Get wasted and learn (poorly): The best episodes of ‘Drunk History’
Getting a comedian totally wasted and explaining a historical event is funny enough. Add in dramatizations and it becomes perfect. Drunk History is one of the funniest and most educational shows on television.
To be clear, don’t get all of your facts from Drunk History. For some, history is this boring thing remote and removed from daily reality. In actuality, it’s the story of all of us. Sometimes the best stories come from hearing your friend get drunk and share them.
While we’ve previously talked about the best Drunk History episodes, the sixth season concluded a couple months ago. Let’s get wavy and see what new (and old) ones have appeared on the Film Daily ranking.
10. Eartha Kitt vs. Lady Bird Johnson
The late, great Eartha Kitt is an icon. One of the original actresses who played Catwoman on the original Adam West-led 60s Batman series and the voice of Yzma in The Emperor’s New Groove, this lady led one fascinating life.
Kitt acted, sang, and never stopped fighting for the causes she believed in. Nicole Byer (host of Nailed It) recounts the time that Kitt was invited to the White House by Lady Bird Johnson and confronted the First Lady about the Vietnam War.
Byer remains pretty solidly composed, which is an A for effort on her part. Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarok), however, just nails it as Kitt. It’s especially fun to see her 60s dance in the Catwoman costume.
9. Frederick Douglass
Jen Kirkman (Home Again) is the MVP of Drunk History, having slurred her way through many seminal historical events before retiring the hooch a few years back. Two bottles of wine deep, Kirkman impressively manages to tell the foundations of the story fairly well, even if she hardly ever has the right words to tell it.
Will Ferrell (Anchorman), Don Cheadle (Avengers: Infinity War), and Zooey Deschanel (New Girl) manage to lip sync every sloshed f***up of a line Kirkman delivers before she sleepily asks “Did I need to do a more story about them?” from under a blanket at the end.
8. Joan of Arc
Hillary Anne Matthews tells the fascinating story of Joan of Arc, who led France’s armies in 1412. Vanessa Hudgens (The Princess Switch) plays Joan as she prances through the flowers and trounces the English. Sassy angels, spilled drinks, and Jack McBrayer (30 Rock) as the Dauphin follow.
Then, of course, comes the iconic line that shows the low bar the 21st century has to cross in order to beat the Middle Ages. “Too harsh to woman and the breath was bad.” Have we crossed that low bar? You be the judge.
7. Nellie Bly goes undercover at Blackwell Island
For the guest appearance of Laura Dern (Big Little Lies) alone, this episode is an absolute gem. However, self-proclaimed “drunk as s***” narrator JD Ryznar (Yacht Rock) gives her and the rest of the cast some great material to work with, including the occasional random bark and numerous blown raspberries.
6. “Are You Afraid of the Drunk?”
In the 21-minute premiere of season six, we join regular storyteller Rich Fulcher in a spooky retelling of how Mary Shelley created the novel, Frankenstein. Fulcher consistently (and sloppily) delivers some pretty choice moments. We also see the seminal novel weave into the fascinating story of how Shelley created it.
The all-star cast includes Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld) as Mary Shelley, Elijah Wood (Wilfred) as Percy Shelly, Seth Rogen (The Night Before) as Victor Frankenstein, and Will Ferrell (Blades of Glory) as Frankenstein’s monster. It’s an awesome episode on a dark and stormy night.
5. Invention of the bra
Paget Brewster (Criminal Minds) has drunk her way through history a time or two. In an episode of inventions, she shares one of the most important beginnings for underwear: the bra. Parker Posey (Best in Show) portrays inventor of the modern bustier, Mary Phelps Jacob/Caresse Crosby. Her boobles are free to roam, indeed.
Also, apparently, her husband wanted her to change her name to Clytorsis. Yes, it’s supposed to be spelled with a “y”. No, we have no idea what was going on in his head.
4. The capture of Adolf Eichmann
Rachel Bloom of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend fame tells the story of the hunt and capture of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann. Tony Hale (Toy Story 4) plays the first head of Mossad (Israel’s CIA if you’ve never seen an episode of NCIS). What’s great is that Drunk History continues its proud tradition of casting actors that Nazis would hate to play them by having Weird Al as Eichmann.
While the story includes a Weekend at Bernie’s-like scenario, Bloom’s dog keeps licking her vagina in the background. She does enough that Bloom has to comment on it, which is used as dialogue for the actors. This show!
3. Mr. Rogers
This is less hilarious and more of reminder about how people can be incredibly tender and emotional (read: maudlin) when drunk.
Solomon Georgio tells the story of Fred Rogers and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Funnily enough, Rogers is played by Colin Hanks, son of Tom Hanks. Tom Hanks will make you bawl your eyes out in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, which is a film about Mister Rogers. Isn’t Hollywood weird like that sometimes?
Featuring an all-star cast including Michael Cera (Superbad), Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation), Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development), Dave Grohl (Sound City), and Tony Hale (Love, Simon), this 21-minute Lin-Manuel Miranda episode is the crown jewel of the entire series.
Miranda gets the munchies and wants to “order Dominos” in the middle of the story. Miranda appears far more competent than some other guests, but as his sobriety dwindles, so does his capacity to tell the story coherently and it’s an absolute treat.
1. Harriet Tubman leads an army of bad bitches
This episode had us at Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water) depicting Harriet Tubman, but she also does an incredible job of bringing to life Crissie West’s sloppy, bawdy storytelling too. Seeing Spencer as Tubman lip-synching the sentence “Aw, f*** that! We’re not gonna get caught by your stupid-ass traps, you slaveowners!” is one of the best things that ever happened on Drunk History.