On Tuesday Comedy Central’s Drunk History will turn it inebriated gaze on a bit of Star Trek history, telling the tale of Nichelle Nichols. The segment features comedian Ashley Nichole Black narrating a story about how Nichols was convinced to stay in her role as Uhura by Martin Luther King, TV’s first inter-racial kiss and Nichols work with NASA. You can watch the full segment and read our exclusive interview with creator and star Derek Waters.
Singer and actress Raven Symoné plays Nichelle Nichols, Jaleel White plays MLK, Craig Cackowski plays Gene Roddenberry and Waters plays William Shatner. Check out the clip below.
UPDATE: Full Drink History Segment
Interview: Derek Waters on bringing Star Trek to Drunk History
What gave you the idea to turn your attention to the history of Star Trek and Nichelle Nichols?
The genesis of any story is hearing something that sounds familiar, but told in a brand new way. So, hearing what Nichelle Nichols had done and how Martin Luther King inspired her to stay and the importance of her is just a great moment in history, not just Star Trek, that more people need to know about. And on top of that there is the first inter-racial kiss and recruiting astronauts like Mae Jemison. It’s one of those stories like “yeah, but did you know this? and did you know that?” How did I not know all of that?
Did you have a chance to talk to Nichelle about the episode?
I never met her, but I did send it to her and she said that she loved it and couldn’t stop laughing, so that is the seal of approval.
How was the narrator and cast picked for this episode?
With narrators I talk to them about something that is going on that they would really want to talk about and what kinds of stories are important to them. I talked to Ashley Nichole Black about what she knew about Nichelle Nichols and she said she loved Nichelle Nichols. She knew all of this stuff and she had the strongest reaction to I assigned it to her. And I love Raven and thought this would be the perfect part for her and luckily she said yes. And I thought it would be really cool to have Jaleel White as Martin Luther King and somehow it all happened.
What did you do to find your inner Shatner?
I don’t know. I normally wear that outfit so I was kind of being myself. I watched that episode over and over again. With these shows I never want to do an impression, it’s more about how I would have been in a scene.
You guys had to recreate part of the Star Trek set and get costumes together, was that a challenge?
You can’t use the trademark obviously, but we wanted to get as close to it as possible. That stuff is fun for me. It looks a bit off, but you can tell our hearts are in the right place. And that is what I want the show to be like. They are doing a history show, but it’s drunk, and their hearts are in the right place and they are trying their best to make it as authentic as possible.
Airs on Tuesday
Drunk History “Game Changers” airs on Comedy Central on Tuesday, February 6 at 10pm ET/PT. For more about the show or to watch full episodes and clips, visit cc.com.