Drunk History is an American educational television comedy series produced by Comedy Central, based on the Funny or Die web series created by Derek Waters and Jeremy Konner in 2007, both of whom, along with Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, are the show’s executive producers. In each episode, an inebriated narrator, joined by host Waters, struggles to recount an event from history, while actors enact the narrator’s anecdotes and also lip-sync the dialogue. In addition to Waters and celebrity guest stars, the show’s characters are played by regulars, one of them being Kat Dennings.
Season 3 (2015)
Episode 7: Oklahoma Kat Dennings plays the role of Nannita “Kentucky” Daisey.
Season 4 (2016)
Episode 5: Scoundrels Kat Dennings plays the role of Sadie Farrell, also known as Sadie the Goat.
Episode 5: Civil Rights Kat Dennings plays the role of suffragette Gertrude Harding.
NANNITA “KENTUCKY” DAISEY
Nannita Regina H. Daisey was born in Pennsylvania in 1855. After the deaths of her parents, she lived and was educated at the Sisters of the Good Shepherd Convent in St. Louis, Missouri. Moving east to work as a teacher, she lived in Kentucky where she also began a career in journalism, fighting the gender discrimination common at that time against women who sought professional careers. Moving to Oklahoma, she participated in four land runs, where predominantly white settlers were allowed by the US government to claim lands that had previously been allotted in perpetuity to Native Americans. In addition to teaching and journalism, Daisey was active in the Guthrie, Oklahoma community where she made her home, helping other women to claim homesteads, and helping initiate schools in the new towns. By 1890 she had married Scandinavian immigrant and US Army soldier Andreas E. J. Ueland Svegeborg; the couple had no children. Daisey died in 1903.
Daisey is, and was, most known for exaggerated accounts of her activities. Dramatically, in the first (1889) land run, she jumped from the front of one of the first trains into the Territory, staked her land claim, and reboarded the train before it passed her by. That feat gained her local notoriety, and the tale was reported in local, regional, and national newspapers. After her death, an obituary reported that she had leapt from the train’s cowcatcher, a claim not supported by any contemporary accounts of her actions, nor by her own accounts in published interviews.
SADIE “THE GOAT”
Sadie Farrell (fl. 1869) was an alleged semi-folklorish American criminal, gang leader and river pirate known under the pseudonym Sadie the Goat. However, there exists doubt as to her historical existence. She is believed to have been a vicious street mugger in New York’s “Bloody” Fourth Ward. Upon encountering a lone traveller, she would headbutt like a charging goat a man in the stomach and her male accomplice would hit the victim with a slingshot and then rob him. Sadie, according to popular underworld lore, was engaged in a long-time feud with a tough, six-feet-tall female bouncer Gallus Mag, who finally bit off Sadie’s ear in a bar fight, as Mag was known to do, albeit usually with male trouble-makers.
Folklore has it that, leaving the area in disgrace, she ventured to the waterfront area in West Side Manhattan. It was while wandering the dockyards in the spring of 1869 that she witnessed members of the Charlton Street Gang unsuccessfully attempting to board a small sloop anchored in mid-river. Watching the men being driven back across the river by a handful of the ship’s crew, she offered her services to the men and became the gang’s leader. Within days, she engineered the successful hijacking of a larger sloop and, with “the Jolly Roger flying from the masthead”, she and her crew reputedly sailed up and down the Hudson and Harlem Rivers raiding small villages, robbing farmhouses and riverside mansions, and occasionally kidnapping men, women, and children for ransom. She was said to have made several male prisoners “walk the plank”.
She and her men continued their activities for several months and stashed their cargo in several hiding spots until they could be gradually disposed of through fences and pawn shops along the Hudson and East Rivers. By the end of the summer, the farmers had begun resisting the raids, attacking landing parties with gunfire. The group abandoned the sloop and Sadie returned to the Fourth Ward, where she was now known as the “Queen of the Waterfront”. She then claimed to have made a truce with Gallus Mag, who returned Sadie’s ear. Mag had displayed it in a pickle jar in the bar. Sadie kept the ear in a locket and wore it around her neck for the rest of her life.
Gertrude Menzies Harding (1889-1977) was a suffragette born the last of seven children on a farm in Welsford, New Brunswick, Canada. Her sketches of the time show her escaping housework to hunt, fish and camp alone in the woods, with a pet raccoon as companion. When Harding was 18 years old, a doctor pronounced that she had a heart murmur, considered a serious condition at the time. She was pleased to be invited to travel to Hawaii as companion to her older sister Nellie Waterhouse and family. Eventually, she was asked to teach sewing classes to local women and to care for a boy crippled by polio; her time in Hawaii sparked an interest in working with the poor.
In 1912 Harding was invited to join the Waterhouse family in London, England, where Dr. Ernest Waterhouse had business interests. Within days, Harding witnessed her first poster parade of women carrying placards with slogans such as “Votes for Women” and “No Taxation without Representation”. Drawn to the cause (which had begun 47 years earlier), she was soon a paid Women’s Social and Political Union organizer, financially independent. She moved out on her own for the first time.
Harding’s first big ‘job’ was to stage a midnight attack on rare orchids with comrade Lilian Lenton at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew (Lilian soon became a daring arsonist for the cause). The women entered the Gardens by day, posing as tourists, and discovered the best places to attack. That night, during a thunderstorm, they broke into two little glasshouses with the rarest orchids, intent on wreaking as much damage as possible before being caught. The nightwatchman didn’t come. The next day a dozen newspapers reported ‘the outrage’ at Kew Gardens, two claiming it must have been male sympathizers to the cause, as only men could scale the six-foot wall to escape.
Deciding she didn’t want to perpetrate violence anymore, Harding found other ways to help the cause. She worked on the underground newspaper, The Suffragette, eventually becoming its editor; she was private secretary to Christabel Pankhurst when Christabel was exiled in Paris (1915); and she headed up the secret bodyguard of women assigned to protect their leader, Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst, from constant rearrest by Scotland Yard during the Cat and Mouse Act. The bodyguard learned jujitsu from Edith Garrud and carried Indian clubs. Despite this, the women often were badly injured, from contusions to broken bones, dislocated joints and concussions. Their best successes against bobbies and Scotland Yard detectives came from outwitting them, using disguises, decoys and other forms of subterfuge.
When War broke out, Harding remained as part of the skeletal staff of the WSPU, remaining loyal to the Pankhursts in their allegiance to the British Government during the war effort. The Suffragette newspaper was renamed Britannia, and Harding edited this for five months. Eventually, the Pankhursts had to let her go through lack of funds. Harding landed a job at the Gretna Munitions factory, providing social assistance to the women who worked there under terrible conditions.