooks has graced us with his witty comedic presence with a sequel series to one of his beloved movies, History of the World, Part I. This original Hulu series has an all-star cast willing to poke jabs at infamous moments in history. However, one Broadway musical creator has suspected this upcoming comedy series of ripping off his Shakespeare musical, and History of the World, Part II actor Josh Gad had a respectful exchange with him about this. 

Something Rotten! is a Broadway musical about two brothers in the 16th century who are having a hard time finding success in the theater world because of their competitor, William Shakespeare. One of its creators, John O’Farrell, had noticed in the newest History of the World, Part II trailer a scene where Josh Gad’s humorous version of William Shakespeare holds a meeting asking if they have any ideas for him, only for one man to suggest the use of songs to his plays. Then it cuts to a singing Stalin played by Jack Black showing off his musical chops. O’Farrell posted on Twitter that he felt this particular scene in the trailer was very similar to what was featured in his musical. 

The Tony Awards video featured the two brothers talking about the possibility of adding tunes to their plays and inventing something called “the musical.” While the idea seems outrageous, the scene transitions, of course, into an ear-catching song. So it’s understandable why O’Farrell would believe the similarities between History of the World, Part II’s trailer scene and his musical are uncanny. On the other hand, Josh Gad respectfully responded to this musical creator’s Twitter post that all of this is just a misunderstanding.

Big fan. All due respect the trailer takes it out of context. It’s a one off joke. Nobody breaks out into song (from what I recall) in the Shakes sketch. The trailer cuts to a completely different moment. It’s literally that line and off. Something Rotten is brilliant btw.

Well, there you have it. The blame for all of this confusion is just the way the Hulu series trailer is edited. The British musical writer ended the friendly exchange by thanking the Frozen voice actor for the clarification.

Thanks for reaching out Josh and that's good to know the trailer gives a false impression. I love the work of Mel Brooks, he's been a huge influence and I'm sure no copying was intended - but I just felt I needed to say something. Good luck with the film and all your projects!

I'm so happy there’s no drama between these two. After all, one of the things we know about the Hulu comedy is Nick Kroll and the other writers all got together to make sure they can create an “open and honest” environment without worrying if something was overly offensive. Having to worry about a Broadway writer feeling his musical was being ripped off would absolutely fall into that category. This eight-episode series is sure to bring about many opportunities for laughs delivering awareness to humorous times that spanned across different periods of human history.

How very fortunate it was that Mel Brook’s new series did not, in fact, rip off Something Rotten!. As this talented filmmaker has been in the business for 75 years, he has all of the creativity in the world to come up with his own gags. You can find History of the World, Part II’s two-episode premiere on your Hulu subscription on March 6th, with two more episodes released every following day until March 9th. You can also take a look at our 2023 TV premiere dates so you’ll know what streaming series to add to your watchlist. 

Carly Levy
Entertainment Writer

Just your average South Floridian cinephile who believes the pen is mightier than the sword.