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Shrewsbury, Massachusetts- Viral videos belong on the Internet for a reason: they are short, sweet, and amusing. However if they were transferred to another medium like television, it faces the troubles of having those sweet, amusing parts work over a greater length. Some can rise to the challenge and some do not. Thankfully, Derek Water’s Drunk History did not share the problem of overstaying its welcome with its debut season last summer. Now the show has returned for its second season with more high strung and drunken hilarity.
The concept is a simple one. A comedian (or sometimes local folks) get absolutely trashed and attempt to recount a historical event. Then Derek Waters and his crew recreate the stories with celebrities lip-synching the original audio. The events vary depending on the location at each episode from New York, Montgomery, or Baltimore.
Drunk History remains a simple concept from its transfer over from the original Funny or Die videos, and that really works to its advantage. The show uses its pumped-up production values into the recreations that feature elaborate and accurate (or in some cases, inaccurate). The stories tend to focus on the lesser known figures of history such as Percy Julian or Claudette Colvin that are not only funny, but shine the spotlight on important events that aren’t often studied in high school.
The comedians they have recounting the tales are incredible. The standout so far is Allan McLeod (who also told last season’s highlight about the Booth Brothers) whose retelling of Percy Julian is hilarious. Jordan Peele’s dedication to the lip-synching of McLeod’s story propels it even further by being so in tune with it. The other actors are really in synch with their recounting, especially Weird Al Yankovic as Hitler, which is something that you never thought you wanted, but are glad you now have.
Drunk History comes back for its sophomore year strong and doesn’t appear to be running out of material. Derek Waters and co. have built a simple concept and have stuck to their guns with expanding it. They open it up without stretching its concept too thin. With only six episodes this season, Drunk History breezes through its tales without overstaying its welcome. Some segments don’t work as well as others, but it’s all good fun and it leaves you wanting another round when you’re done.
Drunk History is on Tuesday nights @ 10 pm on Comedy Central