His name is Alexander Hamilton… and he was the subject of tonight’s episode of Drunk History on Comedy Central. And, of course, the narrator tapped to tell this tale is none other than the man who brought his story to the stage and turned him into a cultural phenomenon: Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Over the course of the half hour, Miranda tells a condensed version of Hamilton’s life story, beginning with his humble origins in the Caribbean, through his rise as a hero and a scholar, right up until the fateful duel that sees his friend-turned-rival Aaron Burr take his life.
But even though the tale is a familiar one by now, Miranda’s drunkenness, along with a few new “history spoilers,” made the episode a compelling, downright hilarious watch. Here are six of the best moments:
1. Hamilton(‘s ship) was on fire
Miranda revealed that the ship on which Hamilton (played by Search Party’s Alia Shawkat) sailed to America caught on fire, adding yet another hardship to the young orphan’s life. He then noted that this was something they couldn’t recreate on the stage. While the story alone is interesting, the show’s producers managed to elevate it to downright hilarious as they paired that part of the tale with someone setting a model ship on fire. So maybe it’s not a stage-specific problem.
2. The Constitutional Convention ran… Everlong
Hamilton had his own share of detractors over his short-lived career. And thanks to Drunk History, none other than Foo Fighters frontman Dave “David” Grohl got to play one of them as he passionately argued for America’s future.
3. An Arrested Development
Eventually, Hamilton runs into another snag. This time it’s in the form of future president James Monroe, played by Tony Hale (Veep), thus reuniting the actor with Shawkat, his Arrested Development niece. Hamilton worked hard to convince Monroe that he was not an embezzler.
An additional bonus is the scene that sees Hamilton and Monroe about to duel — only for Hamilton to start retelling the entire story of their relationship (sans any references to the Bluths, of course). This leads to the following hilarious exchange:
Monroe: “I know all this. I know all this… I know all this.”
Hamilton: “You interrupted me. I have to start again.”
4. Drunk History has its eyes on Miranda
Midway through the episode, Miranda gets a call, and FaceTimes his buddy Questlove who not only shares his excitement that Miranda is even on the Comedy Central show, but also reveals that he and his girlfriend are both fans. But that’s not the only call of the episode as Miranda also FaceTimes former Hamilton cast member (and his “best friend”) Christopher Jackson, who gives a shout out to the audience through the filming cameras. Meanwhile, Shawkat, Hale, and Aubrey Plaza (who plays Aaron Burr) wave at a cell phone.
5. Hamilton’s (lesser known) Mixtape
Anyone hoping Miranda will burst into at least few verses of a track from the Tony Award-winning musical, will be somewhat pleased as both Miranda and Derek Waters reach a point in their mutual inebriation where both burst into a few refrains from Semisonic’s “Closing Time.” Miranda even plays along at his piano, before commenting that the graduation ceremony staple is a “metaphor for life.”
6. Burr-den of Guilt
At the end of the episode, Miranda notes that Burr is not “the monster” in the story, and that this is just a case of a generally cautious man acting recklessly for once. It’s a powerful moment that Plaza’s tearful eyes perfectly capture.