IamA Derek Waters(Creator of Drunk History) AMA!
I'm a writer/actor/director/producer/tap dancer from Baltimore
I make "Drunk History" and its on Comedy Central and it's back TONIGHT at 10:30/EST
PROOF I AM WHO I CLAIM TO BE: https://twitter.com/derekwaterss/status/644319079960936448
PHOTO PROOF: http://imgur.com/YZHpeAK
God that would be amazing! I have to go back to editing Season 3 right now. Thank you so much for all these great questions. Make sure to check out Drunk History tonight at 1030pm. Octavia Spencer, Alia Shawkat, and Will Ferrell guest star tonight!!!
What is the minimum threshold for "drunk" history? Do people try to get away with just drinking a couple of drinks? On the opposite end of the spectrum have you ever had to stop filming or come back because someone couldn't finish their story?
We've only had to come back once. I find it's not about how drunk they are when it gets good....but it's more when the Alcohol has kicked in and they are present. Not trying to be funny or weird about the cameras...they just wanna teach me the story. So everyone gets to that point in different volumes. Also everyone one the show is FUNNY. So I know it will be funny. But I pick when it's natural funny and not forced. Forced Comedy is the worst in my opinion.
Love the show Derek. I'm curious — how drunk do you get while the comedian telling the story gets drunk? Is there someone on the crew who is monitoring how drunk people are getting and can cut them off if need be?
The only times I've gotten real drunk were in the first two episodes of the season. I've become pretty good at knowing where someone's at. Also have a breathalyzer to make sure they don't go too far. It's a great job!
Derek! Love the show. My favorite episode was when you got drunk with that dude in his bathtub.
What's the craziest drunken story you have from the set, that may or may not have made it in to the final cut of the show?
Thanks KidShowtime! JD is the only man I've bathed with. And I hope to say that again on my deathbed. Craziest? Well my lovely and hilarious friend Natasha Leggero put on a bathing suit and got in her bathtub. She wanted to do the rest of her story in there. We didn't shoot it cause there's a fine line between funny and sad. Trust me. Great question. Thank you!
When will you have Rich Fulcher back for a DH episode? My husband and I are always quoting him from the Lincoln episode, it's our absolute favorite one. His drunken cadence is hilarious. He's like some... ape... awkward man.
Also, do you have a drink/liquor now you can't drink anymore because of an episode?
I'm happy to say RICH FULCHER will be back this season! He's in a themed episode about GAMES! Spoiler Alert: He tells the story of Bobby Fischer! I can't drink Fernet-Branca ever again. Say hi to your husband for me :)
"i invented the reaperrr motherrr fuckkerrr"
"no, iiiii invented the reapeerr motherr fuckeerrr"
Hey, Derek. I asked you during your last AMA if you had ever been to New Orleans. You responded that you hadn't and you would like to. Since then there had been the New Orleans episode, and my quote about New Orleans managed to make it to the episode, so thanks for putting me on camera! Friends are still texting me saying they saw me on Drunk History. How have you been since the surgery?
Thank you so much! Even though I lost my Appendix in New Orleans, I loved it! I didn't need that dirty appendix anyhow. You rock!
Ever thought about heading to Colorado for a special episode : "High History"?
***ok let me tell you why I wouldn't do HIGH HISTORY. All the stories would be Theories and about the Narrator. Oh, and I say this as a pretty slow person...it was be so SLOW AND LONG. But I would like to go to Colorado. So pretty and I would like to keep saying, "That John Denver was full of shit"
I recently read that the drunkest you have ever been is when you filmed an episode with Dan Harmon. I gotta know... what were you guys throwing back?
Thanks for doing this ama and I really enjoy the show!
Great question! Yes that's the drunkest I've ever been. Dan and I were drinking straight Vodka with shots of Fernet-Branca. It was the Fernet-Branca that did me in. But we had to for Griselda BLANCO. Thanks for watching the show!
I'm sure I can Google it but it's more fun to hear from you. How do the actors lip sync? Is the narration played and then they perform? Halp! I love this show, I think it's more fun to watch under the influence of..other substances haha <3
It's much like how a music video is made. Except instead of people lip-sync lyrics...it's a drunk person. And it's played on a loop OVER AND OVER AGAIN. It makes you crazy but it's a lot of fun!
How did you come up with the Drunk History idea?
Do you know the story beforehand or get the story the night of shooting the drunkard?
I was drinking with my dear friend and amazing actor JAKE JOHNSON. He told me an Otis Redding story that I didn't believe so I kept picturing Otis moving his lips to Jake's words also shaking his head to me as if to say This never happened. But maybe it did. So I wanted to do a subject you could prove was true. So I thought History. But I only thought I was gonna do it once. Never thought it would become what it has. God Bless Mikey Cera for being in the first one. And Mark Gagliardi for telling the story of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr's duel. And yes the narrators know the story beforehand.
