While Comedy Central’s Drunk History typically groups its tales by thematic episodes, creators Derek Waters and Jeremy Konner’s approach to building a season simply comes from mining the best unknown stories.
In regard to the direction they provide to their research department, Waters says they tell them “to find us the best stories we weren’t told in school, or pitch us a story about someone we know so much about, and it’s a story that we never heard,” he said during the show’s panel at Deadline’s Contenders Television virtual event. “Of the stories we like the most, we find theme out of that.”
Some of this season’s notable episodes include “Bad Blood,” which features the story about Cleopatra’s (Aubrey Plaza) younger sister Arsinoe (Olivia Trujillo) scheming her way in and out of power in Ancient Egypt. Also, very timely with what’s going on right now, the story of Typhoid Mary (Betsy Sodaro), a legendary asymptomatic cook during the typhoid outbreak of the early 20th century. There’s also Tessa Thompson, who plays Earth Kitt in the episode “Fame.”
“The story of Cleopatra and her sister Arsinoe, that was our Game of Thrones; that’s how we were approaching this,” Konner said about Drunk History‘s most challenging episode to mount. “We’re not going around the world to Scotland and Iceland, we went to a cemetery in South Central L.A. We did our best and it was a beautiful building and that became our Alexandria.”
While covering history in vignettes, the show has never spared on details, bringing rich production design details approaching a The King’s Speech sensibility.
“We have the greatest crew in the world, they’re able to make stuff out of nothing. They take silly things and turn them into big beautiful things,” Konner said. “‘Typhoid Mary’ was shot in the lobby of an apartment building in Pasadena, CA.”
During its run, Drunk History has been nominated for 14 Emmys, winning Best Costumes for a Variety Program or Special in 2015 for costume designer Christina Mongini and costumer supervisor Cassandra Conners. Of its 14 noms, Drunk History has been nominated for Outstanding Variety Sketch series five times.
Check out the panel video above.