Thursday, October 27, 2011

ON HISTORY: The phenomenon of Drunk History

How do you get 1.5 million people to sit through a six minute film on the testy relationship between Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass during the Civil War and how it shaped the elimination of slavery? Or get another 1.3 million to watch another six minute film on Nicola Tesla and his early experiments in electricity? Or get another 1.3 million to watch a five minute video about Benjamin Franklin?

Here’s an idea: How about getting the film’s narrator to first swallow down an entire bottle of brandy, or a bottle and a half of wine, and then stagger through the story in semi-coherent rants, occasionally collapsing on a sofa or babbling to themselves, while celebrity actors like Will Farrell and John C. Reilly play the key title roles? This, basically, is the concept behind Drunk History,  a wildly popular production of the Funny or Die web site.

Here’s a sample above. Try it out, or visit their web site for more.

It’s always good to find new, interesting ways to tell history, ways that get people to listen and make them passionate about it.

Here’s to a clever idea. I need a drink.

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