I can’t say I’m a big fan of Comedy Central’s Drunk History, which encourages random narrators to get sloppy drunk and hazily recount events from American history, while famous comedy types act out (and lip-sync) the slurry nonsense that they come up with. To me it’s a one-joke premise, and the joke wears pretty thin, pretty fast… but a recent episode (#2.2, “New York City”) featured a cameo by Juno Temple, so I forced myself to give it another go. Rather ironically, the expat English actress portrayed Sybil Ludington, a 16-year-old heroine of the American Revolutionary War, who rode 40 miles through the rainy night to alert locals that there were King-lovin’ Redcoats in the area, raiding supplies. Not only was this twice the distance that Paul Revere rode, but she also had to subdue a highwayman along the way, with nothing more than a big stick to defend herself! I’ll give the show credit for educating me about a remarkable young woman I wasn’t previously aware of… but considering what a great performance Juno gives in the role, I can’t help wishing that she’d been playing Ludington in a more substantial, feature-length drama, rather than an irreverent skit.
The same ep also featured Laura Dern as Nellie Bly (aka Elizabeth Jane Cochrane), a fearless 19th Century investigative journalist who faked insanity in order to infiltrate a New York asylum, to expose the routine brutality and neglect that was occurring there. Again, I appreciate the information, and I enjoyed Dern’s enthusiastic performance, but can’t say I’m any more enamoured of the show than I was the last time I tried to watch it.