Dear George Clooney — “Catch-22” is funny, or is supposed to be

Joseph Heller’s cynical/comical anti-war war novel was one of my favorite books as a teen.

Another was “Papillon,” just so’s you know where I’m going with this.

This trailer to the Hulu mini-series by George Clooney gets the darkness right, the somber setting of bomber crews being chewed up by the enemy, and by the strain of a sadistic narcissist of a commander who insisted on increasing the number of missions crews had to fly before they got to go home.

The humor? The hilarity of General Dreedle, the looney hide-from-his-job Major Major Major Major, the dopey stateless capitalism of Milo Minderbender, the comical despair of Yossarian, one of the great anti-heroes of all time?

Hell, I don’t see it. A whole mini-series on this book without the humor intact would be a serious #Clooneyfail.

Mike Nichols took a decent shot at making a “M*A*S*H” era comedy (1970) out of “Catch 22” back in the day. Watchable, almost dark enough, with very funny actors (Alan Arkin, Orson Welles, Buck Henry, Bob Newhart, Paula Prentiss, Jon Voight before he went wingnutty, Michael J. Pollard and Richard Benjamin and Charles Grodin, etc.).

There is only one catch, and that is “Catch-22.” That’s some catch, and it premieres on Hulu May 17.

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