Next Tuesday, Aug. 12, the Comedy Central series “Drunk History” will premiere its Hawaii episode and will feature a retelling of the heroic wartime exploits of the late Sen. Daniel Inouye.
Steven Yeun, star of the popular “Walking Dead” series, portrays Inouye at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor that thrust the United States into World War II. Inouye initially denied the opportunity to enlist for military service, and the show follows his path to the 44nd Regimental Combat Team.
The irreverent “Drunk History,” however, is by no means a serious historical documentary. Adapted from a series of popular online short films, the show is composed of personal re-tellings of notable persons and events from people who have a fairly keen working knowledge of history… and who are totally drunk.
Among the figures the show has profiled are Benedict Arnold, Abraham Lincoln, Orson Welles, Rosa Parks, Johnny Cash and Walt Disney. The re-enactments star some of Hollywood’s most popular actors, including Jack Black, Winona Ryder, Johnny Knoxville, Lisa Bonet and “Weird Al” Yankovic.
The scenes are faithfully recreated in period detail, but the recorded narration is that of the intoxicated storyteller, with the actors miming and lip-synching the words.
Inouye’s tale is spun – in between whiskey sips – by Arcadia radio personality Phil Hendrie, who said he has always had a special interest in veterans of the second World War who were people of color or minorities.
“It’s a part of American history that has not been fully exposed, researched and discussed,” Hendrie said in a statement to The Rafu. “Additionally, I remembered Senator Inouye from the Watergate hearings and the insult he suffered from a committee witness, calling him ‘that little Jap.’ I thought bringing out his heroic service would be timely.”
Other personalities and events the series tackles in this, its second season, have included: the Baltimore plot to assassinate Lincoln; Ub Iwerks, who created Mickey Mouse along with Walt Disney; Edgar Allan Poe’s rivalry with Rufus Griswold; the origins of “Rapper’s Delight”; and famed Hawaiian surfer Eddie Aikau.
Tuesday’s segment on Inouye also features veteran actor James Hong as the young soldier’s father, Hyotaro Inouye.
New episodes of “Drunk History” premiere Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on Comedy Central, with repeat episodes airing often throughout the week. Check your local TV provider’s listings to confirm showtimes.