We Like Our Women Historical & Our History Drunk

Just like in real history books and your high school history classes, Comedy Central's Drunk History , which returns for Season 2 Tuesday night, is a bit light when it comes to featuring great women from our past. But when they do tell the tales of historical ladies, Drunk History gets amazing, eclectic actresses and celebrities (like Winona Ryder, Aubrey Plaza, and Lisa Bonet) to reenact their stories. Since the best kind of history is well, drunk, it's time we acknowledge the inspiring women who made (drunk) history and the down-for-anything women who bring them to the screen.

Mary Dyer

Portrayed by Winona Ryder in "Boston"

In a role weirdly reminiscent of her turn as Abigail Williams in The Crucible (Daniel Day-Lewis is so dreamy in it), Winona Ryder gets to be deservedly self-righteous (rather than manipulatively self-righteous) as Mary Dyer. Dyer was a part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 1600s and she defied Puritan law by practicing the Quaker religion. She was arrested for her beliefs several times and was told to never return to the Massachusetts colony. But she was a tough woman who stood for her rights and beliefs, so when she did return to her home, she was hanged, thus becoming a martyr.

Part of the hilarity is seeing Ryder — far from her acting heyday — really go with the ridiculousness of the narration provided by Jen Kirkman (who also narrated for the web series). Plus, her interactions with strict Puritan Michael Cera are comedy gold.

Most historically accurate moment:

Isabella Stewart Gardner

Portrayed by June Diane Raphael in "Boston"

In a short cameo, June Diane Raphael plays Isabella Stewart Gardner. Born in 1840, Gardner was a patron of the arts and she founded the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. A traveler, entertainer, and huge supporter of the arts, she was considered unconventional by not following traditional Victorian standards and Raphael plays her bit part with excellent eccentric flair.

Best friends with Casey Wilson (they wrote Bride Wars and Ass Backwards together and she'll appear later in this list), Raphael has made a ton of hilarious appearances in TV and movies and this one is no exception. The narration provided by Erin Rohr (with backup from her husband Michael) helps. Gardner is only featured for a minute or two since the main story is about how in 1990, two thieves entered the museum and stole 13 pieces of artwork (there’s even a documentary about it). But Raphael makes every moment count — just like Gardner would've have.

Most historically accurate moment:

Patty Hearst

Portrayed by Kristen Wiig in "San Francisco"

It was only a matter of time before Kristen Wiig appeared on Drunk History. In her episode, she portrays Patty Hearst (please note that Biography.com cites Hearst's occupation as "thief") who was always one of those people that my parents' generation would talk about, without kindly explaining why she was such a big deal.

Lucky for people in my boat, narrator Natasha Leggero (and her dog Cutie) break down the kidnapping of Hearst by the Symbionese Liberation Army and Hearst's Stockholm syndrome. The best Wiig moment, by far, is her whistling down the street with her groceries right before she gets arrested.

Most historically accurate moment:

Dolly Parton

Portrayed by Casey Wilson in "Nashville"

Casey Wilson gets to play the original country diva Dolly Parton, starting at the beginning of Parton's career as the "girl singer" on The Porter Wagner Show. After her solo song "Jolene" became a hit and made her famous, Parton decided to leave Porter's show. And to quit, she wrote him the song "I Will Always Love You."

As narrator Seth Weitberg eloquently slurred, "Fact: It's probably the most beautiful song that's ever been written." And how can anyone — drunk or sober — disagree with that?

Truths out of the mouth of drunk people.

Most historically accurate moment:

Mary Ellen Pleasant

Portrayed by Lisa Bonet in "San Francisco"

In another fantastically funky casting choice, Lisa Bonet acts as Mary Ellen Pleasant. Pleasant was a remarkable woman who was a savvy businesswoman as well as "the Mother of Civil Rights in California." Narrator Artemis Pebdani (of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) gets outraged at the injustice served to Pleasant.

Bonet plays "the head bitch in charge" to Pebdani's sassy retelling excellently. But let's be real here, I think we all knew that Bonet was already a head bitch in charge and total '80s style icon. (That must be Khal Drogo's type.)

Most historically accurate moment:


Portrayed by Aubrey Plaza in "Nashville"

Why, or why, does Hollywood do this? Why do they always cast non-American Indians in American Indian roles? Just because someone isn't Anglo-American doesn't mean that they should play an American Indian. This time, Aubrey Plaza acted as Sacagawea, the Shoshone woman who helped translate for Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on their expedition of the American West after the Louisiana Purchase.

I guess we can forgive Drunk History for casting Plaza (who is of English, Irish, and Puerto Rican descent) as Sacagawea since the narration provided by Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstark complimented Plaza's deadpan delivery. Plus it made for great interactions with the hilarious duo of Tony Hale and Taran Killam as Lewis and Clark.

Most historically accurate moment:

Honorable Mention

Connie Britton as Patricia Shaheen

Patricia Shaheen may never make it into a history book, but she was featured in narrator Chris Romano’s story about Johnny Cool. Johnny Cool (played by Nick Offerman) was an infamous arsonist in Boston in the 1970s, who just happened to be Romano’s dad (you might recognize him as Punchy from How I Met Your Mother). Romano recounts the story of when he was 14-years-old, his mother told him that their family was in the Witness Protection Program due to his father giving up the people he worked with. And that his real last name wasn’t Romano — it was Shaheen. Connie Britton plays Patricia Shaheen in all of her 1970s glory. So although not a true historical figure, we felt it was only right to give a shout out to Punchy’s mom.

Now that Drunk History is back for its second season on Comedy Central, you can drink up new retellings of famous women. Get smarter while you drink along — it's a win-win! (As long as you remember what you learned.)

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