Derek Waters Interview: ‘Drunk History’ creator
Even though Derek Waters is always excited to pursue new things, he still loves being able to come back to making “Drunk History” and getting to enjoy the collaborative process. “I’m just surrounded by people that I just want to keep working with,” he tells us in our recent webchat (watch the video above), which include production designer Monica Sotto, costume designer Christina Mongini and cinematographer Logan Schneider. Even with all of these efforts, Waters still loves mining the humor of the show’s premise. “I still believe in the comedy of this feeling like a community college trying as hard as they can to make a history show, it’s just not going that well.”
“Drunk History,” which showcases various narrators describing historical events while getting wasted, has come a long way over the years. Waters started making these videos for YouTube in 2007. Funny or Die eventually brought the show to their platform and Comedy Central picked it up in 2013. Since 2015, the show has been a regular at the Emmys earning 14 total nominations including four consecutive ones for Variety Sketch Series and a win for Variety Costumes in 2015.
In the upcoming season, Waters actually gets a chance to celebrate the person who helped him develop his love of history. “Why I love history, is my high school teacher, Mr. Stange. He would be able to somehow relate the historical figure that we’re learning about or the moment in history and then turn it into why the Orioles suck right now,” Waters explains. In the episode, Waters has several narrators talk about the teachers that influenced them and the episode culminates with “Mr. Stange getting drunk and teaching the story of the Whiskey Rebellion with Alexander Hamilton.”
When it comes to episodes to submit for Emmy consideration, Waters has chosen to go with episodes that contain some of his favorite stories of the past season. “We submitted ‘Bad Blood,’ which is the other queen of Egypt with Aubrey Plaza and Justice Smith and that also has Typhoid Mary. That’s just an episode that feels new. Every season, you gotta go one step up and that was our version of one step up with an epic battle.” For the directing category Waters has elected to submit a different episode, choosing “Derek Waters’ Believe It or Not” which presents the segments in the style of the old show, “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!”