Puppet History is a YouTube show by Ryan Bergara, Steven Lim, and Shane Madej in their company, Watcher. Bergara, Lim, and Madej used to work with Buzzfeed. Bergara and Madej did BuzzFeed Unsolved. The show started in January 2020.
On Puppet History, a colorful puppet historian leads a game show, a contest. Each episode is about one strange person or event from history. The two people in the contest answer questions, and the Professor gives them points.
Puppet History is not fiction. All the historical events on the show are real.
"Welcome one and all to Puppet History. Today we take an ever-widening look into the heavy heavy book we call history while our guests ruthlessly compete for the coveted title of History Master! I am obviously your beloved host, the Professor!" - the Professor at the beginning of most episodes
The show begins with the Professor, a blue puppet, saying hello to the guests from a puppet theater stage. Shane Madej is the assistant to the Professor. The Professor then tells a story about history. He stops every few minutes to ask the two guests a question, sometimes multiple choice. The guests write down their answers on whiteboards. Then the professor says "Let's see the answer through the magic of theater!" and paper cutouts of the people from history act out the answer to the question. Then the professor gives "jelly beans" to whoever had the true answer. Each jelly bean is worth one point.
The Professor encourages the guests to speak and tell jokes. Sometimes, he will give a "rotten jelly bean" to whoever makes a bad joke. The rotten jelly bean is worth negative one points. The Professor gives the special guest extra points. This way, Ryan Bergara almost always loses. ("Stealing The World’s Most Expensive Necklace" ended in a tie.)
Before the end of the show, the Professor leaves to "tally the score" and another puppet comes onto the stage and sings a song about the historical event.
The show always ends with the "coveted cup and title of History Master" almost always going to the guest who is not Ryan Bergara.The cup is a small plastic trophy with real jelly bean candy in it.
- The Professor, a blue puppet voiced by Shane Madej
- Ryan Bergara, as himself
- Another contestant
- At least one other puppet, also voiced by Shane Madej
In season one, Ryan Bergara and the other contestant sat in chairs in the same room as the puppet theater. In seasons two and three, the show was "Puppet History: Online University" and both contestants appeared through computers. This was because of the coronavirus pandemic. Each episode has about 1 million views.
|1||Life During the Black Death Pandemic||Steven Lim||January 10, 2020|
|Stealing the World's Most Expensive Necklace||Kate Peterman||February 27, 2020|
|Surviving the Titanic: History's Luckiest Woman||Jenny Lorenzo||April 10, 2020|
|The Dancing Plague||Jermaine Fowler||May 22, 2020|
|2||How America's First Female Detective Saved Abe Lincoln||Kate Peterman||August 14, 2020|
|The Terrifying Eruption of Mt. Vesuvius||Matt Real||August 21, 2020|
|Hatshepsut: The Forgotten Pharaoh||Ryann Graham||August 28, 2020|
|The Disastrous 1904 Olympic Marathon||Kristin Chirico||September 4, 2020|
|Isaac Newton's Nemesis||Keith Habersberger||September 11, 2020|
|The World's Greatest/Rudest Samurai||Garrick Bernard||September 18, 2020|
|Policarpa: The Revolutionary Teen Spy||Curly Velasquez||September 25, 2020|
|The Grisly Journey of the Donner Party||Joyce Louis-Jean||October 2, 2020|
|Special||The Story of St. Nicholas||Kate Peterman||December 25, 2020|
|3||The Beast of Gevaudan||Sarah Rubin||March 12, 2021|
|The War of the Golden Stool||Kate Peterman||March 26, 2021|
|Ziryab: The World's First Rock Star||Zach Kornfeld||April 2, 2021|
|The Affair of the Poisons||Garrick Bernard||April 9, 2021|
|Ching Shih: The Pirate Queen||Joyce Louis-Jean||April 16, 2021|
|The Great Molasses Flood||Garrett Watts||April 23, 2021|
|4||The Great Emu War||Kate Peterman||August 28, 2021|
|Mansa Musa: The Richest Man in History||Ify Nwadiwe||September 4, 2021|
|America vs. Smallpox: How Vaccines Saved the Nation||Jermaine Fowler||September 11, 2021|
|José Rizal: The Philippines’ Reluctant Revolutionary||Josh Weinstein||September 17, 2021|
|The Bloody Revenge of Saint Olga of Kiev||Selorm Kploanyi||September 24, 2021|
|The Demonic Possessions of Loudun||Sara Rubin||October 3, 2021|
|Special||The Puppet History Holiday Spectacular!||December 24, 2021|
The Professor is a small hand puppet with blue fur and a white nose. He usually wears a safari hat and jacket and carries a satchel. He wears glasses and a bow tie. Sometimes, he wears other costumes. For example, in the episode about Ching Shih, he wore a pirate hat.
The Professor sometimes talks about his life through wrong answers to the multiple-choice questions. These answers say the Professor found a magic lamp that had a magical genie inside it. He told the genie to turn a "seemingly ordinary household object" into a secret time machine. The genie did so, but was also "a total prick about it." In the flashbacks, the genie is played by Shane Madej. In other episodes, the Professor mentions visiting the past and meeting people from history. Sometimes he talks about the genie chasing him. For example, in "The Great Molasses Flood," the Professor gets stuck in the molasses and the genie almost catches him. But he reaches into his satchel for the secret time machine and gets away.
In the episode "The Affair of the Poisons," Ryan asks The Professor "Do you have a family? Or did you have any family?" The Professor asks "Did I?" and the audience hears a young child saying "Papa, I want a jellybean."
Season 5 of Puppet History is set to begin in November 2022.
- Geoff Weiss (April 8, 2020). "CAA Signs 'Watcher', The YouTube Studio Founded By 3 Former BuzzFeeders (Exclusive)". Tubefilter. Retrieved August 29, 2021.
- Sophie Bass (February 9, 2021). "Review: 'Puppet History'". Medium. Retrieved August 22, 2021.
- Aimi Wen (February 7, 2021). "Watcher Is the YouTube Channel Where Horror Meets Food". Studybreaks.com. Retrieved August 22, 2021.
- Andy Wilson (October 4, 2021). "Did Puppet History Season 4 Finale Just Kill Off a Main Character?". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved May 20, 2022.