EXCLUSIVE: The fourth season of Comedy Central’s Drunk History will return on Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 10:30PM with the first episode entitled “Great Escapes.” Part of the plan next season is to have each episode focus on a theme rather than a city, which was the scenario during season one. Co-creator Derek Waters recently revealed details about the forthcoming season at an Awardsline Emmy screening.
In “Great Escapes”, narrator Duncan Trussell revealed he was finally getting the opportunity to tell a story about LSD propaganda-ist Timothy Leary. When Leary was being prosecuted, he had to take a test so that it could be determined which prison he should be sent. Here’s the catch: Leary wrote the test. “He was able to fill it out, so he could get in a minimum-security prison and escape,” explained Trussell.
Waters also mentioned that there’s an upcoming “Food” episode, and that one of the stories that didn’t make it into the season three episode of “Spies” (which was screened at the Awardsline Drunk History event) would be featured prominently.
“It’s about how Julia Childs was a spy,” announced Waters to the packed house at the Landmark Theatre in Westwood. The Awardsline panel also included “Spies” narrator Crissle West (who recounts how Harriet Tubman was a spy for the north during the Civil War) and actor Nathan Fillion who portrays Wernher Von Braunn on the episode.
Drunk History‘s roots began on YouTube where Waters enlisted his Upright Citizens Brigade buds to play various roles. The first episode centered around U.S. founding father Alexander Hamilton, who was played by Michael Cera. Drunk History‘s inspiration comes from Waters’ tipsy night with New Girl friend Jake Johnson when the duo were discussing Otis Redding’s death. Waters said he imagined Redding telling the story “moving his lips to what Jake was saying.”
Describing the wonder of the show, Trussell says, “I think a lot of these stories have vanished. And they’re about an injustice that has happened. I think that underneath the intoxication and slurring, we’ve summoned up a soul that’s getting a little bit of vengeance in the form of having their story re-announced to the world where it’s mostly been dormant.” Trussell pointed to the story of Serbian American inventor Nikola Tesla, one of the early engineers behind lighting. However, he never reaped the glory since Thomas Edison, his employer, “stole the patent” said Trussell.
Detailing some of the behind-the-scenes, Waters revealed that those inebriated narrators are always chugging safely from their own stash of alcohol, and being filmed in their own homes. Waters makes sure that the narrators drink something that they’ve never had a bad experience with “because there’s nothing worse than drinking something you don’t like.”
“It’s a legal thing!,” hysterically exclaimed Trussell, “We have to sign forms that say we don’t die!”
“No, no,” corrected Waters, “It says we’re drinking at our own will.”
Given the crazy political election year with radicals like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, Deadline’s Dominic Patten asked Waters if he’d ever consider doing a “Drunk Recent History”.
“No, our show is political without being political. I like telling stories where we say this happened, and not say which side you should be in favor or against,” answered Waters, “I never want to be someone who is telling you what to believe in.”