[Brad] You love “Horrible Histories,” don’t you? Yeah, I do. Brad: How much would you say you’ve watched? A lot. [Brad] You just want to get going, don’t you?
[Karl] Yeah. As we’ve explained multiple times in this channel before, if you open up a book every now and again, you’ll find that history is littered with tons of cool shit. Something the TV kids’ sketch show “Horrible Histories” was only too keen to prove. In the process, winning awards and praise for its historical accuracy and educational content, in addition to its humour and entertainment value. [Long fart] [Loud fart] Ooh, sorry. Woah! [Brad] So, obviously we’ve both read and seen “Horrible Histories.” I’m pretty sure it’s quite a British thing. Very British, yeah. So maybe for people who aren’t British watching, do you want to maybe explain what it is? Yeah. For anyone who isn’t familiar with what “Horrible Histories” is (as you might not be), it’s a series of kids’ books that was obviously turned into a TV show, which we’re talking about today, that focuses on the more gruesome and stupid aspects of history in order to keep kids’ attention. So, for example, it talks about things like the fact that King Henry VIII’s corpse exploded after he died. Or the fact that the Normans won the Battle of Hastings by repeatedly running up and down a big hill. Both things I’ve written about, you can find links to below, in the… description, is it? Description? Yes, Wow. You can tell how uncomfortable I am with saying that by the fact I completely stumbled over all my own words, because we never do that! [Brad] Do you want to plug links to anything else while we’re at it, Karl? Well, my Twitter profile’s also down there as well. Follow me on there! Thanks. [Brad] I wasn’t actually expecting you to do it! Yeah. A worthwhile thing to talk about in regard to the way the book and the subsequent TV show were written, is that they were done in such a way to not be patronizing towards children, and, in fact, actively sought to address common misconceptions they may be taught in schools. [Brad] Yeah. They get pretty dark as well, don’t they? Yeah, like they talk about World War II — like the Holocaust — and slavery. However, they’re written in such a way to make it suitable for the intended audience of young children. So, I think, like the rat who they get. Yeah, the show’s hosted by rat. It’s horrible, but it’s true! He talks about it sometimes. When they talks about child chimney sweeps, they have a sketch about that, and the rat comes on afterwards and says: “As funny as that was, a lot of kids–” Because he’s talking to children who are watching at home, and me, just sat there in my pajamas with a beer — “There were a lot of kids back in those days who unfortunately were forced to work in these really horrible conditions. There’s no joke here; sometimes history’s not very nice.” It’s horrible, but then, that’s because this is “Horrible Histories.” I just think it’s really nice that the show and the books, they don’t shy away from talking about stuff that obviously was within living human memory, and most teachers and most adults would find uncomfortable to talk about with children. I think the writer of them — or the writer of the show, at least — went like: “Well, kids aren’t stupid. They’re just tiny adults, so talk them like tiny adults.” In specific regard to the TV show, the writers, knowing that it would also be watched by parents, went out of their way to include many references to British pop culture, so that there was entertainment value there for adults, too. ♫ We were born to rule over you ♫ Georges I, III, IV and II. Brad: What’s your favourite? It’s got to be “Stupid Deaths”. “Stupid Deaths” — we’re going to put a clip in, because of course we are, because if Brad doesn’t, you’re fired! Oh, you’re dead funny! “Stupid Deaths” is the best thing that show did. It’s basically exactly what it sounds like. It’s the Grim Reaper going:
♫ Stupid Deaths Put the clip in. I can’t do it justice; it’s great. ♫ Stupid deaths, stupid deaths, ♫ They’re funny ‘cos they’re true! ♫ Stupid deaths, stupid deaths, ♫ Hope next time it’s not you! This guy– and you can tell he is chewing the fucking scenery– he loves it, and he’s dressed like a big dumb Grim Reaper, and people who’ve just died share stories of how they died. These are true stories from history of stupid ways people died. And in later seasons, They turn it into a sort of “X Factor” rip-off, and he’s got two skeletons either side of him, one wearing a wig, and the other one wearing another wig, and they’re very clearly supposed to be Sharon and Louis Walsh. Ah yes, that’s three yeses. You’re through to the afterlife! And he never mentions it, except for in one episode, because I think he ad-libbed a lot of his lines, because he’s just going ham and this guy’s fucking loving it, and he whispers in one of skeletons’ ears: “Oh, shut up, Louis!” and backhands him across the head, and the skeleton’s wig flies across. It’s fucking brilliant! “Oh, shut up, Louis! Ooh.” Me and my housemate, where I used to live in second year, fucking loved this show. We put it on record and we’d watch it when we’d get in from work. And we’d sit down, he’d cook us dinner, and we’d watch “Horrible Histories”. I remember that “Shut up, Louis” moment put him on his fucking arse. He went down on the floor beating his fists against the floor laughing, and rewound it so he could watch it again Oh, shut up, Louis! And our housemate — our other housemate, Kez, was like “What are you doing?” And he saw us watching this kids’ show, absolutely howling, and went: “You fucking idiots” and walked back upstairs. Do you know what we said? “Shut up, Louis!” Oh, shut up, Louis! This show’s amazing, and you