On season four of “Drunk History,” the writer and star of the hit musical “Hamilton” had too much to drink (on purpose) and narrated Alexander Hamilton’s story on camera.
When Lin Manuel Miranda gets drunk, he has a lot to say about Alexander Hamilton. So much so that his “Drunk History” episode was extended to accommodate all the amazing footage.
“Drunk History,” created by Derek Waters and Jeremy Konner, is Comedy Central’s liquored-up version of our nation’s history. Comedians and actors get drunk and retell a historical event. Then A-list actors, from Michael Cera to Winona Ryder, act out the narration.
Arbiture is the only female production designer nominated in her category. She talked about the challenges of making history visually funny and entertaining, even when it’s tragic. She also told us how exciting it was to unexpectedly get nominated for an Emmy. Her nomination was so unexpected, in fact, that she had to cancel her honeymoon so she could attend the ceremony.
'I get the scripts with the drunk narration, so I get an idea of all the locations, sets, action, and props, and I really focus on that as close as we can get to total historical accuracy. And then we highlight the comedy from the narration of the drunk person telling the story.'
'The great thing about working on this show is the there's so much freedom. We do get to come up with jokes. Derek (Waters) will come up to me and ask, 'What do you think is funny?' There's a lot of trust that goes into it. It's like a giant playground.'
'It's definitely a challenge to find the comedy in the darker historical events we do. Some of the stories told on 'Drunk History' are unpleasant. Some are tragic events in history.'
'In season four, for the Titanic episode, we had to find a way to make it informative and also funny. And (in) another season four episode we did the Stonewall Riots. We never want to make fun of the history itself -- this show isn't afraid to dig into that. We want to inform the audience but entertain them, which is where the drunk narrators come in.'
'My favourite narrators embellish details that are impossible for anyone else to know or predict. It gives us direction.'
'For example, when a narrator says a headline for the newspapers that is absurd and really funny. It moves the story forward, but highlights the humour and absurdity of what the drunk narrator is saying.'
'For the Lin-Manuel Miranda episode, we knew he was going to talk about Hamilton, but we didn't know it would be a long stand-alone episode. But there was so much great footage that we couldn't cut. So to do it justice, we morphed it into his own episode.'
Arbiture mentioned that the extended episode length was a challenge for the production design team, especially for budget reasons. Usually 'Drunk History' episodes feature a few historical events per episode.
On working in the comedy and TV world as a woman: 'It's such a good environment. 'Drunk History' is really unique in the way we're creating and telling people about history. It's a wonderful experience. I was so intimidated in my interview and nervous to start working on the show as a woman. I've been the only woman on a production many times, but on this show I feel like an equal.'
'There are no words to describe how I felt when I found out I was nominated for an Emmy. I was in total shock. It was the last day of shooting. I had to sit down -- I don't even know. I was paralysed with disbelief. I had already booked my honeymoon for the weekend, and I had to cancel.'
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