Another West Virginian will soon be on TV screens across America and in a position of relative fame or possible infamy. For once, it won’t have anything to do with the drug crisis or trying to sway Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., one way or the other on the For the People Act.
Renowned humorist, storyteller, occasional Gazette-Mail columnist and South Charleston resident Bil Lepp will host eight episodes of a show called “Man vs. History,” which will premiere on the History Channel next week.
The show, as Lepp described it, features him traveling to locations across the country to examine history and folklore, while doing a bit of field research. In his interview with Gazette-Mail entertainment writer Bill Lynch, Lepp told a story of filming one day wearing leg irons in Lincoln County, New Mexico, examining how Old West outlaw Billy the Kid apparently escaped his scheduled execution there in 1881.
He also learned how to ride a horse to try and emulate Paul Revere’s famous ride that alerted the colonies the British were invading at the start of the Revolutionary War.
“And what it boils down to is, if I’d been responsible for telling everyone that the Redcoats were coming, we’d have lost the revolution,” Lepp said.
The show looks to be a perfect vehicle for Lepp, who is not only a veteran entertainer, but quick-witted and self-effacing in a way it’s hard not to like. It’s also good to see Lepp get this kind of opportunity. Like many entertainers who depend on audiences to make a living, the past 18 months or so have been difficult for Lepp, left with nowhere to perform after the shutdowns caused by the pandemic.
It’s unclear where the show will go after its initial run, but Lepp said he hopes it will get picked up for additional seasons. We hope so, too, and wish Lepp the best of luck. We also hope Lepp gets that lucrative lunchbox merchandising deal he’s pining for. It’s always good to see a West Virginian get some national attention for something like this. The first episode of “Man vs. History” airs Tuesday at 10 p.m. on the History Channel.