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Created By:
Derek Waters, Jeremy Conner
Cast: Derek Waters, Bennie Arthur, Maria Blasucci
Writing Credits:
Historical reenactments by A-list talent are presented by inebriated storytellers.

Rated TV-14.

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1/16X9
English Dolby 5.1
English Dolby 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:
None (Seasons 1-3)
English (Season 4)

Runtime: 1522 min.
Price: $50.99
Release Date: 6/29/2021

Season One:
• “Drunk Outtakes: Chris Romano”
• ”Sober Reveal: Jen Kirkman”
Season Two:
• Bonus Segments for All 10 Episodes
Season Three
• Bonus Segments for All 10 Episodes
Season Four
• 2016 Election Special
• 11 Extended/Deleted Scenes


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Drunk History: The Complete Series (2013-19)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 24, 2021)

Based on its title, one might expect Comedy Central’s Drunk History to offer a look back at inebriated folks over the years. Instead, it gives us historical lessons related by soused narrators.

Rather than simply show these sots as they struggle to go through details due to their impairments, History uses performers to act out the tales they tell. However, these folks lip-synch to the recitations from the titular drunks – down to belches and other accidental utterances.

Drunk History came into being as a web series that created seven shorts from 2007 to 2010. In 2013, it graduated to full half-hour Comedy Central show, one that lasted six seasons.

In this 11-DVD set, we get all 70 Drunk History episodes. Seasons Five and Six are exclusive to this “Complete Series” set, whereas the prior four received separate releases.

With 70 shows on display, I didn’t have time to watch all of them, so I went with one or two per disc. Normally I would discuss each of those episodes on their own, but the series’ framework makes the programs so similar that I figured a general look at my thoughts made more sense.

For each episode, host Derek Waters gets drunk with a narrator. The latter studied the events in question, most of which tend to look at semi-obscure historical material.

That makes sense, as it would create less of a challenge for the drunk narrators to tell us about famous circumstances. Since they look into less well-known stuff, they find more of a struggle to dig into the details.

As noted, the performers act out the narration, with an obvious comedic leaning. Their work tends to be broad and aimed at laughs.

Which History occasionally gets, and almost always due to the affections and talents of those performers. The series comes with a slew of known actors for the recreations.

In the first episode alone, we find Jack Black, Dave Grohl, Bob Odenkirk, Jack McBrayer, Adam Scott, Will Forte and Fred Willard. Most programs prove less star-packed than that, but we still locate lots of recognizable participants along the way.

The drunk narrators usually are less famous, though a few exceptions occur. In the most memorable instance, Lin-Manuel Miranda gets sloshed and covers info about Alexander Hamilton in Season Four.

As noted, Drunk History can be funny, though as also mentioned, most of the laughs come from the actors. The narrators tend to be surprisingly lucid most of the time, so their drunkenness doesn’t add as much to the experience as one might expect.

Still, their inebriation makes their retellings of events looser and more profane, which adds to the potential comedy. The actors take advantage of the less than scholarly narration and run with the goofy contrast of historical events and sloshed commentary.

History almost certainly works best in small doses, though. Face it: this offers essentially a one-joke series, as every episode attempts to amuse us with the absurdity of the historical material told by drunk people.

This can get stale if taken in large measures. I wouldn’t want to binge on History for that reason.

I do find myself impressed with the quality of the historical lessons on display. Even in their impaired state, the narrators still manage to get out the necessary information, and as mentioned, the series opts for semi-obscure topics much of the time.

That allows the series to become much more educational than I anticipated. I figured it’d be all about the sloppy silliness, but damned if I didn’t learn a lot along the way.

This becomes the main reason Drunk History largely works. While the concept seems goofy at best, it manages to deliver laughs and education in a fairly good measure.

The DVD Grades: Picture B-/ Audio C+/ Bonus C+

Drunk History appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on these single-sided, double-layered DVDs; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Given the restraints of SD-DVD, the shows looked fine.

This meant adequate sharpness, as the shows offered reasonable delineation. They never offered great clarity, but they delivered decent accuracy. No prominent signs of jagged edges or shimmering appeared, and I saw no issues with edge haloes or source flaws.

Colors varied dependent on the demands of the sketches, and the hues seemed acceptable. While the tones never stood out as impressive, they worked fine.

Blacks were suitably dark, and shadows became reasonably opaque. The shows brought us perfectly adequate visuals.

Not much about the series’ Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack impressed – and by “not much”, I mean “nothing”. The stereo audio showed reasonable breadth across the front channels, but the material failed to use the speakers in a lively manner.

Music demonstrated good stereo imaging and effects brought us decent spread, but the soundscape lacked a lot of pizzazz. Effects played a small role, so don’t expect much from the surrounds.

Audio quality was fine, with dialogue that appeared concise and natural. Music showed pretty good range, while effects became accurate enough, though they didn’t stand out with much dimensionality. The soundtrack appeared decent but unexceptional.

A mix of extras spread across the DVDs, and for Season One, we get two components. Drunk Outtakes: Chris Romano runs seven minutes, 12 seconds and gives us extra footage from S1’s fourth episode, “Boston”.

Unlike the “re-enacted” bits on the main show, here we just see Romano as he rambles drunkenly. It’s not interesting without the series’ context.

Also from the “Boston” episode, Sober Reveal: Jen Kirkman goes for 13 minutes, 26 seconds. It offers a form of commentary, as a sober Kirkman watches her segment and reflects on it alongside host Derek Waters.

Sort of. Kirkman tends to giggle a lot, so we don’t get a ton of info. It’s a good concept to see how the participants view their drunk selves, but this clip doesn’t really work.

For Season Two, Disc One comes with five bonus segments. These offer cut footage for each of the DVD’s episodes and span a total of one hour, three minutes, 23 seconds. Disc Two’s five sections go for a total of one hour, 12 minutes, 53 seconds.

Across these, we get a mix of outtakes, deleted scenes, “sober reveals” and extended clips. That’s a lot of leftovers, and some can entertain. However, we find a lot of not-so-great material along the way, so it can turn into a chore to work through them.

Similar content appears on Season Three Disc Two, where we get 46 minutes, 23 seconds of bonus clips. Expect another mix of fun clips and not too interesting bits.

For Season Four, we get an Election Special. It goes for 21 minutes, 21 seconds and acts like a normal episode of Drunk History, but it covers US politics and ran on Election Day 2016. It provides some entertainment value.

S4 also brings 11 Extended and Deleted Scenes. These occupy a total of 22 minutes, 43 seconds. As usual, they vary in quality but they add some good clips.

No extras appear for Seasons Five or Six, though it should be noted that S5 included a Christmas special that simply shows up as a regular episode on S5 Disc One.

As comedy, Drunk History seems erratic. As education, the series works surprisingly well, so I approve of it overall. The DVDs offer decent picture and audio as well as a collection of bonus materials. When taken in small doses, the series entertains.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 2
2 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

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