Who has been your favorite celebrity to work with on Drunk History? Who is at the top of your wish list for the future?
Keep up the good work! Drunk History is amazing!
I've loved everyone we've had on the show. Parker Posey is in my top favorites though. I've loved her since Waiting For Guffman (favorite movie) so it was a dream come true. #pennyforyourthoughts. Also Octavia Spencer! She's playing Harriet Tubman in tonight's episode!
Would you ever do something on Drunk History about the history of dance/ballet? Some of the stories are suprisingly racy AND I happen to know some ballet dancers that are really great at talking about ballet & getting sloppy drunk....
hAHAHA! I love this idea! We gotta get Christopher Guest in there as Corky St. Clair. Ever Seen Ballet by Fredrick Wiseman? it's great. Everything Fredrick Wiseman makes!!!!
has any celebrity reached out to you to ask to be on the show that surprised you?
Love the show and concept, and liquor. Whats your favorite drink(s)? Also how do I get on the show? Rambling drunkenly about historical topics is something ive been training for relentlessly.
Thanks for your sweet words. Bulleit bourbon is my drink of choice. We haven't gotten picked up for a 4th season yet so I don't know how I'm gonna get on the show again. But fingers crossed.
I love Doug Stanhope!
Hey Derek! Lutherville represent. How close were you to giving up on your dream to make it, in LA?
21093!!! Which time? I'd probably thought about moving back 10 times. But I'm good. at least for now. Still miss my UTZ and my Royal Farms!
Hi Derek, thanks for doing this AMA! Im a big fan of the show from the UK, I was wondering if you had any creative control over the UK version? It seemed to be lacking a lot of the heart and care that made me love the original!
I didn't have Any creative control with the UK Version. I said let them do the UK version of Drunk History. Didn't want them to be forced to do something they didn't feel was need. Thanks for saying that about the heart and care.
Shouldn't you be doing this AMA drunk?
yes I should. But nobody should drink in the morning. Unless you're in Cancun for spring break?
Mr. Waters, Do you allow a guest to get a drunk as they want on the show? Some episodes are funny, but then there are other ones where they people don't even seem buzzed. Either way its still one the best shows comedy central has.
Everyone holds their booze differently but I promise they're all DRUNK. Thanks for liking the show!
Might the future see one offs or episodes based around interesting stories focussed on a type of drink? I imagine there must wild but true stories surrounding moonshine, the 80's cocktail revolution, prohibition highballs.... Also, comedian/actor's drink of choice surprised you the most?
I never thought about that. Good idea. The History of Alcohol could be fun but maybe too metta? I drank Moonshine with Goat in the Charleston episode and loved it! I guess Dan Harmon with Fernet-Branca but only cause I'd never had it. If a narrator drank Mad Dog 20/20 that would surprise me. if ANYBODY drank Mad Dog.
How many takes do you film to get the lip syncing just right? How much practice is involved? Which actors nailed it in one take?
Many Many takes. Luckily we have the best actors in the show so they all know it...but it's just something you gotta get different versions of. Practice? Well the best actors are the ones that can do ADR very well. But it's a strange thing. Like silent film acting and your lips are part of your physical comedy. Kat Dennings is one of the best I've ever seen!
what are the strangest notes you've received back from the network?
"Keep doing what you're doing!" - Comedy Central
What is your policy if someone you are filming becomes too drunk?
We have a medic who give them Oxygen. Sounds weird but it works.
Hi Derek! My wife and I have been big fans since the College Humor days and my favorite segment will always be Edison vs. Tesla. Everyone else got all the good questions in this and other AMAs, so I have one for you. What is a story from your own life that you would like to see drunkenly reenacted? Who would be your ideal actor to portray you?
ha! I don't know what story but I would for sure like David Faustino to play me...him or the Rock..sorry Dwayne Johnson
Are you going to come to Delaware??????
I go every year! Bethany Beach up in here HON!
Who are 3 people in History that you wish you could have a drink with?
Lincoln, Poe, and Eddie Vedder
Thank you for being funnier than the British. Never miss an episode. What's your go to hangover cure?
haha! thanks! ResQWater. I'm not sponsored by them but it really works. You drink it the night you're drinking. Check it out. http://www.resqwater.com/
Will you ever have Margaret Cho on the show?
I love Margaret Cho! Yes please!
Derek - Sometimes I watch your show and my abs hurt afterwards from all the laughing. Thanks.
