And by crack up I mean laugh out loud across the house funny. I’m literally cackling. Some poor kid is going to walk down the street and think there is a witch living in this house. I just can’t express how much pure enjoyment I get out of the way the sketch is fit around the speaker’s words.
So the premise is someone learns the history of a subject (jazz) or person (Johnny Cash) etc., and then recounts what they learned as they slowly get inebriated. The mostly monologue-Derek Waters also “drinks” and has some comments throughout-is broken up by sketches visualizing what the speaker is saying, exactly what they are saying, or singing, or burping. HILARIOUS. And it gets better and better as the person goes from buzzed to drunk to trashed. Not everyone gets that bad. But you learn the whole time! And it isn’t dry or boring because the drunk person really gets into the parts, sometimes doing voices, and then actors in the skits (more like movie quality, really) mouth the words to the exact cadence of the speaker.
Actually, the funniest thing is that these speakers talk just like me, young(ish), hip(ish), but totally down to earth. “Like, no, we still have work to do here, no…Segregation sucks.” There are expletives dropped so it might not be for everyone. But it is really so funny when you are watching the sketch and a cuss word pops out of the mouth of someone dressed in 18th century clothing. It’s like, whao!
This is after all HISTORY. Most of the time, it is the untold stories. The rest of what you might have learned in school. Take the first episode I saw, it focused on Claudette Colvin, a 15 year old pregnant girl who refused to give up her seat on a bus well before Rosa Parks was made famous for it. But this girl was dark skinned, and pregnant without marriage, so while the NAACP bailed her out of jail, they passed on using her as a role model for the movement. Did you know that? Did you know anything about her? I sure did not. So not only did I get a laugh from the random drunk comments portrayed by the actors, but I learned something.
After I saw the episode I heard an interview on NPR, ‘DrunkHistory’ Serves An Educational Cocktail, With Comedic Twist, and I just had to record the show and watch as much as I could get my history loving eyeballs on. And no matter how many I see, or if it is a repeat, I have to watch it. Who doesn’t want to laugh for 30 mins to an hour? The facial expressions of these actors as they play out the dialogue is priceless in and of itself.
Definitely check it out. Even if it is just for the cameos, like Jack Black.
UPDATE: So I watched 2 comedians and one actress today presenting their version of historical selections. Both comedians are hilarious.
I like Kyle Kinane, not so much in standup, but in “random” conversation. His Drunk History was great, and it was pretty funny when he was puking and started Derek Waters to puke, too- oops! To me, he looks like a logger or a trucker. Like Paul Bunyan, but I think he is rather average in height. I realize that is just his clothing style, but in my head he evokes those images. I first saw him on @Midnight (funniest. show. ever!). He as great quips.
Next was Natasha Leggero, whom I have also seen on @Midnight, but I have heard her standup routine on Pandora’s comedy channels and I think on Comedy Central. Cracks me up with a bossy, fashion show snob schtick. Or maybe that really is her, but it is funny, nonetheless. Then, surprise surprise, Paget Brewster! She plays Emily Prentiss on Criminal Minds!!!!!!! We have seen almost all the episodes. Anyway, she has such a strong, definite way of speaking so that when she deadpans it is laugh out loud funny. I think her Drunk History was one of the best of the uninterrupted, are-they-really-drunk? monologues yet. Rather impressive, although the random drunk comments in between are what I find so funny.
And of course the content was interesting.