The concept of “Drunk History” — drunk people recounting historical moments and funny people acting it out — as a television show is problematic. How long can you maintain the audience’s interest with a format that will never change? In small doses, for quite some time.
“Drunk History” was created by comedic actor/writer Derek Waters for the Funny or Die website about five years ago. Waters would find a comedian or actor to get hammered and attempt to recount the tale of how Benjamin Franklin invented electricity, or something almost factually correct. And known actors would act out these ridiculous tales in full period regalia.
It was an immediate hit, and not hard to see why — drunk people are funny and funny drunk people are really funny.
When “Funny or Die Presents…” became an HBO show in 2010, “Drunk History” was one of the few successful translations from web to television. So now Comedy Central has decided to use an entire half-hour to have some sloshed people tell you (often erroneously) about history.
I find “Drunk History” amusing and occasionally laugh-out-loud hilarious, but a lot depends on the intoxicated person telling the tale. “Drunk History” has scored the likes of Jack Black, Adam Scott and Bob Odenkirk for re-enactment roles, but their skills are marginalized.
As much as I’ve enjoyed “Drunk History” over the years — in small doses — I won’t be watching every week. It would lose its novelty quickly. And I don’t need to; the internet lea me to the best ones anyway.