?: It seemed that Jonah Ray got a little combative during his story. (One of my favorite moments was his "OPENING SHOT!" and your immediate "Nope." response.) Was there tension or was it drunken tension?
J-Ray and I have been friends for a decade so that was just him and I being friends
What do you find to be the most hilarious drunk version of a historical event on your show?
The sincerity of how the actor delivers a modern phrase. Ridiculousness taken seriously. And the fact that these stories are TRUE. just the dialogue's off a lil' bit
Derek my man, I loved the DVD for Seasons 1 & 2. We gonna see one for Season 3?
YES! The Dvd for Season 3 is in the works now. I don't know when it will be release yet. Thank you for keeping DVDS alive!
Have you ever thought about doing a drunk music history special?
We did an episode last season called AMERICAN MUSIC. check it out. But I would love to do More Music! I love Music. Specifically listening to it.
What's a good behind-the-scenes tidbit from filming with Duncan Trussell? His performance was incredible.
Duncan is one of my favorites. Wait till you see him this year! I guess a good behind the scenes moment was last year when Duncan was trying to convince me that my dad isn't my real dad ONLY because my brother and I are 6 years apart. Duncan didn't think that made sense that they would have waited 6 years to have me. But he was Drunk so he didn't know what he was talking about. My dad is my dad DUNCAN!
Hello Derek! I am a huge fan of the show and I can't wait until you guys do a Kansas City episode. Are there any cities or topics that are on your production wish list? Also, is your liver okay? Thanks!
My liver feels great. How can you tell? oh shit I can't breathe. jk jk jk j-to the motherfing K homeboy. I hope to do episodes about amazing years that had historical greatness in the world. not just America. I love Kansas City btw. Your Royals are killing me but love it there. Overland Park whoot whoot!
Hey Derek! The Dan Harmon segment was my favorite bit from the show. Any word on if he's gonna do it again?
Thanks for doing the AMA!
I hope Dan does it again. More importantly I hope we get picked up for a 4th Season. Step by Step.
What's the most awkward it's ever gotten, in either the narration or reenacting? I was cringing and laughing and cringing at laughing on the episode where Jake Johnson was playing Travis, and he was such an ass to his slave.
haha! I love that Jake Johnson. I gotta say that was one of the hardest I've ever had to hold it in. Jake doesn't have to be saying anything...the way he gives you a look is so fucking funny. On the narration side....probably Jen Kirkman yelling at me to get her Her Cheesy bread she bought. Spoiler Alert: Jen Kirkman is back this season!!!
Hey! What do you do when you're not getting hammered and talking about history?
Cheer for the Orioles, Ravens....um watch Fredrick Wiseman Documentaries and dream of getting out of my one-bedroom apartment. NOT TO BRAAAAG!
Do you think that our forefathers would get a kick out of your history lessons?
I would sure hope so. Think they would be happy to hear these stories that are true and that younger people are learning. But what do I know. They could all be assholes and hate everything. My goal is that every story we do is true, and been kept under a rug for some BS reason.
Hi Derek! Thank you so much for doing what you do - you make the world a better, drunker, more hilarious, (somewhat) more educated place! My question is: How do you kick your muse into gear and transform you ideas into the tangible? I've got a lot of creative ideas that I never actually start. I know I gotta make the time, but I need a little kick in the arse. Maybe some wise words from a creative self-starter will help! How do you sit down and get shit done?
Also (not really a question but) I hope you guys run another Win a Walk-on Role contest! THAT was fun! I submitted what I considered to be a hilarious, whimsical cinematic work of art, but was delayed in my campaigning and didn't get into the Top 5. Wish you didn't have to win by popular vote in these contests- I just don't have that many friends!
Thanks for all that you do!
My advise is DO IT! I never thought this would be a show...I just thought it was a funny idea to do once. Every human deals with self-doubt it sucks but it's real. Do what YOU believe is good and makes you happy. Don't listen to what haters say. but also listen to your instinct. it's real. Hope that helps. DO IT!
Regarding alcohol consumption...
Do you use a breathalyzer to monitor alcohol levels? (And preventing people from driving home while potentially over the legal limit?)
What alcohol beverages are typically consumed?
Has the show's budget helped -- or hindered -- what is purchased for consumption for the show?
How long do you anticipate doing the show?
It's so I know where they're at when we start and when we end. Nobody ever drives home. We either shoot it at their house or a house we rent for the shoot. But they are driven home. Whiskey and Wine is the most common drink of choice here. Budget has helped get more people. It doesn't pay much but at least it pays. The narrator purchases their drink of choice. I anticipate doing it for as long as we keep finding great stories and the show isn't just famous people moving their lips you know?
Can you get Stephen Colbert to do drunk Lord of the Rings history?
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