Ten years ago, the kids from The State had grown up enough to get nostalgic about their childhood days attending summer camp, and Michael Showalter and David Wain wrote a movie about it, with Wain directing, called Wet Hot American Summer.
Released in two theaters on July 27, 2001, the film didn't break big at the box office. But over the past decade, it has earned an allegiance of loyal and adoring fans (some of whom showed up to a NYC screening last night in costumes dressed as the film's characters, with one even standing in front of the screen, Rocky Horror-style, to mimic a character's big monologue moment) and offered early glimpses at the humorous potential of Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Christopher Meloni, Elizabeth Banks and Bradley Cooper. Not to mention Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Molly Shannon and several members of The State.
As part of last night's anniversary screening in Manhattan, Wain and Showalter were joined in a discussion by Jake Fogelnest and director Jason Reitman, who was paired up with Wet Hot American Summer ten years ago at the Sundance Film Festival for his short film, Gulp.
Here's something you didn't see almost 20 years ago. It's rare footage of The State in their first MTV office in the early 1990s, singing a version of "The Boner Song." See how young they all look! Also, they're college kids singing about boners.
If you think it's unusual for footage from The State to linger in archives for more than 14 years, then you probably also didn't know that it took that long for their January 1996 recording to become public. But that's exactly what happened with their CD, "Comedy For Gracious Living." It captures all of them at their youthful indiscretioniest. Is that a word? Who knows. This is an actual CD, though.
The second season finale from Adult Swim's Childrens' Hospital is finally online for your viewing pleasure. They said it was "live," but if you paid close attention, you would have seen that even though it wasn't a traditional live TV show, the episode did spend its final nine of 11 minutes in a single-camera live shot. So that's something to behold.
Also, all of the surprises that come with playing with the convention of live TV, and that one guy who shows up. It's all great. I endorse it, and look forward to the next season of Childrens' Hospital.
If you want to see The Sultan's Finger LIVE, click here. These are the individual clips:
It keeps going...
I also had the chance at Just For Laughs Chicago to talk to David Wain, who along with Rob Corddry and Jonathan Stern is the third executive producer, and sometimes writer and director of Childrens' Hospital. Wain helps explain how they changed the show to make it more TV-friendly, how several other funny people have helped out in writing the show, and why Wain has no plans to try to turn his MyDamnChannel series Wainy Days into a TV show.
At the Just For Laughs Chicago festival last week, Rob Corddry showed up with his fellow Childrens' Hospital producers David Wain and Jonathan Stern and co-stars Erinn Hayes and Lake Bell to offer a sneak peek at three episodes of the series that's making the jump from online to TV later this summer on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.
It contains the same ridiculous and often outrageous sensibilities as the web series did, with turns from Rob Huebel, Megan Mullally, Henry Winkler, Malin Akerman, Ken Marino and a wide array of guest stars.
Alas, the Childrens' Hospital screening and Q&A took place last Thursday night at the same time as Team Coco was taping a TBS special at a sold-out theater downtown, Aziz Ansari had packed another theater, The Second City's Class of 1979 was putting on a charity reunion performance, and, oh, the NBA's biggest teams, Lakers-Celtics, was down to Game Seven. That still should have left a million Chicagoans to show up at Park West, right? Not quite. There were plenty of empty seats at Park West, which prompted Corddry and his colleagues to start their show on an odd foot, and it just got darker and weirder from there. Before I go on, this is what Corddry had to say to me after the show, in which he explained how Adult Swim is a perfect TV home for Childrens' Hospital and you can tell by his tone how he was feeling.
OK. So, yeah. There were a few more than 15 people there, but the size of the room made it feel much more awkward -- well, that, and the decision by the cast to turn the planned audience Q&A into a two-way roast between the cast and the audience.
One actual Q that got an actual A from Corddry: Why the clown-faced makeup? "I hate clowns. I think clowns think that they're funny, but nobody takes themselves more seriously than clowns."
We did get to see three new 11-minute episodes, including "Joke Overload," which guest stars Jeffrey Ross as himself, Clark Duke as a Trekkie and Adam Scott as a Klingon doctor, and Ernie Hudson as a patient; "You Know No One Can Hear You, Right?" with Ed Begley Jr. and Rachael Harris as a couple that wants to abort their teen-aged son; and "Hot Enough For You?" filmed in a noirish tone. And with Henry Winkler on board with the cast as the hospital administrator, the cast decided to serenade Winkler onstage -- well, a fake Winkler -- by singing the theme to Happy Days with Wain accompanying on guitar. You know what? I do have the last lines of this on video, so why not share it, even if it's not the whole song:
And here's a clip of Corddry in character comparing his show to other medical shows on the TV:
Childrens Hospital begins airing July 11 on Adult Swim with the webisodes playing two at a time for five weeks, with a week off of the schedule along the way before the second season debuts on Aug. 22.
