'Drunk History' With William Shakespeare Is So Fun

by Jordana Lipsitz

I am almost ashamed to admit how much one Comedy Central series has taught me about history. The series in question, Drunk History, takes historical narratives and gives them a hilarious twist — the narrator of the history lesson is intoxicated. In a promotional clip for Season 4 of the show titled, "William Shakespeare Steals His Own Theater," comedian Mark Gagliardi tells the story of a dispute between a Puritan landowner, Giles Allen, and Shakespeare's theater troupe, the Lord Chamberlain's Men.

The contention in this narrative is between the Puritan landowner Giles Allen and the artists associated with "The Theatre" which rested on Allen's land and was owned by a man named James Burbage. One of the artists was playwright William Shakespeare, who wrote masterpieces for the Lord Chamberlain's Men to perform such as Hamlet and Othello.

After Allen tells the theater company that he's shutting down their theater because, "I'm a Puritan so I think that plays are dumb," James Burbage dies and Shakespeare is left to come up with a plan, which he does. According to Gagliardi, Shakespeare and his pals figure out that while Allen owns the land, they own the theater. So on December 28, when Allen is out of town, the entire troupe got dressed in battle costumes and worked together to take apart the theater so they could reconfigure it across the Thames. This theater, The Globe, would be were many of Shakespeare's greats would be performed for the first time. Gaglardi wraps up his story by telling viewers: "Hey did you learn Hamlet in high school? It's 'cause Shakespeare and his buddies stole a theater."

You can watch the clip here.

For more drunk takes on history, watch episodes of Drunk History Tuesdays at 10:30 pm on Comedy Central. Get ready to learn and be engaged!

Images: Comedy Central