Kris Kristofferson was a struggling songwriter – and part-time janitor – when he first met Johnny Cash at a Nashville recording studio. And, like all starving artists, he used the opportunity to pitch the Man in Black some of his tunes.
Cash liked what he heard, but ultimately, never recorded any of Kristofferson's music...until one fateful helicopter ride changed everything.
Or at least that's the way Drunk History remembers it. And now, in this exclusive preview of the show's "American Music" episode – which airs July 15 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Comedy Central – you can learn about the historic meeting between the two country music icons, which lead to the release of "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down" in 1970, a song that would become a smash for Cash and send Kristofferson on his way to superstardom as a songwriter, solo artist and (eventually) actor.
Inebriated actor Eric Edelstein tells the tale the best he can (and, to be fair, historical accounts of Kristofferson landing a helicopter at Cash's house vary wildly), with comedian Jon Daly taking on the role of Kristofferson and Johnny Knoxville playing as Cash. Appropriately, the whole thing ends in a triumphant belch.
In an interview with Rolling Stone about the show's second season, co-creator Derek Waters praised Knoxville's efforts to capture Cash's essence:
"When I emailed him about it, he said 'Be sure to tell the costume people that I don't need shoes. I have his boots,'" Waters explained. "He came in with Johnny Cash's real boots; he bought them at an auction. He said, 'Too bad there isn't a knife in this scene because I have one of those, too.'"
Other stories featured on next week's "American Music" episode include the payola scandal involving radio DJ Alan Freed (featuring Jack McBrayer and Nathan Fielder) and the origins of "Rapper's Delight," starring Retta, Ron Funches and Jaleel White.