When you throw a party for a TV show, much less a Web series, you're never quite sure how it will translate as a live experience for audiences to sit and enjoy. No such worries last night at the 92YTribeca, which hosted "Wainy Days Live," a party that not only marked the start of the fourth season for David Wain's amusing ode to seeking love and finding plenty of sex jokes along the way, but also the relaunch of a newly designed My Damn Channel, which made Wainy Days possible.
Rob Barnett, head of the small, plucky crew at My Damn Channel, told the audience at the start: "My Damn Channel is a brand-new thing today." The redesigned site features a larger player and a cleaner design. Barnett told me that his strategy all along has been to focus on a small group of talented performers and give them free reign to do what they do. That's how My Damn Channel can stand out from the many other players in Web comedy. He told me that Sam Seder's "Pilot Season" had gotten two million views in its first two weeks as a reborn Web series. So far, so good.
David Wain kept the live show moving at a nice pace last night. In between video clips of this week's latest episode (Amanda Peet has a curious fetish in #27, "Jill") and a snippet from #28 that features Lake Bell -- Wain warned before screening it, "If it shows up on YouTube, I will kill you!" -- he treated the crowd to several musical performances from Wainy Days (Wain has skills both on the drums and piano), readings and an anti-chat.
Leo Allen and Callie Thorne re-enacted their performances from Episode #4: Cyrano d'Bluetooth, with Joe Lo Truglio playing Wain's part. Live, the pacing was a bit slower and the reactions a bit more animated. But still quite amusing and over-the-top NSFW. Amy Miles sang selections from an upcoming "two-part epic rock opera" that may not be epic, but certainly provided reason enough to bring Paul Rudd onstage. The crowd also got a sort-of Stella reunion when Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter arrived to perform a sketch the Michaels claim Comedy Central does not want them to produce for their upcoming series, Michael and Michael Have Issues. Though for the life of me, I could not see what could be so wrong about having "extra farts" with dinner. "Can you believe it? They don't want us to do that one," Ian Black said. "But we're going to tell them that the f---ers at 92YTribeca f---ing loved it!" Wain got most of the actors from Wainy Days, plus Thorne and Rudd, to stage a reading of what Wain claimed was his first draft of the series, written when he was 12 (but most likely last week). Let's just say that even as a middle-schooler, he was preoccupied with sex. Best offensively funny line: "That's cool. What's the point of Roe v. Wade if we're not going to use it?" The "Stella" trio also got the audience to indulge them in their own spin on Mad-Libs. And he topped off the evening with an anti-chat segment with Rudd (sample topics: How much fun must it be on a Judd Apatow set? And the cast of Friends really are friends!).
Videos after the jump:
The kids who spawned Reno 911!, Stella, Viva Variety and the upcoming Michael and Michael Have Issues are all grown up now, and they're finally bringing their original 1990s MTV sketch showcase, The State, to DVD. Five discs full of extras, coming July 14, 2009. Here's the trailer!
If you live near New York City, or even in New England, you see the TV ad for the New York Times Weekender subscription a lot. A lot, a lot. Perhaps this ad even runs nationally? Regardless, the new 92YTribeca facility, which has been booking lots of great comedy shows (thank you, Bart Coleman), just released this new advertisement written and directed by Michael Showalter and featuring Paul Rudd and many funny stand-up comedians. How many do you recognize? If you need a hint, just look at my category tags below. Related: The 92YTribeca's comedy schedule. Enjoy!
To Do Thursday: See Wayne Federman host Todd Barry, Dave Hill, Jessi Klein and others in 92YTribeca's weekly Comedy Below Canal series (tickets and info).
So, having just witnessed the end of Super Deluxe, we move on to the survivors in the online comedy video business, and it should come as no to surprise to anyone who has watched Wainy Days on My Damn Channel that David Wain has brought his Stella mates, Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter, into the fold. Here is their new original short, Birthday, that debuted this week:
Rob Corddry's master online opus, Childrens' Hospital, debuted Monday on The WB's site, and within the first 30 seconds of the first of 10 episodes, you realize this is nowhere near safe for viewing at work. You'll also quickly see that it's ridiculous. And you'll want to watch all 10 episodes in a row. Lake Bell provides the narration. Look for Nick Kroll as a patient in episode four, a "very special" episode six directed by Cutter Spindell (aka Corddry). The hospital staff includes Rob's younger brother, Nate Corddry, Rob Huebel, Erinn Hayes, Ken Marino, Ed Helms, Megan Mullally, Jason Sudeikis, Seth Morris and more. David Wain is listed as an executive producer. This is much sillier than Wainy Days, though, so you really should be watching this already and asking when we can see more! Behold, the healing power of laughter...
