[Unabridged version. Original version appears here.]
Gabe Durham: Gabe the Babe here coming at you live from KXOO Radio. With me in the studio, historical men Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. Let me just start by saying wow.
Aaron Burr: Wow, indeed, Gabe.
Alexander Hamilton: Second that.
It’s a big honor. My producer filled me in, said you’re easily the biggest names we had on the show, which surprised me, though I’ve definitely heard of you. You know who we had last week? The kid from Two and Half Men. Who, no surprise, has got a mouth on him. It was a fun show, really a pleasure to dish with a big comic actor, get in his head and all.
So you’re these founding fathers. You Were There. Declaration. Big War. Constitution. Emancipation. Woodstock. I mean—I know this sounds—whatever—but what was it like? What was the flavor of the era?
Burr: Whew, yeah, it was a whole different thing.
Hamilton: No cars, no rollerblading.
Burr: No low-frequency radio stations, that’s for sure.
Hamiltons: Indians were still a big thing. Slaves.
Burr: And this is all in our book, but there was definitely a palpable… Hey, what are you—?
Sorry, I’m listening. But I’m on both of your Wikipedias too, looking for material. They’re big pages! You guys really are famous.
Hamilton: Yeah. Not gonna lie, I had a buddy start my page. But once it got going—I mean people add stuff to it all the time, people I don’t even know.
So, Aaron, born in 1756, huh?
Burr: [pause] Yup.
And what a lot of people don’t know is: You were Vice President under Jefferson.
Burr: Well I ran against Jefferson. We tied in electoral votes so it went to the House to decide. And back then Vice President goes to the runner-up, so.
That’s what this says! But it’s not like that any more, right?
Hamilton: Is John McCain VP?
I’m almost sure he isn’t. So Alex… what a lot of people don’t know… about you… is that… you’re on the ten-dollar bill. But you were never President or Vice President, huh?
Hamilton: Well I might’ve been. If things had gone differently.
Burr: [laughs] I see where you’re going with this.
Hamilton: I bet you do, asshole! [laughs] Ten paces my ass.
Hey guys—No inside jokes. It makes the audience feel not included. So getting back to, Alex, what you said. We all “might’ve been” president, though, right? But we’re not. I mean I still could be. But not you guys. You guys are dead.
Burr: You need to check my Wikipedia and make sure?
No, I’m sure. So—for my next question… What’s George Washington like?
Burr: Quiet, dignified.
Burr: Kind of a jokester around Congress. One time, Hancock left the room and he had everybody—
Wait. Wait, wait, wait. Wait, what?
Hamilton: Found something good on your laptop there, did you?
This says—hold on. Aaron. This says you shot Alex.
Hamilton: What? Let me see that.
Look! Right there. July 11, 1804. New Jersey. Aaron challenged you to a duel… you accepted… even though your oldest son just died in a duel…
Hamilton: Burr, take a look at this! Isn’t this baffling?
Burr: I’m… shocked.
Hamilton: Why would someone write these horrible things?
So, phew—I was going to say for a second!
Hamilton: Can’t believe everything you read.
No, totally. But wow. Wouldn’t that be crazy if it was true? It would kind of throw the whole Saintly Founding Fathers mythology into question. If the guys who put our nation together were fighting to the death over petty political BS? Or if Jefferson really was having illegitimate kids with his slave? Or if—
Hamilton: Absolutely! If this story were true, the whole nation would be discredited. It’s not as if a vice president would ever shoot somebody in this sophisticated decade.
Funny you should say that. Actually, a few years ago Cheney was on a hunting trip with his—
Burr: Gabe. Gabe.
Burr: He’s messing with you.
About the Cheney thing?
Burr: About the duel. It happened. Hamilton fired at me and missed, and I got him in the abdomen.
Hamilton: Which hurt. And I died the next day.
No… I can’t believe that. If it was true, I’d have heard about it.
Burr: Think hard. Did you learn about it in history class and then forget?
No, I would definitely remember this. A duel? What is this, the Middle Ages?
Burr: A code duello duel. Gentlemanly. It has all these rules. It was already banned in most states. Kind of a Jersey thing. You’d have to be there to get it.
Couldn’t you have just had it out on messageboards and then ignored each other at parties?
Hamilton: We did all that, too.
Burr: It was a serious thing. Hamilton would publicly say all this nasty stuff and it’d be in the paper. I lost sleep. I mean it was bad.
Hamilton: For me, it was more of a sport. Kick him around, watch him squirm.
Burr: Yeah, you were having a great time.
Hamilton: I was.
But now you seem to be fine with each other.
Hamilton: Well that’s a good segue. Because one of the many things we assumed you knew going into this interview is that we’re touring to promote a book we coauthored.
Burr: It’s called I Hate You With All My Body. It starts on the day of the duel and then moves ahead from there. Hamilton’s death, the rest of my life, my death, and then our eventual reconciliation and friendship.
Hamilton: Oprah called it a powerful tale of forgiveness just when our nation could use it.
Burr: Didn’t get the official “O” sticker, though.
Hamilton: No. That’ve been nice.
Hamilton: We were both jerks is basically the book’s thesis.
Burr: But that’s how it was back them. So much ego! You couldn’t go five minutes at the Constitutional Convention without a guy taking off his glove and slapping someone.
Hamilton: So self-serious, all of us in our wigs.
Burr: And the thing is, now, I just can’t even remember what I was so mad about. I mean I remember it, but I look at this guy sitting next to me and all I see is a friend.
Hamilton: Back atcha, buddy.
Aww. I wish our listening audience could see what I’m seeing right now. I seriously just x’ed out of Wikipedia and got on Amazon to buy their book. That’s how moved I am right now.
Burr: I hope your audience does the same, Gabe. Although we actually get more of the money if you order it from-
Honestly? There’s nobody listening. My wife, maybe, if we’re lucky.
Hamilton: Kinda got that vibe.
Burr: Whatever. This is a good dry run for the Today Show tomorrow.
So which founding fathers were sleeping together?
Hamilton: When we’re off the air, I’ll tell you.
We’ll wrap up tonight’s show early, then. All you hypothetical listeners, please now enjoy side one of Green Day’s Dookie. And thanks for listening, honey. I’ll be home soon.