In the last few years, Derek Waters has had quite a presence on the web, creating and starring in Derek and Simon, Road Trip, and appearing in the upcoming WB series, Downer’s Grove. But not until Derek started getting his friends drunk, did he hit on a venerable web phenomenon.
If you haven’t already caught Drunk History with such comedy phenoms as Michael Cera, Jack Black, Danny McBride, and now, Paul Schneider, the premise is simple–each actor must play puppet to the drunken narrator recounting a fuzzy version of his or her favorite historical event.
Tubefitler caught up with Derek Waters to get the scoop on what your history book never taught you, as we examine the age-old question of whether it’s beer before liquor, or liquor before beer.
Tubefilter: How did all this Drunk History business get started?
Derek Waters: I was with a good pal, Jake Johnson. It was a good night of drinking and Jake was telling me about Otis Redding. I love Otis and know his music very well, but Jake was telling me that Otis knew he was gonna die on that plane right before he got on. I didn’t really believe the story, and kept picturing him next to Jake, saying “shut the f–k up.” I wanted to shoot that, and have Otis Redding stuck having to do everything Jake said he did. But then thought music is a very common discussion over booze. How about something more important–like history? I got together with my old friend Jeremy Konner (the series director), told him my idea, and we started shooting the next week.
TF: Do you love history, or drinking, or both?
DW: I love history more, but before this I liked drinking more. I’m learning sh-t I should have learned a long time ago.
TF: History is endless, but also repeats itself. How many drunk histories do you plan to conquer?
DW: I don’t know. It’s more about the people I find to be the narrators. I just find people I find interesting, then ask them what their most passionate moment in history is. I for sure wanna keep doing stories that are new to me and others that went to public school.
TF: How did all these celebrities start jumping aboard your drunk history train?
DW: I don’t know — for real, I don’t know. It has been very strange and amazing to me, how many people wanna act in these little short videos. I love that!
TF: Is all this drinking really happening? You are showing some serious barfing.
DW: Jeremy and I show up at the narrators’ place (so they are comfortable and don’t have to drive) with their favorite drink in hand. Oh yeah. They always seem to puke. In the Jack Black one Eric Falconer threw up all over the place. In the 3rd one Jen [Kirkman] puked on a plate of toast–but we didn’t wanna show that. I hate puke. I don’t even find it funny. But for some reason, people talking about something serious, and then doing the thing I hate the most is really funny to me.
TF: Paul Schneider, a fantastic actor, is a great Harrison in volume 4. What was it like working with him?
DW: PAUL SCHNEIDER! One of the best actors of our time! He is the best! I’ve always loved him. He is real in everything he does. It was great working with him. He is fun, funny as shit, and was nice to everyone on our little crew, and they all love him. He’s Paul Schneider!
TF: You’ve been involved in web content for awhile. What do you have next up your sleeve?
DW: I hope no more for the internet. I’m working with HBO on two pilots I wrote. I’m developing them right now. The internet is killing TV. I’m not behind the internet except for email and Drunk History–no offense to Facebook–I love making these things. And I’m so glad people like watching them. Please send them around to your friends.
Do you agree with Derek? Is “the internet is killing TV?” Sound off below.