know what? It’s on Netflix! Go and watch it! In might not be on Netflix in America, so that means for once, Americans are going to have to put a VPN on to watch the British one. I think they all use it for is like “Top Gear” and shit, don’t they? And I use mine to go and watch American Netflix so I can watch “Parks and Rec.” It’s great. “Oh, shut up, Louis!” Put it in! Put it in FIVE TIMES! Oh, shut up, Louis! Because the show went out of its way to appeal to adults, contained educational content in addition to bizarre non sequiturs and toilet humour, it eventually found itself being popular with the biggest kids of all: stoned adults and teenagers. [Brad] …and Karls… And Karls. [Brad] So how popular was “Horrible Histories?” During the time it aired, it was noted as being the most popular comedy show on TV, period. [Brad] Not kids’ show? Yes, notice how I didn’t say “kid’s show”. I didn’t use the modifier there. I meant exactly what I said: the most popular comedy show. That’s how fucking good this thing was. There were adults who were tuning in at 3pm to watch this show. I think they actually changed the time it aired to about 4 to 5pm, just so adults could catch it on the way home from work. That’s how popular this thing was. And in 2010, it won a British Comedy Award for Best Sketch Show. Not Best Kids’ Show… Best SKETCH Show. That’s how fucking funny this show was. I should probably point out that this achievement is doubly impressive, because “Horrible Histories” not only had a lower budget than every other show it was competing against, but also had the additional constraint of having to ensure all of its sketches were factually and historically accurate. [Brad] Yeah, and don’t forget it also had to make sure it was suitable for children. Yeah, and despite all those constraints, they still Best Sketch Show of that year. So get fucked, every other British sketch show on TV in 2010! [Brad] Do you think it would be funny if they ever did an adults’ version of it? I don’t think it would be, no. I like the idea that it’s for kids, because it means that all of the adult stuff has to fly under the radar, which makes it all the funnier. And we’re just having an aside for a moment, because I need to address… Dickwig. What am I talking about? Right. Brad you’re gonna put a clip in here, because I had an argument with that housemate I’ve talked about, when we watched this show together, where in one episode, where I believe it’s a sketch about King George IV, finds out that his father’s died and therefore– no, PRINCE George IV and then he becomes king. ♫ Dad’s dead! Dad’s dead! ♫ Oh gosh, I’m king! And during that conversation, someone tells him: “Are you sure you shouldn’t be a little sad that your dad’s died?” And he says — I think — “Shut up, dickwig!” Are you sure you can’t squeeze out just a small tear? Certainly not, thickwig! And I laughed for a good ten minutes at that, and I’ve watched that episode multiple times since then, and we argued for hours and hours and hours about whether or not he actually says the word “dickwig.” Which we looked up, and we can’t find it has been any sort of historical insult. We thought: “Well, he must be saying something else,” but it sounds so much like “dickwig!” So, audience at home: does this guy, or does this guy not, say the word “dickwig?” Certainly not, thickwig! Please! I’ve been arguing about this for years. I need closure. [Brad] So “Horrible Histories” is meant to be a factual show.
[Karl] Yes. [Brad] But then, it’s also meant to be funny. Yeah. Kind of like this show! [Brad] So, do you know if at any point they ever exaggerated the truth for comic effect? Oh, you mean like, bent the truth? Like, you know, jussst a little for the sake of a joke? No. Because they had a historical adviser on set, who had to look over all their scripts to make sure they were entirely historically accurate. And according to him, in his entire tenure working on the show, he noticed eight errors out of 4,000 facts presented. Which is an error rate so small it could be used to measure the width of an ant’s dickhole. In fact, there are probably history books in classrooms right now that have more errors than than that. Probably the Wikipedia page for “Horrible Histories” probably has more errors on it than that show had in its entire half-decade-long run. [Brad] It’s a pretty impressive figure, to be honest. It is, and it goes to show that there’s enough stupid shit from history, that you don’t need to make stuff up. You can just present history exactly as it was, and it’s funny enough on its own. Has nobody got an ordinary name in this classroom? Yes! Toilet? All right, be quick. No, that’s my name. Your parents must be evil! No, that’s Evil over there! In addition to having an on-set historical adviser, to ensure that all the lines said during “Horrible Histories” were correct to the best knowledge of historians, the costume department went to similar lengths, to ensure that all the costumes and makeup shown were period-accurate to the time in history they were supposed to be representing. That’s really nice, the idea where “we don’t want to give kids an unrealistic image of what history looked like, so we’re going to use realistic hair and makeup methods for the time period that we’re trying to show on TV. Our budget’s not great, but we’re trying!” I think that they go to the same quarry quite a few times for multiple episodes, and they go to the same field outside the BBC studio to record multiple sketches and skits. But the effort’s there and I appreciate it So, in conclusion, a sketch show aimed at children, full of poop jokes and references to British pop culture, was actually more historically accurate than anything put out by the