Know Your Web Series: Drunk History
Written by Bwog Staff
There are certain things that are perennially hilarious, but by their nature are difficult to focus on for the purposes of fictional comedy. A prime example: drunk people incoherently telling stories are extremely funny, but drunk stories are inclined to be personally focused, insular, anecdotal, and difficult to make humorous to a wide audience. Often, the most brilliant comic minds are the ones who figure out how to penetrate that bubble and make something funny in real life funny in fiction as well.
Derek Waters is one of those minds. Allow him to present to you Drunk History, a series in which Waters gets various comedians drunk, then gets them to tell him one of their favorite historical tales with a camera present. That simple jump, from drunk people talking about their lives as they normally do to drunk people talking about history, is the stuff of comedic genius. Add in another brilliant idea–getting A-list indie-comedy actors to reenact the drunk stories–and you have almost certainly the best basic premise for a web series in existence.
The real key is that the drunk stories are reenacted to the word. That means that actors mouth along with all the storyteller’s words, drunk hiccups and all. And it means that when the storyteller in the first episode accidentally says that Alexander Hamilton aimed a gun at himself (instead of at Burr), Michael Cera (as Hamilton) points the gun at his own head, a fantastic bit of absurdity made complete by an artfully Cera blank and confused look. The result is a straightface reenactment of a historical event through the eyes of a trashed person, and it will make you realize what you’ve been missing your whole life: drunk history.
There are four episodes so far, and yeah, they’re basically all the same single joke of “acting out the literal things that a drunk person relates is ludicrous.” But it’s so unlike any other comedy I’ve seen that it will not only rejuvenate your faith in people to find new funny things, but also in basic bodily function humor. (Honestly, I don’t care how old you are, someone vomiting in the middle of a serious historical story is just plain funny.) And yes, they are really drunk. Very, very drunk. My vote for best episode might the third, starring Danny McBride and narrated by one of my favorite stand-ups as of late, Jen Kirkman. But start at the start. If you find the first one funny, they’re all worth watching.