With the small screen dry spell of August upon us, we are back to quench your thirst for quality television with suggestions of more offbeat shows that you might not have thought to check out. First we sang the praises of Hannibal, and last week endorsed binge-watching Orange is the New Black. But this week’s Best Show You’re Not Watching cocktail is of a decidedly stronger proof.
Drunk History takes a brilliantly bizarre premise and milks it for all it’s worth: for each segment, a comic or writer gets intoxicated and recounts a major event in American history. Then famous actors re-enact that event, as per the drunk storyteller’s account – and usually lip-syncing their lines to the comic’s drunken, slurred speech.
This should, by all rights, be extremely stupid. But for various reasons, it is not. Here’s why you really need to check it out:
1. It’s F*cking Hilarious
I happen to find drunk people rather funny at times. And drunk people trying to keep their shit together while they talk about major events in American history are even funnier. I laugh out loud at this show more often than any other show I watch, occasionally while completely sober.
2. It’s Edumacational
Believe it or not, you will learn something watching this show. I, for one, had no idea that the KKK was exposed and taken down with the help of the Superman radio serial – the fact that Jason Ritter and that ginger dude from Veep helped to educate me on that fact just means I’ll retain that information even longer. And a recent interview over on Mother Jones of co-creators Derek Waters and Jeremy Konner reveals that there is also a progressive agenda behind the show: they aim to tell “the people’s history,” showcasing stories and historical figures that have not gotten a lot of mainstream coverage. So it’s basically a crash-course on the American civil rights movement with whiskey breath.
3. Jen Kirkman, Harder and More Often
Seriously – just give this woman her own show, already. The regular Chelsea Lately panelist has been with Drunk History since it was just a Funny or Die webseries, and her episodes are far and away the best. Many of the comics get rip-roaring drunk, but few get so damned passionate about their subject – Kirkman’s boozy enthusiasm is hilarious, especially when her loopy slur is coming out of the mouths of Don Cheadle, Will Ferrell, Zoe Deschanel, and more. Plus, her confusing Richard Dreyfuss for Frederick Douglass is one of the funniest things ever.