Comedy Central's take on LGBTQ history was more accurate than Hollywood's.

A white, gay Midwesterner walks into a bar.

His name is Danny. The bar is the Stonewall Inn.

And the rest of the joke just ... doesn't add up.


Actor Jeremy Irvine, who portrayed Danny in 2015's "Stonewall." Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images.

Last year, Hollywood took a shot at telling Danny's story in the film "Stonewall."

Inspired by an "incredible true story" (at least in theory), "Stonewall" aimed to capture the famous 1969 riots at the bar where New York's queer community rose up against an unjust police raid. Historians often point to that moment as the birth of the modern LGBTQ civil rights movement.

Danny, the fictional main character, largely became the face of the film.

Fast-forward a year later, and we have "Bar Fights": an episode of Comedy Central's "Drunk History" that aired on Oct. 11, 2016.

The sketch on Stonewall is only six minutes long, the narrator is (as you could have guessed by the show's title) wasted, and its budget was likely a drop in the bucket compared to director Roland Emmerich's depiction of the riots.

And yet, it got so much more right than Hollywood's 2015 telling of the events.

All GIFs via Comedy Central's "Drunk History."

"Drunk History" told the story of Marsha P. Johnson, a queer person of color who helped lead the riots at Stonewall.

A celebrated LGBTQ rights and AIDS activist, Johnson died in 1992.

In the episode, Johnson, played by the brilliant Alexandra Grey, was downright hilarious.

Comedy Central's version explained how the NYPD's public morals division (yeah, that was a thing) raided the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969.

Why? Because they were transphobic and homophobic as hell.

Johnson was not having it, though.

As the history books note, she was a leader in the riots that unfolded.

Things turned violent, and there was more than enough pain to go around.

But in a way, the contention that night in New York City acted as a springboard, pushing LGBTQ rights into a bigger conversation and helping unite the community.

Compared to the film "Stonewall," "Drunk History" did a phenomenal job at getting the important stuff right.

Not only did it highlight a pivotal moment in our civil rights history by using the story of a real person, but it cast the right people, too.

Although it wasn't obvious in the film, many of the leaders of the 1969 riots were transgender and people of color. That's why, in "Drunk History," it mattered that Grey — as well as actress Trace Lysette, who portrayed activist Sylvia Rivera in the episode — are actually transgender.

Too often, parts for trans characters are given to cisgender actors who pretend to be trans for the role. In these circumstances, the "but they're just acting!" argument doesn't cut it.

Not only does a cisgender actor playing a transgender character limit the opportunities for actual trans actors, but it bolsters misperceptions about being trans — that, underneath it all, trans people are just "men in dresses." And that directly harms real trans people in the real world.

"Drunk History" is just as much about the laughs as it is about giving viewers a thorough history lesson.

But in its six-minute depiction of the Stonewall riots, it did something Hollywood has failed to do time and time again, and that's pretty revolutionary.

Watch "Drunk History's" "Bar Fights" episode below:

More


Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature

As a child, Dr. Sangeeta Bhatia's parents didn't ask her what she wanted to be when she grew up. Instead, her father would ask, "Are you going to be a doctor? Are you going to be an engineer? Or are you going to be an entrepreneur?"

Little did he know that she would successfully become all three: an award-winning biomedical and mechanical engineer who performs cutting-edge medical research and has started multiple companies.

Bhatia holds an M.D. from Harvard University, an M.S. in mechanical engineering from MIT, and a PhD in biomedical engineering from MIT. Bhatia, a Wilson professor of engineering at MIT, is currently serving as director of the Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine, where she's working on nanotechnology targeting enzymes in cancer cells. This would allow cancer screenings to be done with a simple urine test.

Bhatia owes much of her impressive career to her family. Her parents were refugees who met in graduate school in India; in fact, she says her mom was the first woman to earn an MBA in the country. The couple immigrated to the U.S. in the 1960s, started a family, and worked hard to give their two daughters the best opportunities.

"They made enormous sacrifices to pick a town with great public schools and really push us to excel the whole way," Bhatia says. "They really believed in us, but they expected excellence. The story I like to tell about my dad is like, if you brought home a 96 on a math test, the response would be, 'What'd you get wrong?'"

Keep Reading Show less
Packard Foundation
True

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Amy Johnson

The first day of school can be both exciting and scary at the same time — especially if it's your first day ever, as was the case for a nervous four-year-old in Wisconsin. But with a little help from a kind bus driver, he was able to get over his fear.

Axel was "super excited" waiting for the bus in Augusta with his mom, Amy Johnson, until it came time to actually get on.

"He was all smiles when he saw me around the corner and I started to slow down and that's when you could see his face start to change," his bus driver, Isabel "Izzy" Lane, told WEAU.

The scared boy wouldn't get on the bus without help from his mom, so she picked him up and carried him aboard, trying to give him a pep talk.

"He started to cling to me and I told him, 'Buddy, you got this and will have so much fun!'" Johnson told Fox 7.

Keep Reading Show less
Most Shared