Derek Waters co-created and produces Comedy Central’s “Drunk History,” which features historical reenactments narrated by inebriated storytellers, but he wasn’t anticipating the Emmy nomination the show received for Best Variety Sketch Series. As he explains in our exclusive video chat, “It’s obviously an honor, and I still think I might have a disease and this is just people trying to make me feel better … I still don’t believe it’s real.” (Watch our complete video chat below.)
The Variety Sketch category is new to the Emmys. Previously, sketch shows competed against talk shows in one race, where talk shows like “The Late Show,” “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” have dominated for almost two decades. “I think it’s really cool that this new category exists,” says Waters, “so shows like ours, ‘Inside Amy Schumer,’ ‘Key and Peele‘ and ‘Portlandia‘ get attention that they wouldn’t get before this.”
It’s also a thrill to be nominated alongside NBC’s venerable “Saturday Night Live” “because that’s everything when you start out [as a comedian]. That’s all you want to be on.”
Variety programs submit sample episodes to Emmy judges, and “Drunk History” is entering “First Ladies,” which tells the stories of Frances Cleveland (Alia Shawkat), Dolley Madison (Casey Wilson) and Edith Wilson (Courteney Cox). “Unfortunately in history, ladies aren’t really talked about,” says Waters about what made that episode special, “so we wanted to do an episode that was specific just to ladies … Every narrator in that episode, every actor is just a good example of the kind of show we want to make, where you’re laughing and secretly learning about someone you may never have heard of or knew much about.”
Below: Watch our complete interview with Waters as well as a segment from his Emmy submission “First Ladies,” then use the easy drag-and-drop menu to tell us if you think “Drunk History” will win Best Variety Sketch Series.
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