Drunk History is a pseudo-educational history show put on by Comedy Central. Creator and host of the show Derek Waters brings in history buffs, has a few drinks with them, and then has them tell him a story from history as best as they can.
Celebrity actors try to lip-sync and act out their version of events. The show’s very successful sixth season just ended in August 2019, but there hasn’t been any news of a renewal for season seven yet. Until then, here are the five best and five worst episodes for Drunk History, as ranked by fans on IMDb.
10 Worst: Games — 7.4/10
This great episode gives us the stories of Milton Bradley, Bobby Fischer, and Roger Sharpe, who are all important names in the gaming world. Lauren Lapkus, Craig Anstett, and Rich Fulcher are the storytellers who get drunk and try to tell the stories that Topher Grace, Taran Killam, and Jake Johnson have to act out.
Many of the Drunk History episodes hit the 7.3 and 7.4 mark. It’s a good mark—on a scale oF of 10, 7 is nothing to sneeze at. So it’s not that “Games” is a bad episode—how could anything that includes Lauren Lapkus and Jake Johnson be bad?—but that so many other Drunk History episodes are great.
9 Best: Drunk Mystery — 8.4/10
A lot of the fun of Drunk History comes from the drunken version of historic events that storytellers attempt to tell. But in “Drunk Mystery” part of the premise is turned on its head: these are all stories that no one knows the real end too. Where did Agatha Christie disappear to for eleven days, and why does she say she doesn't remember? Who was the real DB Cooper, and did he survive his dramatic escape? Who was the Circleville Letter Writer that threatened an entire town?
This episode's funniest moments come from everyone's continued surprise about these strange tales. Nothing beats a drink and a mystery.
8 Worst: National Parks — 7.3/10
In this episode of inebriated historical storytelling, Steve Berg, Daryl J. Johnson, and Tess Lynch successfully tell their tales. It includes Jayma Mays playing journalist Marjory Stoneman Douglas, who worked to save the Florida everglades; Adam Beach as Richard Oakes, who led the 19-month occupation of Alcatraz by the Indians of All Tribes Native American group; and Thomas Middleditch as John Muir, who convinced Teddy Roosevelt to preserve Yosemite.
How could an episode with such cool stories be so lowly rated? Well, 7.3 isn’t a low score. But it could just be because it aired the week after one of the most highly rated episodes in Drunk History…well, history. Compared to the powerhouse episode “Are You Afraid of the Drunk?” this episode is only good, not great.
7 Best: S.O.S — 8.4/10
Paget Brewster and Mark Gagliardi have several drinks with Derek Waters and tell him the tales of Navy officer Douglas Hegdahl’s escape from a POW camp in North Vietnam and how Florence Nightingale revolutionized the field of nursing.
While the stories are great, the highlight of this episode is probably Brewster’s and Waters’s banter. They make a great comedic team, and their playfully antagonistic blustering throughout her story is what makes the episode so watchable.
6 Worst: Siblings — 7.2/10
This season four episode focuses on some of the famous—and forgotten—sisters of history. Did you know the Wright brothers had a sister? What about the Fox sisters, who started the Spiritualism craze? Or the Kopp sisters whose “unladylike” behavior in the early 20th century saved their family home?
Lauren Lapkus returns to tell stories this episode, as does J.D. Ryznar. Jason Ritter stars as one of the Wright brothers alongside Jenna Fischer as his sister. Rachel Bilson and Elizabeth Olson play two of the rebel Kopp sisters. And Sarah Ramos shows up as Maggie Fox, the Fox sister that confessed.
5 Best: Heroines — 8.6/10
This season five episode has an impressive cast. Not only do Paget Brewster and Tiffany Haddish show up to get drunk and tell stories, but Evan Rachel Wood, Busy Philipps, Alexander Skarsgård, Jack McBrayer, Mandy Moore, and Maria Blasucci all show up to star in this set of tales. With these great comedians bringing these histories to life, how could this episode ever be bad?
The three stories covered are: Civil War hero Clara Barton and the founding of the Red Cross; the tale of Deborah Sampson, who disguised herself as a man to fight in the Revolutionary War; and Rose Valland’s fight to save art from the Nazis.
4 Worst: Washington, D.C. — 7.2/10
In the very first televised episode, drunk storytellers Matt Gourley, Allan McLeod, and Eric Edelstein talk about the wild histories of the US capitol, including the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Elvis Presley’s friendship with Richard Nixon, and Woodward and Bernstein revealing the Watergate scandal.
Despite having an amazing cast that included Dave Grohl, Jack McBrayer, Adam Scott, Will Forte, and Jack Black, this episode still isn’t rated very highly compared to other Drunk History episodes. Maybe because the Watergate scandal and assassination of Abraham Lincoln have been done to death? Some of the show’s most successful episodes do cover lesser-known history, after all. Regardless, it’s a funny episode and a great place to start watching.
3 Best: Are You Afraid of the Drunk? — 9.0/10
Some of the highest-rated episodes of Drunk History are showing up in the most recent season, which is a great sign that the show is trending up. Since creator/host Derek Waters started the show as a side project as a Funny or Die web series, it’s only gotten funnier.
“Are You Afraid of the Drunk?” is another star-studded episode: Seth Rogen, Evan Rachel Wood, Elijah Wood, Will Ferrell, Maria Blasucci and others show up to tell scary stories in the dark. This episode has Evan Rachel Wood’s amazing performance as Mary Shelley, which creator Derek Waters considers one of the best performances on the show ever.
2 Worst: Election Special — 6.6/10
For a TV show that is six seasons and 72 episodes in, having a lowest single episode rating of 6.6 is impressive.
Of course, the reasons “Election Special” ranks poorly are obvious—it aired the night of the 2016 US Presidential election, which was a nail-biter for most of America. There were large swaths of the country that were not in the mood to laugh. Moreover, host Derek Waters and guest host Steve Berg are mostly rehashing some of the funniest presidential episodes Drunk History has done in the past. Though the stories of Lincoln’s assassination and the competitive campaign between John Adams and Theodore Roosevelt as funny stories, the original episodes are much funnier than this review.
1 Best: Hamilton — 9.3/10
Lin-Manuel Miranda, writer and star of the Hamilton Broadway show and America’s darling, is one of the best narrators that has ever appeared on Drunk History. He and Derek Waters get drunk and talk about the amazing life and legendary of Alexander Hamilton. Guest stars Alia Shawkat and Aubrey Plaza show up to play Hamilton and Aaron Burr respectively, delightfully bringing to life Miranda’s charming narration. In fact, we previously ranked Alia Shawkat as the best celebrity guest star on Drunk History ever.
If you only ever watch one episode of Drunk History, make it “Hamilton.” You might think you’re over Hamilton after his years in the pop culture spotlight, but the story isn’t complete yet.