Time Out NY's comedy editor Jane Borden welcomed two-thirds of Stella to her office the other day, and David Wain and Michael Showalter took over the break room so they could show off some of their tips for making a holiday party work despite the tough economic times...
We knew when we saw Stella hosting the New York magazine party this month, something funny was afoot and sure enough, Michael Ian Black told his fans late yesterday that he, Michael Showalter and David Wain would reunite Stella for a short tour this winter. As Black wrote: "If you've never seen Stella before, then you are in a for real treat. There's a lot of banter, potty talk, and making fun of David. Plus, we'll probably bicker!!!" Also, new videos.
Stella Winter Tour '08 Dates
Nov. 30: PHILADELPHIA - Keswick Theater
Dec. 2: WASHINGTON DC - Sixth & I Historic Synagogue
Dec. 5: CHICAGO - The Vic (not yet on sale)
Dec. 7: CLEVELAND - House of Blues
Dec. 9: NEW YORK - Nokia Theater
Dec. 10: NEW YORK - Nokia Theater
Dec. 11: BOSTON - Wilbur Theater
Dec. 12: SAN FRANCISCO - UC Berkeley
Rob Corddry, Rob Huebel, Lake Bell, Megan Mullally, Erinn Hayes, Jason Sudeikis, David Wain, Seth Morris, Ken Marino, "the other" Corddry and more...narrated by Stephen Colbert! Intoning things such as "The Internet's sexiest drama just got...sexiester." We cannot wait to see what happens next on the new series, Childrens' Hospital. But, wait. It's only online. What's up, WB? Or should I say, TheWB.com? Oh, look what you did there. You got me to help promote your beta site. You're welcome.
My Damn Channel, home to Wainy Days, not so coincidentally gets some exclusive access to the reunion of Stella, the comedy trio featuring David Wain, Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter, as they hosted the 40th anniversary bash for New York magazine last weekend. It is only slightly not safe for work viewing purposes:
Furthermore: Stella will perform on Nov. 30, 2008, in Philadelphia at The Keswick Theatre.
Eugene Mirman has announced the planned lineups for his crazy-yet-true-because-it-is-Eugene-after-all comedy festival named for him, taking place Sept. 25-28 in Brooklyn. Mirman pretty much has it covered -- most of his usual and unusual suspects will appear over those four days and nights at two venues, Union Hall (where Mirman already hosts the popular Tearing the Veil of Maya showcase on Sundays with Michael Showalter in Park Slope) and The Bell House (a new joint the Union Hall folks are opening nearby).
Time Out NY playfully hinted at what a Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival might look like, with hints from Mirman himself.
Want to see who's scheduled to perform?
Where did the summer go? One minute, I look up from my computer monitor and find out that several Wainy Days have passed us by, and here it is, episode #26, and David Wain himself is saying, "If my life was a webseries, I would say there is enough episodes and it's time to stop!" The Hollywood sets really did give the series a different feel from Brooklyn, wouldn't you agree? Well, that, and having Elizabeth Banks make out with Alicia Witt. That always helps. Not a spoiler alert, but a major tease! So, with yet another NSFW warning, enjoy. Oh, and a brief glimpse at Wain's upcoming motion picture, Role Models, due out in November. To catch up with all of the third season of Wainy Days, start here on My Damn Channel.
After a week off, Wainy Days returned this week with a new episode, and David Wain has plenty of star casting help, including Lee Majors as his NSFW dad. Also Sarah Clarke and Xander Berkeley. Women continue to fall prey to Wain's quirky, NSFW charms. This week, it's "Rebecca." Look out! She's a spy! Joe Lo Truglio, get the handcuffs! Just when you think you know what's going on in this episode, I'm fairly sure you won't...I thought I posted this earlier, but perhaps I was merely dreaming in my prison cell again.
Season three of David Wain's online comedy series, Wainy Days, debuted today on My Damn Channel. A.D. Miles returns as one of Wain's friends to help him out of a jam. Will Wain find love and happiness this season? He already starts out with two dates in one night, so...enjoy the palm trees in New York City!