Lin-Manuel Miranda's 'Drunk History' Teaches Fans A Few Things About Hamilton That Aren’t In The Musical
A typical episode of Drunk History has three segments, but when you have a sloppy "stage's Lin-Manuel Miranda" on camera, it's best to take advantage of that. The "Hamilton" episode takes over the full half hour. It covers most of the plot of the award-winning musical, but there are some things that Lin-Manuel Miranda says about Alexander Hamilton on Drunk History that aren't in the show. Even if you've memorized every lyric, it's still a learning experience.
Sure, other highlights of the episode involve Miranda whispering West Wing references into the phone at Hamilton actor Chris Jackson, suddenly wanting to order Dominoes, and taking a break to clang out "Closing Time" on the piano. There's also a visual reference to the other time Drunk History covered the Burr/Hamilton duel. However, the actual history is the best part. Alia Shawkat as Hamilton and Aubrey Plaza as Burr make for a great new casting twist that's neither derivitive of the Broadway show nor taking a step backwards. Miranda and Drunk History host/enabler Derek Waters describe a lot of the Founding Fathers' behavior as reminiscent of high schoolers. So, if you thought that Jefferson went a little Regina George during "The Room Where It Happens," you were spot on.
As far as new information, here are some things about revolutionary history that drunk Miranda is clearly still obsessed with, even if they aren't in the play.
1. The Boat Alexander Hamilton Took To New York Caught Fire
It's a dramatic entrance, but pretty costly for the Broadway stage. We can't all be Miss Saigon and land a helicopter eight times a week.
2. When Finally Given A Chance To Fight, He Went All Out
Miranda described his enthusiastic style as "showboating" during the Battle of Yorktown.
3. Some Of His Ideas At The Constitutional Convention Were Loyalist-y
The musical sums up Hamilton's six-hour talk at the Constitutional Convention in a few lyrics, but Drunk History gets more into some of his ideas that haunted his political career because they were a little too much like the monarchy America had just left. "He pitched maybe... President for life," uptalked Miranda. "He pitched maybe... we inherit positions?"
4. James Reynolds Was A Total Snitch
Eventually, and with Hamilton's misguided help, the affair with Maria Reynolds came to light. But what Hamilton doesn't tell you is that Maria's husband spilled the beans about the extortion when he was arrested "on some other BS." That's how Monroe and his friends found out. What a jerk!
5. Hamilton Almost Dueled James Monroe
Who stopped it? Aaron Burr. Hamilton also did a similar dorky thing with Monroe, that he would later do with Burr, in which he listed their entire history of grievances.
6. Hamilton & Burr Totally Partied Before The Duel
There are accounts of them being at the same bar nights before the infamous standoff. Burr sulked in a corner, while Hamilton was up on the tables and leading a group in song. I suppose, if that moment was in the musical, it would be saccharine and maybe a little too much like Les Mis.
7. He Condemned Burr As A Murderer Before The Duel Even Started
The show implies this, but a drunken Miranda makes it even more clear. In the letter he wrote before leaving for Weehawken, he detailed his plans not to fire on Burr. That made him out to be the bad guy, even though he technically won the duel. As Miranda says on Drunk History and the musical makes clear, Burr was reckless the one time Hamilton was cautious, and it cost him his life while effectively ruining Burr as well.