‘Drunk History’ wobbles in its debut

Top-notch cast can’t stop sobering effect

Drunk History
Drunk History

Often the idea for a TV show sounds better than it turns out to be. Such is the case with Comedy Central’s Drunk History (10 p.m. today).

Based on a Web series, the show records inebriated storytellers rattling off the details of specific historic events. Then actors, mostly comics — Jack Black, Connie Britton, Michael Cera, Tony Hale, Jake Johnson, Kevin Nealon, Rob Riggle, Bradley Whitford, and Kristen Wiig, among them — re-create the scenes using the drunk storyteller’s own words as dialogue.

Sometimes this results in a funny match of drunk narrator and performer. Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation) as John Wilkes Booth in the retelling of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln does a great job interpreting the drunken rambling of Allan McLeod.

But more often than not, watching Drunk History is like being the only sober person at a party where none of the other people present are your friends.

No doubt, making Drunk History was probably a hoot for the comic actors involved in the re-creations. In one segment, Fred Willard plays Mark “Deep Throat” Felt, Bob Odenkirk (Breaking Bad) is President Richard Nixon and Jack McBrayer (30 Rock) is H.R. Haldeman. That’s fantastic casting. But the resulting scenes narrated by a drunk guy just aren’t that funny.

Maybe it would play better if viewers tuning in are loaded, too.

Drunk History will be paired with the return, at 10:30 p.m., of Comedy Central’s “The Jeselnik Offensive” starring Anthony Jeselnik.


CBS revisions
In preparation for its fall schedule, CBS is moving NCIS: Los Angeles and Person of Interest into the 9 and 10 p.m. Tuesday time slots, which creates a domino effect.

Summer reality show Big Brother, currently airing Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday, will air Wednesday (8 p.m.), Thursday (9 p.m., live eviction show) and Sunday (8 p.m.) beginning next week.


Channel surfing
Mark Burnett’s sequel to his hit History miniseries The Bible will air on NBC. Titled A.D.: Beyond the Bible, the miniseries will chronicle the founding of Christianity by Christ’s disciples. ... TNT has renewed summer sci-fi drama Falling Skies for a fourth season. ... Hallmark Channel has canceled Marie Osmond’s daytime talk show Marie after one season. ... Reruns of NBC’s canceled Broadway drama Smash will air on cable’s Ovation beginning July 19 at 8 p.m. ... HBO is making each season of The Sopranos available to subscribers via HBO On Demand for one month in consecutive order with season one available through the end of July to be followed by season two in August. ... Sony Pictures Television has officially given up trying to find a new home for canceled ABC sitcom Happy Endings.

The Block News Alliance consists of The Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rob Owen is a columnist for the Post-Gazette.

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