Derek Waters Explains His TV Series ‘Drunk History’

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tags: NYT, TV, Drunk History, Comedy Central

For an inebriated storyteller, enthusiasm often outpaces execution. “They have to get it out, no matter how many times they mess it up,” said Derek Waters, a creator of “Drunk History,” beginning Tuesday on Comedy Central.

He would know. Since 2007, this actor (“Suburgatory,” “Married to the Kellys”) and writer has asked friends to throw back a few, then tell him their favorite historical tale as a camera rolls. The resulting videos, hits on Funny or Die, pair the sloppy narratives with self-serious re-enactments — including the drunken flubs and profanity — by famous actors. “The tone is, these are guys who are trying as hard as they can to make a history show, but it’s just not going that well,” Mr. Waters said.

The first “Drunk History” featured Michael Cera as Alexander Hamilton. Ensuing installments drew other big names — Will Ferrell as Abraham Lincoln, Don Cheadle as Frederick Douglass, Jack Black as Benjamin Franklin.

The Comedy Central version is equally star studded. The pilot, available online, features Adam Scott as John Wilkes Booth and Mr. Black as Elvis Presley; later installments star Kristen Wiig as Patty Hearst and Luke and Owen Wilson as the Kellogg brothers. Mr. Waters, 33, who grew up just outside Baltimore, hosts the show and appears in most of the re-enactments....

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