Drunk History Meets Las Vegas … and a Sloshed Superfan

The author, thoroughly sloshed

The author, thoroughly sloshed

If’ you’re not watching Comedy Central’s top-rated show Drunk History, you need to. Every week, host Derek Waters goads three storytellers—usually comedians, though occasionally an actor takes part—into a borderline blackout state of inebriation, then asks them to recount a historical event. An ever-changing cast of guest stars—from Will Ferrell to Winona Ryder to Octavia Spencer—then acts out the recounted events, faithfully lip-synching to every drunken cussword, giggle and hiccup. Drunk History is one of my favorite shows ever. It’s nothing short of a gift to humankind.

Anyway, the Drunk History crew came to Downtown Las Vegas last June to record some local footage for a Vegas-centric show. That episode airs at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, November 17, and it features Sam Rockwell, Donald Faison, Dennis Quaid … and me. For a few glorious seconds, I appear on one of my favorite television shows, appropriately drunk.

Look, I’m as surprised as you are. Drunk History filmed at Atomic Liquors for several hours, talked to other people much longer than they talked to me … and since host Derek Waters never showed up, as he does for all of Drunk History’s bar segments, I frankly doubted that any of the footage would be used at all. (Later, I learned that Waters was at Atomic the entire time, but in disguise—a set-up for Drunk History’s “Spies” episode, which aired September 22.)

The crew caught me, my girlfriend Laura Herbert and burlesque star Dirty Martini—who also appears in the Vegas episode; she’s the one with the pink hair—as we were walking out the door to hit 365 Tokyo, figuring the whole evening for a bust. Maybe that’s why my slurred, gin-infused Vegas statement, the one that’s out there for all the world including my mother to see, was so Valley genuine: “[Las Vegas] is a shared psychosis … There, there’s nobody here who should be here. It’s hot as balls.” (In a nice bit of synchronicity, there’s a man seated behind me in the shot dressed as author Hunter S. Thompson, who favored the use of “balls” as a pejorative. Thank you for the setup, Dr. Gonzo.)

Fortunately for you, the Vegas episode of Drunk History only gets better from there. Waters visits with the flair bartenders at the D’s Longbar, and solicits three first-class drunken history lessons: Chris Romano on forgotten Vegas forefather J.T. McWilliams, Paul F. Tompkins on the life and death of the Moulin Rouge, and Brendon Walsh on Bugsy Siegel and the Flamingo. (Rockwell plays Siegel; Quaid, Lucky Luciano.) Walsh kinda biffs the Siegel story—doesn’t mention Virginia Hill at all—but that’s OK; he was shitfaced. Happens to the best of us.

For my own part, I am unabashedly proud to be fleetingly associated with such great television. I feel like I’ve won something. With this episode, Drunk History has reminded me why I love Las Vegas: It has a way of handing you dreams you never knew you wanted fulfilled, then immediately ticks them off the bucket list.