Back in September, the WSNS broadcast of 1979’s Disco Demolition Night showed up online, giving Slate readers the chance to watch the exploding-disco-record-fueled catastrophe unfold in real time. The only problem was that the video, including, as it did, a complete baseball game, ran for more than three hours. Now there’s a quicker, funnier way to get the Disco Demolition Night experience: Have Bob Odenkirk tell you about it. As part of Drunk History’s “Shit Shows” episode, Odenkirk gets lit and explains everything that happened that fateful night in July.
As Drunk History bits go, this one is less drunk and more history. Odenkirk is an Illinois native who was 16 that night; he started writing comedy while working as a DJ in Carbondale, Illinois; he’s friends with Steve Dahl, the DJ at the center of the fiasco; and he even wrote the forward to Dahl’s book about the incident. The only potential weak points in his résumé when it comes to hosting a Drunk History episode about Disco Demolition Night are rooting for the wrong hometown team (the Cubs instead of the White Sox) and being the kind of person who should maybe decline opportunities to sing in public. See for yourself:
But even with a few drinks in him, he has no trouble remembering the call sign of the Chicago all-disco radio station that fired Steve Dahl (WDAI, which it hasn’t used since 1980) or the station he landed at (WLUP). So even with Colin Hanks as Dahl and Patton Oswalt as a sketchy Vietnam Vet with a taste for explosives, the historical figures mostly just do what they did that night. It’s definitely a shit show—it’s Disco Demolition Night, after all—but given Odenkirk’s relative sobriety and deep knowledge of the subject, it seems like he’s going to make it through the story relatively unscathed. Then he starts singing.