What's "Wet Hot American Summer" about?
Michael Showalter: Typical teenage summer camp stuff. First love, friendship, Kenny Loggins.
David Wain: Macrame, tight shorts, tongue-kissing.
Showalter: Angst, bad food, fuckin' the fridge. I think that covers it.
Why is your movie set in 1981?
Showalter: It was going to be 1881 but they didn't have summer camps in 1881.
Wain: We figured that by setting a teen movie twenty years ago it would significantly, if not entirely, reduce the commercial value of our movie in the marketplace.
Showalter: It's all about alienating our target audience.
You guys are best known for being a part of MTV's cult sketch comedy show The State. How did that experience play into making this movie?
Showalter: It is an extension of that subversive, absurd and silly sensibility that we all developed together during the eight years we were a group. In addition, several State members appear in the film.
Wain: But unlike The State, this is a full-length feature premiering at The Sundance Film Festival and not a basic cable TV show that was the Sunday night lead-in to "Beavis and Butthead."
In what way is your film "subversive, absurd & silly"?
Wain: It takes the kinds of risks only an independent film is allowed to within the conventions of the classic teen comedy genre.
Showalter: In a normal Hollywood movie a guy would get hit in the face with a pie. In our movie that same guy would still get hit in the face with a pie, but he'd have a vagina.
Wain: If not two.
What was the experience of working with such a big ensemble cast?
Wain: It was such a trip to work with this group of actors who have established themselves in so many different comedic avenues.
Showalter: To be honest, Janeane Garofalo's performance was awful. Thankfully, Glenn [Close] did a bang-up job replacing her dialogue.
Wain: This is off the record but David Hyde Pierce is a shameless name dropper.
Showalter: "Kelsey Grammer this...Perri Gilpin that..."
Wain: Blah, blah, blah. Get over yourself.
Showalter: Molly Shannon wasn't used to learning her lines so she brought the cue card guy with her from 'SNL.'
Wain: He was nice. He gave everybody weed.
Showalter: Christopher Meloni's comedic work on his TV show "Oz" made him a no-brainer.
Wain: Paul Rudd begged for the part like a little schoolgirl.
Showalter: The State guys, Michael Black, Ken Marino and Joe LoTruglio, our oldest friends who we've worked together with for years, and who we trust and love like brothers, were all put through a rigorous audition process.
Wain: We gave them parts on the condition that they would also drive the grip trucks.
Why a summer camp movie?
Wain: Summer camp for us was an epic coming-of-age experience.
Showalter: It was a group of wonderful characters each with their own larger-than-life story, who at the same time, shared together in one communal adventure.
Wain: Or to put it another way, fuck you.
How do you guys work together?
Showalter: We play good cop bad cop.
Wain: So if we're interrogating a perp, I'll butter him up and Showalter intimidates the guy into a confession.
Wain: If we ever disagree on anything we put it to a vote.
Showalter: If it's a tie we do a re-vote, but that rarely happens.
What is your next project?
Wain: I think that's a good question but I can't think of an answer.
Showalter: David, the Interviewer asked you a question-you have to answer it.
Wain: But there is no interviewer. We made up these questions ourselves.
Be that as it may, is there anything you'd like people to know about your movie before they see it?
Wain: Jaye Davidson has a dick.
An interview with the filmmakers:
and David Wain