Ken Marino, David Wain, and Joe Lo Truglio look back at the comedic legacy of Wet Hot American Summer. The under-appreciated gem is beloved by those that have seen it.
AVC: At the time of the film’s theatrical release, did you have faith that the film would find the “right” audience?
David Wain: The fact that it came out in a theater at all was more than we expected from what we were doing. It was such a tiny movie, and the fact that it got its day in court and that it got reviewed and that some people saw it was kind of exciting for us. It definitely had a tiny release and didn’t make any money, but I certainly did not expect that it would live on over the years the way that it has.
AVC: How many times have you seen the movie since it first came out?
DW: It was my first movie, so when it was in theaters, I would sneak into the Village East in Manhattan like every day—I also didn’t have a job—and so I would go in there every day, pretty much, and check in to see if people were laughing and see how many people were there. Which was usually very few. Since then, I think I’ve seen it from beginning to end only once.
KM: And I’ve never seen it.
AVC: Have you noticed that there are scenes that people laugh at harder than they might have the first time they saw it?
JLT: The scene that I always enjoy people laughing at is the scene with Marguerite [Moreau] and Showalter in the goat pen, giving the shirt back and forth. I always think that’s a really sweet, but really kind of absurd scene. And people seem to like it. That and after they come back from town, and everyone runs in the background and puts their head up against the wall on the side of that building.
What amazes me about the movie is the star power in retrospect. You had Paul Rudd, Bradley Cooper, Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Amy Poehler, Elizabeth Banks, Christopher Meloni, Molly Shannon, and many others.