A fun game when you're watching last night's season two premiere of Funny or Die's Drunk History is to pretend the reenacted accounts of racial struggle and civil rights are clips of prestige biopics from an alternate universe where everyone is perpetually hammered. Also in this universe Lee Daniels directs everything. It's hands-down the better universe.
This segment, where Allan McLeod describes Percy Julian's overcoming prejudice to accidentally discover a way efficient way of making steroids (while generally being a bomb-ass chemist who gets real laid on his semester abroad), is a choice (re-) introduction to the show. That's thanks in large part to the ever more evident acting chops of Jordan Peele, who flings himself around like a muppet operating a human being.
McLeod's got this great twangy sandy voice, and Peele always seems both shocked and delighted to find it coming out of his half-cocked mouth as he shoots off hydrodrons, oxydrons, and carbatrons left and right. It's a beautiful synthesis, and it does right by Julian's story's, which is equal parts badass and quintessentially American, with a chaser of horse piss.
Funny as it is, there's this awesome warmth infused through Drunk History that I think ultimately sells it. Undergirding the whole show is a reminder of the intimate, exuberant pleasure of getting together one-on-one with an old friend and a bottle of liquor just to get smashed and giggly in the comfort of their home; it's the closest we get in our waking lives to how good bed feels (though I've always assumed that's maybe what heroin feels like?).
If anything, Drunk History's a great reminder of drinking at its best, how it taps us into the absurdity of ourselves and everything else as we stumble and embellish our way through great stories, shocked and delighted at what's spilling out of our mouths. Until, you know, gut gunk comes spilling out too. But hey, you can't get soybean steroids without handling a bunch of horse dicks.
[Images and videos via Comedy Central]