Reality Bites: Chug

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

There are a million reality shows on the naked television. We're going to watch them all, one at a time.

Who doesn't like to drink? Recovering alcoholics, I guess. Also people who are allergic to it. Oh, and those of you who don't like the way it makes you feel, or the taste, or the fact you flunked out of college because you discovered tequila your freshman year and spent the next two years in a haze of keg stands and impromptu road trips to Señor Frogs.

Come to think of it, that sounds a lot like *my* freshman year.

So fine, plenty of you don't like to drink, but plenty still do, and for those people (who also have ample disposable income), there's Chug, National Geographic's new travel drinking show. Because what could possibly go wrong when you get drunk overseas?

I'll give host Zane Lamprey this: He has a weird-ass name. Wait, that's not what I meant. I mean, yes, it sounds like his parents were big Monty Python fans, but there's little doubt Lamprey's been milking his time in the alcohol space to maximum effect.

"Alcohol space" apparently refers to any booze-related entertainment and may or may not have been coined by Lamprey himself.

Starting out as a stand-up comedian, Lamprey is perhaps best known for hosting SpikeTV's Three Sheets, which from its description sounds a lot like a more sloshed version of Insomniac with Dave Attell. He also did Drinking Made Easy on HDNet. There's a definite theme to the guy's work.

Chug was funded by a Kickstarter campaign, making it the first series funded by that site to air on TV. In this case, Nat Geo, which is a definite contrast to those boring old magazine articles about climate change and dying civilizations.

In the Episode I Watched, Lamprey travels to Vienna, Austria. Europe is always fun for drinking and/or travel shows, not just in terms of historical alcoholism but because of the opportunity for checking out whatever groovy landmarks have survived all the wars. We get some of this in Chug, though Lamprey is largely hemmed in by the show's format, which at a scant 30 minutes doesn't really allow for much cultural reflection amid all the requisite boozing.

Lamprey's Austrian adventure starts in Salzburg, with visits to the Augustiner Bräu and St. Paul's Stub'n, a brewery and a beer garden, respectively (sensing a theme?). From there, he's off to Vienna proper, birthplace (?) of so-called "cafe culture" and Cafe Sperl, where Lamprey learns the secrets of a "Viennese Sunday." Actually, it's not much of a secret: Combining coffee and alcohol allows you to mellow out the rest of your weekend. Sounds like a recipe for Monday hangovers, but that's those lazy Europeans for you.

There's also a brief digression into beer purity laws, more famously known as the "Reinheitsgebot," originally a German regulation stipulating beer can only be made with barley, hops, yeast and water. Personally speaking, I've had plenty of German beer brewed under the regulation, and it's damn fine stuff.

There's wine, too. And discussions with local brewers and vintners. Chug is a perfectly fine show, and Lamprey isn't nearly as obnoxious as his name would suggest, but there's little here we haven't seen before. And like any other shows of its ilk, it just made me want to travel overseas and get hammered.

Then again, most shows make me want to do that. Local news, even.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.