September 05, 2014

Feminist Friday: Drunk History presents women your U.S. History class never talked about

This summer, we took our annual family vacation to the beach, with my parents, my sisters and assorted extended family members. It was awesome, per usual.

One thing we did not account for was a little hurricane called Arthur. We were lucky--he only sapped a day of our vacation, and no major damage was done in the area we stayed.......and I found a new show to add to my list of favorites--Drunk History.

Many of you are probably familiar with the show, which began as a Funny or Die web series. The premise is simple: People get super drunk and then proceed to tell a historical story. It could be from any of the many aspects of our historical heritage--pop culture, entertainment, sports, war, politics, civil rights. Anything.

Then a variety of actors proceed to act out the story, complete with all burps, missteps, and hilarious diversions.

I completely expected the show to be funny. But, I have to agree with this TIME quote:
I had a feeling I’d enjoy the show, just based on the people involved — the show regularly features funny and accomplished women like Jenny Slate, Aubrey Plaza and Casey Wilson. But I didn’t expect Drunk History to teach me anything new. And I certainly didn’t expect it to be so female focused. And yet almost every week, the show has introduced me to an American heroine I never even knew existed. There’s Mary Dryer, who was hanged by the Puritans for preaching religious tolerance; Mary Ellen Pleasant, who disguised her identity as a former slave by pretending to be white and opening several successful businesses to fund abolitionist causes; and Claudette Colvin, who was actually the first African-American woman to refuse to give up her seat at the front of the bus in 1955. (Because Colvin was young and pregnant, the NAACP asked Rosa Parks to repeat the act and become the face of the movement.)
I too was impressed by the sheer number of female voices that appear in the flick. They are strong and smart and capable. They play critical roles in our nation's history...and by and large, you've probably never heard of the majority of them. I know I haven't.

I would like to give a serious round of applause to Comedy Central and Derek Waters, and all of the writers, producers, and other staff involved, for making this series. It's fun and engaging, and I love seeing so many different people--all different backgrounds, genders, races--represented. It's a picture of my nation that I am truly proud of.

You can check out Drunk History on YouTube here. You can find it on Funny or Die here.

It's truly worth a watch. It may not always be the most straightforward retelling...but it will be engaging and funny. And you will learn more than you could have ever imagined learning from Comedy Central.

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