Well, the time has come. I’m turning 21 today, and I couldn’t think of anything more on-brand to celebrate the big day than to combine alcohol with history and count you guys down to my top 16 segments of Drunk History on Comedy Central. If you haven’t seen the show, you really really must. I rarely laugh harder at anything else, and the little-known stories are fascinating and often inspiring.
Because the full episodes are only available on Comedy Central and Hulu, some of the following only show the excerpt that was available on YouTube. However, if you have the opportunity to watch the entire segment, it really will be worth your time. Or save them for a rainy day like I do.
16. Stetson Kennedy infiltrates the KKK
This is the perfect example of how much you can learn about little-known influences of certain people or events throughout history on this show. However, while I did enjoy the story, the main reason this is on the list is for the sneezes at the end…
15. The Entire Hamilton Episode
If you’ve read my first Frequent Fascinations, you know how much I am OBSESSED with Hamilton, like so many others out there. That’s why I lost my goshdarn mind when Lin Manuel-Miranda tweeted a selfie of him and Derek Waters because it was two of my favorite things coming together. The episode, normally broken up into three different segments, was entirely the Hamilton story and the fact that Alia Shawkat and Aubrey Plaza plays Hamilton and Burr was just a cherry on top.
14. Judy heumann Fights for people with disabilities
This is another example of a story that just makes you inspired by people such as Judy Heumann who refuse to let anything stand in their way of making the world a better place.
13. edgar allan poe feuds with rufus griswold
As I mentioned in my Judith Leyster post, most prominent figures that we celebrate today were unpopular in their lifetime and Edgar Allan Poe is no exception, partially because of this feud. Also, if you watch the full episode, there is a hilarious fourth-wall-breaking moment at the end that still cracks me up thinking about it.
12. Nellie Bly goes undercover at Blackwell’s Island
I do love me some stories about Nellie Bly and this is maybe the most well-known story on this list but that doesn’t make it any less of a segment. Her story is inspiring to me as a writer and I’ve heard about her long before I saw this episode but now whenever I think about her, all I can see is Laura Dern.
11. nichelle nichols Lives boldly
This is another exciting collision of moments in history, including Star Trek, MLK Jr., the first interracial kiss on television, and NASA. It was a little weird for me to see Raven in any other show than “That’s So Raven” but I got over it.
10. PReston brooks canes charles sumner
Out of all the ones on this list, I would say you have to try to watch the full segment of this. Sumner refuses to back down in his fight against slavery and gives a moving (and in this case, very drunken) speech urging for us to remember our humanity. And, come on, who doesn’t love Patton Oswalt?
9. Daniel Inouye’s Heroic Moment
I know you are probably getting tired of me saying what great and inspiring stories these all are but this one is incredible. I had never heard of it before and it is probably one of the best-told stories on the show. If you watch the full episode and are as moved as I was, do some more research on Daniel Inouye because he was a fascinating figure.
8. sybil ludington’s midnight ride
So I’m always going to hold a soft spot in my heart for Sybil Ludington because she was the very first woman I wrote about on this blog. You can also read about how I bought a rare stamp with her on it in my catch-up from my D.C. trip. All in all, great story, great ep.
7. harriet tubman leads an army of bad bitches
Everything is better with Octavia Spencer. ‘Nuf said.
6. Mary dyer
Again, the full episode has a lot more of the funny goofs and things that come with too much alcohol but this gives you a pretty good sense of it. And you gotta love the Jim Morrison bit at the end.
5. Rose valland takes on the Nazis
As I talked about in another Frequent Fascinations, I LOVE Tiffany Haddish. Her narration takes this segment up to a level that it has never been before and she infuses her boundless joy into the story and makes you love Rose just as much as she does.
4. allan pinkerton protects abraham lincoln
I went into some detail about this in my Kate Warne post but this is just a scream. There is a great moment at the end of the full episode involving a moth that is maybe the funniest moment ever on the show.
3. john adams and thomas Jefferson had beef
The funny thing about this episode is I had just read a couple weeks before this aired about Adams claiming Jefferson was dead and I thought that was the wildest thing ever. Then, I saw it in a Drunk History episode and I felt like at least someone else in the world was laughing with me. It was a great moment.
2. frederic bartholdi and the Statue of liberty
This is another fascinating intersection in history and tells the story about how we almost never had the Statue of Liberty BECAUSE WE DIDN’T WANT IT. I also love this one because they have a lot of fun with their low-budget antics.
1. Washington’s Army Shapes Up
This is my favorite segment of all because it perfectly blends one of my favorite stories from the Revolution of immigrants getting the job done with the complete ridiculousness of the show. Brilliant.
If you watch Drunk History, I would love to know which segment is your all-time favorite and if you are Derek Waters, please let me be on the show now that I’m 21. I won’t let you down.