History Channel these days. Yes, even “Ancient Aliens.” Is such a thing even possible? Yes, it is. [Brad] So you just mentioned “Ancient Aliens,” people are going to expect us to talk about “Ancient Aliens”. I don’t want to talk about ancient aliens I don’t want to talk about “Ancient Aliens,” I”m so sick of that show. [Brad] All right. Well, why not talk about something equally factual? Like what? [Brad] THE FLAT EARTH. Oh, for fuck’s sake! Is this a bit? Is this a bit we can talk about? Are you one of them? Do you go out and take pictures of horizons and draw straight lines on it and post it on Facebook? [Brad] I saw one guy pouring a jug over a football and said: “If the world is really round the water would have fallen off the side!” Oh, fall off, yeah, because he doesn’t understand the concept of GRAVITY. [Brad] If a helicopter takes off on an Earth that’s spinning, why does it land in the same place? Oh, it’s nothing to do with the fact that the atmosphere IS ALSO FUCKING SPINNING. I’ve actually written an article on this that you can find on Top Tens. Well, I wrote “The Top Ten Reasons We Totally Live on a Flat Earth,” and it was written obviously with my tongue planted so far in my cheek I could taste the fucking wallpaper next to me. But I discovered a load of cool shit about Flat Earth theory, including the fact that if you are a believer in Flat Earth, if you’re out there, if you’re a believer, you are in the same lofty company as Adolf fucking Hitler, because according to Flat Earth theorists, one of the few people to have ever gone to the edge of the Earth is Adolf Hitler, because apparently it was part of Nazi-era Germany’s. World War II plan to go to the edge and control the rim So yeah, if you believe in a flat Earth, you’re in the same company as fucking Hitler! [Brad] It’s unfathomable to me that people believe this and people who know– What, about the round Earth? I agree. [Brad] No, a flat Earth, Karl! My favourite thing about it is, when you ask them: “What’s the fucking point?” I want to know, whenever you get these vast massive conspiracies– like, aliens, you can see why someone would want to cover that up. The technology they have, they may be hiding it and using it for their own gain. Or the idea that humanity as a whole couldn’t accept the idea of extra-terrestrial beings invading our planet, so they make the choice to keep that hidden from the public. But what value is there to hiding the fact we live on a flat Earth? [Brad] Isn’t it so that people keep giving money to Nasa? Why?! Nasa can barely get a fucking plane in the air! Elon Musk has got more money than Nasa, and he’s just putting fucking cars in orbit! [Brad] No, Karl, that was Photoshopped(!) Was that Photoshopped? Okay… [Brad] Apparently, yeah. Flat Earthers think that every picture of space has been doctored. Even the ones that they send out themselves. HOW? HOW? [Brad] Nasa! It’s Nasa! I’ve seen the videos about the people who take spirit levels on planes and say: “Look at that! They’re messing with my spirit level! This worked on Earth. And now I’m in the plane, it’s not! What’s that about?!” I’m looking at a plane, and they say it’s the curvature of the windows on planes, don’t they? And that’s why it looks like that. And they say if you put your head out the window– but they won’t let you do that! I’m waiting for the day a Flat Earth theorist tries to open the door on a fucking plane. It’s going to happen. Fuck it, we can talk about “Ancient Aliens.” Like the idea of people building the pyramids. It all comes down to: “I personally cannot figure out how this was done, therefore nobody else could, because I’m the smartest person in the room.” That’s all these conspiracy theories are to me. It’s just people wanting something that they can feel superior about, without putting any fucking effort in, so what they do is: “How do you feel superior?” “Well, I’ve got this knowledge that no-one else has. I’ve got the knowledge that the Earth is secretly flat! I’ve got the knowledge that aliens built the pyramids!” And then when you hear somebody go: “Well, no, we’ve actually got countless pieces of historical evidence that actually they were built by, you know, a combination of slave labour, and actually outside contractors that they hired from foreign countries that—” “NO. Aliens did it. Fucking idiot.” And that’s all it is. It’s an excuse to just snobbishly look down on other people while putting in no effort yourself. It’s unearned smugness, basically. I’ve thought about it a lot from a philosophical standpoint, and as I see it, the draw of conspiracy theories like Flat Earth, is that when you believe that, you de facto become smarter in your own head than every expert and scientist on the planet. [Brad] Well, not just on the planet. You’re talking about everyone who’s ever lived in history who’s figured this out. Yeah. You’re smarter than every so-called genius who’s ever lived, and I can see why that would be an intoxicating idea to some people. “Well, if you believe this, you know, this crazy idea that all those eggheads at Nasa don’t want you to know, you’re smarter than everybody else!” And it feeds into this unearned superiority complex, and to try to take that away from people, I can see why they’d violently defend it, because you’re basically saying: “You’re a fucking idiot and you don’t know anything.” And no one likes being told that. People love saying it, apparently, but no one likes being told it. You would be surprised at the amount of mental gymnastics people can do, to continue believing that they are right; that they are the centre of their own universe. We’re all the hero of our own story, even if those stories do revolve around a fucking moron, like myself.