Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I recently received a print I framed and hung on the wall of my home. It's something that some people will see and merely find to be a cool piece of art, while others (those in-the-know) will see and be transported to the summer of 1981, the last day of camp, the last chance for Victor Pulak to pollinate Abby Bernstein's berry bush ... and even though we ain't got money ... OH F*%K!!!

Justin Santora's piece for Gallery 1988's "Camp Firewood" show

In early 2001, some friends and I went to a theater on the east side of NYC to see a pre-distributor cut of a film by some of the guys from our favorite comedy group, The State (and their subsequent group, Stella). It was, and remains to this day, one of the funniest movies I've ever seen. That movie, as you may have guessed, was Wet Hot American Summer and since that time I've seen it more times than the bunk eight kids have seen The China Syndrome. What can I say? I love it. Only one scene, that I can recall, was cut from that version when USA Films picked it up (and you can see it in the deleted scenes on the DVD (it's the post credit reunion where they watch Silas's video)).

This is the movie my wife and I show to everyone to gauge their humor compatibility. If you don't get it, get out.

Over the years I've had the great pleasure to see/meet many of the cast from the film. A lot of them attended that first NYC screening (it was the first time I saw Michael Ian Black, waiting in line like the rest of us). At another showing I remember from the Lower East Side in maybe mid-2002, Gabriel Millman (billed as "Caped Boy", but also known as Keith Stat from Milburn, NJ) came with a then relatively unknown Jesse Eisenberg. At one Stella show, Paul Rudd and Peter Salett sat behind us (A.D. Miles was also there in the audience). I saw Amy Poehler at the UCB Theatre. Molly Shannon outside the Loews on 42nd St. Many of the cast would perform in the Fez (and Joe's Pub) Stella shows, even saw David Wain and Mr. Blue performing songs from the soundtrack. This was all pre-portroids.

The film was released theatrically 10 years ago today on July 27, 2001. I saw it multiple times with multiple people (with whomever I could get to go with me (they all loved it)) during it's theatrical run, and over the years have tried to attend screenings whenever possible. When I go to an event where I know a cast member will be present, I bring the DVD for them to sign and every one of them lights up at the sight of it. It is a movie whose humor, absurdity, and general feeling of nostalgic summer camp fun brings joy from it's mere mention. There has been renewed talk lately of a potential prequel with all the same cast. I can't image anything better than that. I want that movie inside me.
Here is the collection of portroids I've taken since October 2003 of the cast and creators of Wet Hot American Summer. Enjoy!

David Wain (co-writer and director)
Michael Showalter (co-writer and Coop, Alan Shemper)
Janeane Garofalo (Beth)
David Hyde Pierce (Henry)
Paul Rudd (Andy)

Zak Orth (J.J.)
A.D. Miles (Gary)

Ken Marino (Victor)
Joe Lo Truglio (Neil)
Michael Ian Black (McKinley)
Samm Levine (voice of Arty)

Bradley Cooper (Ben)

Peter Salett (Guitar Dude)
Judah Friedlander (Ron)
Jon Benjamin (Can of Vegetables)

Oh hey, what's up? From before.


P.S. If you haven't seen this movie, this goes without saying ...

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