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March 07, 2023

Quinta Brunson makes cameo in Hulu 'History of the World' sequel

The 'Abbott Elementary' creator plays Mary Magdalene's sister, Martha, in a series of sketches rolling out throughout the week

TV Quinta Brunson
quinta brunson history of the world hulu episode 4 Aaron Epstein/Hulu

"History of the World: Part II," a sequel to Mel Brooks' 1981 parody film, is rolling out on Hulu this week, with new episodes premiering each night through March 9. Above, "Abbott Elementary" star Quinta Brunson makes a cameo as Martha Magdalene, alongside Zazie Beetz as Mary Magdalene, in Episode 4.

Back in 1981, Mel Brooks' historic parody "History of the World Part I" teased a sequel in its end credits. Four decades later, that second installment has finally come to fruition.

The eight-part "History of the World: Part II" series is rolling out on Hulu this week, with two new episodes premiering each night from March 6 through March 9. Every episode features a variety of sketches poking fun at different historical periods, with a star-studded cast including Philadelphia native Quinta Brunson, creator and star of "Abbott Elementary."

Along with Brunson, the series' cast includes her "Abbott Elementary" costar Tyler James Williams, plus some of the entertainment industry's biggest names like Danny DeVito, Seth Rogen, Johnny Knoxville, Kumail Nanjiani, Emily Ratajkowski, Sarah Silverman, Josh Gad and Taika Waititi.

quinta brunson history of the world hulu episode 6Aaron Epstein/Hulu

Quinta Brunson as Martha in Episode 6

While Brooks, 96, is a writer and producer on the new series — and also narrates it — he has passed much of the heavy lifting to writer-producer-performers Ike Barinholtz, Nick Kroll and Wanda Sykes. 

Brunson first appears in Episode 4, released Tuesday, as Martha Magdalene in a sketch about Mary Magdalene (Zazie Beetz) and Jesus (Jay Ellis) falling in love. Brunson will reprise the role in episodes airing later this week.

The diverse cast of performers and writers bring their unique comedy styles to a series that combines elements of various history and comedy programs like “Kroll Show,” “Drunk History,” “Documentary Now!” and “Sherman’s Showcase,” according to the New York Times.

Episodes parody everything from the building of the Egyptian pyramids and the Civil War to Amelia Earhart's last flight and the fall of the Berlin Wall, complete with musical numbers and ESPN-style interviews. 

The new series brings Brooks' humor into 2023 by including several unexpected contemporary pop culture and TV references in the retellings of human history. 

For example, the religious parodies that feature Brunson depend on unlikely influences like "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and the Beatles. William Shakespeare (Gad) runs a TV writers' room. Shirley Chisholm (Sykes), the first Black female congresswoman and a 1972 presidential candidate, stars in a ’70s sitcom. There's also a sketch about a fake Bravo-style reality show called “The Real Concubines of Kublai Khan," and a Russian version of "Jackass" helmed by Rasputin (Knoxville).

Brunson's latest cameo continues her meteoric rise launched by beloved Philadelphia-set sitcom "Abbott Elementary," which has earned prestigious awards as well as record-high viewership for ABC. "Abbott Elementary," already renewed for a third season, is currently airing its second season.

New episodes of "History of the World: Part II" premiere on Hulu each night through Thursday, March 9. The original "History of the World" film can also be streamed on Hulu.

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