Drunk History is Bill Nye the Science Guy or The Magic School Bus for grownups; you’re learning, but you’re having too much fun to realize it. Show creator and host Derek Waters asks his friends to knock back a few drinks and recount events from American history. Then, actors bring the scenes to life using the exact dialogue spoken by the inebriated narrators. I discovered the franchise thanks to Funny or Die, which put together a webisode featuring Don Cheadle as Frederick Douglass. The impressive number of views caught the attention of Comedy Central, which greenlit the series in 2013. For anyone who wants to dig even further into the history of the show, there are six original videos on the Drunk History YouTube channel, featuring clips of Michael Cera as Alexander Hamilton, Jack Black as Benjamin Franklin, and John C. Reilly as Nikola Tesla. And if you’re still not convinced, here are three reasons to watch the third season:
NARRATORS: Derek has a laundry list of funny, famous friends that are more than willing to get blitzed and talk history. The season premiere sees the return of Jenny Slate, former SNL cast member and co-creator of Marcel the Shell with Shoes On. Dan Harmon, the creative mind behind Community, lends his drinking and comedic prowess to episode 2. I look forward to the return of Jen Kirkman, the voice of the Frederick Douglass webisode mentioned earlier. She has her own comedy special, I’m Gonna Die Alone (And I Feel Fine), on Netflix.
CAMEOS: Already this season we’ve witnessed Greg Kinnear as Thaddeus Lowe, a Civil War era hot air balloon spy; Maya Rudolph as Griselda Blanco, the “Godmother of Cocaine”; and Jason Momoa as pirate Jean Lafitte, the hero of the Battle of New Orleans. On the docket is Will Ferrell’s triumphant return to the franchise, this time portraying Roald Dahl, and later on Octavia Spencer will appear as Harriet Tubman. The more popularity the show gains, the more stars want to come out to play. Maybe by season five we’ll see Johnny Depp as, I don’t know, the inventor of Scotch tape.
HISTORY: Everyone knows Louis Armstrong got his start in New Orleans, but how many people are aware that he was taken in by a Jewish family as a child? Until the day he died, Armstrong wore a Star of David to commemorate his foster family. Strip away the costumes, the mis-timed pop culture references, and the slurring, and you’re left with accurate historical accounts. There’s much to be gained from watching these stories, and they might even win you a free round at your local bar’s trivia night.
This Tuesday, raise a glass to the celebrated, the infamous, and the obscure—just don’t try to out drink the narrators. You won’t win.
Featured image via io9.