It’s rare that a good idea springs from an evening of drunk conversation: while alcohol engenders passion, it also engenders incoherence. Drunk History co-creator Derek Waters found himself on exactly this territory one night with comedian Jake Johnson, who was convinced that Otis Redding knew he was going to die before his fatal plane crash. Waters did a little mental negotiating, swapping music for history, and realized that a fun night at the bar could yield an even funnier idea for a sketch. He then presented the idea to director and co-creator Jeremy Konner. Together they enlisted comedian Mark Gagliardi, who agreed to get plastered and discuss the infamous Hamilton–Burr duel that cost Alexander Hamilton his life. With another friend, actor Michael Cera, playing Hamilton, the duo crafted the inaugural episode of Drunk History. It premiered at Los Angeles’ Upright Citizens Brigade, entered the annals of YouTube, got picked up by Funny or Die and has now firmly landed at Comedy Central. Drunk History’s first televised season took viewers across the country with plenty of booze and outrageous tales from local improv groups and comedians — including Luke and Owen Wilson, Kristen Wiig, and Dave Grohl. With Season 2 of Drunk History wrapping up and Waters and Konner hitting the road for Drunk History Live, now seemed like the best time to catch up with the duo. Using a combination of in-person conversation at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival and a follow-up phone interview, Waters and Konner with April Siese waxed poetic on the show that’s turned them into celebrities and, ultimately, history nerds.
April Siese, Wag’s Revue: I’d like to start off with a quote by a historic man, Napoleon Bonaparte. He said that “history is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.” What do you and your guests agree upon before a Drunk History tale has been told?