Napoleon Bonaparte said, “history is a set of lies people have agreed upon.” In the case of Drunk History, it’s a set of lies people have slurred upon. It’s time to meet the show that’s going to win you a meat tray at your next pub trivia night: Drunk History.
The show’s premise is simple: comedians tell stories while wasted and their version of historical events is re-enacted, word for word, by guest stars who lip-synch along with the story. Show creators, Derek Waters and Jeremy Konner, call in every favour to recruit an impressive list of guest stars to play each historical figure. I won’t spoil who plays who, part of the joy of the series is seeing how each role is cast to perfection. Guest stars who’ve appeared in the first 3 seasons include: Sam Rockwell, Henry Winkler, Parker Posey, Patton Oswalt, Jack Black, Jason Alexander, Octavia Spencer, Will Ferrell, Jason Momoa, Josh Hartnett, Courtney Cox, Winona Ryder, John Lithgow, Laura Dern, Aubrey Plaza, Jason Schwartzman, Kristen Wiig, Nick Offerman, Bob Odenkirk, Bill Hader and Adam Scott – woah.
It’s just as impressive on the drunken storytelling side but it’s more of a mix of comedy writers, stand-up comedians, actors and musicians; lots of hilarious people you’ll recognise even if you don’t know their names. They all commit to getting inebriated and there’s zero shame; it’s glorious. Some pass out mid-yarn, a few need the emergency bucket and sometimes cats are recruited to enhance the storytelling.
Season 4 has plenty of excellent guests with Ed Helms, Dave Grohl, Kat Dennings, Liev Schreiber, Alia Shawkat, Michael McKean, John Cho, Anthony Edwards, Taylor Shilling, Elizabeth Olsen, Ronda Rousey, Jesse Plemons and Michael Cera. The blockbuster episode is drunken playwright/actor/composer, Lin-Manuel Miranda, recounting the life of one of the American founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton, the inspiration for the Broadway musical he wrote, Hamilton. It’s fun seeing a multiple Grammy, Tony and Pulitzer Prize winner party like its 1783.
Drunk History plays it fast and loose with the facts, but in between cackles, knowledge will get in. It does the wonderful thing that’s drilled out of us in school; enjoying learning unaware that it’s good for you. If anything, you’ll learn more from Drunk History when curiosity requires you to fact check details. You may even impulse purchase a one-thousand-page biography on the life of George Washington like I did.
The best part about Drunk History is you can jump in whenever. Don’t be put off by thinking you need to catch up on the previous seasons before starting 4. Each episode is boozy time capsule ready to revel in the great moments in history. Drunk History is the ultimate, epic sloshed anecdote but without the bad breath in your face and aggravated finger pointing. Raise a glass to the history books.
Drunk History airs double episodes at 9:30pm on Sunday nights on SBS VICELAND. You can also watch the show on SBS On Demand: