On Tuesday’s episode of “Drunk History,” the Comedy Central series will get political when it tells the real-life story of Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
The episode will air almost a year after the high school named after Douglas was the site of a mass shooting that claimed the lives of 17 people (and injuring 17 more) in Parkland, Florida. In the months since, may of the surviving students have become outspoken advocates for gun control. Derek Waters, the creator of the Comedy Central series, sees a connection between those students and Douglas herself, explaining it was one of the main reasons he wanted to tell her story.
“I want people to know what she stood for, and that’s what those kids were taught,” Waters said to reporters during a press day at Viacom’s Los Angeles office earlier this month. “We should know why a school is called [after] her name.”
The episode tells the real-life story of Douglas (Jayma Mays) and her successful campaign — alongside Ernest F. Coe (Waters) — to save the Florida Everglades, which were in danger of being drained and reclaimed for land development in the late 1920s. The Everglades National Park was eventually established in 1934. “Marjory Stoneman Douglas is a name we all know because of that school, but why don’t we find out who [she] was?” Waters continued. “It’s a really important story for us.”
Stoneman’s story is part of a larger episode named “National Parks” that also tells the stories of the time Native Americans attempted to occupy Alcatraz and turn it into a national park, as well as John Muir’s camping trip with President Theodore Roosevelt in Yosemite, a 3-day trip that many argue led to the creation of the National Parks System. “[National Parks] is the political thing that I will stand for all the time.”
Despite the comedic premise of the show — where inebriated celebrities recount mostly-accurate historical events (the stories are true, but the dialogue is made up) — Waters said that he gets most excited when he gets to learn something he didn’t previously know, especially if it’s a small fact about a very well-known historical figure.
“I find you get the most attention when people don’t know what something is,” he said. “It’s obviously why I chose this, because of what is important and those kids, and the very important issue.”
Watch a clip from the show above.
Drunk History airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on Comedy Central.