Wet Hot American Summer
Comedian, writer, actor and director David Wain, a founding member of the 90s sketch comedy group “The State” (later “Stella”), began his career in the early 1990s. In 2001, he co-produced, co-wrote and directed the cult comedy film "Wet Hot American Summer." He directed “The Ten” in 2007 and his latest film, "Role Models," which he wrote and directed, is expected to be released on November 7, 2008. Next, he will direct "Seniors," a contemporary comedy written by Jon Zack.
Wain is also recognized as a creator and star of an internet video comedy series called "Wainy Days" (2007-2008). As a member of “The State” and “Stella,” he co-created and starred on MTV from 1993 to 1995 (“The State”) and on Comedy Central in 2005 (“Stella”). He also played various characters in "You Wrote It, You Watch It" (1992) and "Random Play" (1999), as well as guest-starred in "Sheep in the Big City," "Late Friday," "Crank Yankers," "Jimmy Kimmel Live," "Cheap Seats: Without Ron Parker" and "Reno 911!"
On the big screen, the 5' 11" comic was seen in the films "Keeping the Faith" (2000), "Bamboozled" (2000), "The Third Date" (2003), "Along Came Polly" (2004), "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" (2004), "The Baxter" (2005), "Delirious" (2006), "Reno 911!: Miami" (2007), "Puberty: The Movie" (2007) and "The Guitar" (2008).
Childhood and Family:
On August 1, 1969, David Wain was born in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and is originally from the same neighborhood in Ohio as Paul Newman, Fred Willard, and Molly Shannon. He later moved to New York City to attend film school at N.Y.U. He now lives in New York.
While studying film at NYU, David Wain became a founding member of the sketch comedy group “The New Group,” whom would later be known as “The State.” In 1991, Wain began his career in film-making with an independent student film called "Aisle Six," which he edited, produced, wrote the story, and directed. The film that stars Thomas Lennon, Joe Lo Truglio, Michael Patrick Jann, and other members of the comedy troupe, received praise and became an official selection at the Sundance Film Festival. It also won awards at numerous festivals. That same year, Wain also wrote the musical documentary "Two Rooms: A Tribute to Elton John & Bernie Taupin," which celebrates the long and successful collaboration of Elton John and Bernie Taupin.
In the following year, Wain, alongside "The State" members, joined MTV's sketch comedy show hosted by Jon Stewart, "You Wrote It, You Watch It" (1992-1993). After the show was canceled in 1993, they created and starred in their own show, “The State,” a half-hour sketch-comedy television show that lasted on MTV from December 17, 1993, to July 1, 1995.
On working for MTV, Wain recalled, "We were in our early 20s. MTV was young and we were the first show they had done narrative shooting with so everyone was kind of figuring out what was going on. It was a great opportunity for us to kind of learn how to do everything. They let us do our show by ourselves."
“The State” also did a special for CBS, a book titled “State By State with The State” for Hyperion Press, and an album for Warner Brothers. They also toured the United States and performed their sketch show on Molt and off-Broadway. In addition to directing over eighty short films for “The State,” Wain also served as a cast member, supervising producer, writer, and editor.
Following the demise of “The State,” Wain, Michael Ian Black, and Michael Showalter formed the comedy trio “Stella.” Wain also appeared on the sketch comedy show "Random Play" (1999), had a voice guest role in an episode of Cartoon Network's animated television series "Sheep in the Big City," for which he also wrote two episodes, and was spotted as a guest host in an episode of "Late Friday." He was also cast in the 2000 comedy films “Keeping the Faith,” Edward Norton's directorial debut starring Ben Stiller, Norton, and Jenna Elfman, and "Bamboozled," a satirical film written and directed by Spike Lee featuring Damon Wayans, Jada Pinkett Smith, Savion Glover, Michael Rapaport, Tommy Davidson, and Mos Def.
On how he managed to land a role in “Bamboozled” (2000), Wain revealed, "I go on very very few auditions as an actor, but I love Spike Lee and asked for an audition and got the part. I was there for two days. There were literally dozens of cameras going at once. The whole thing was shot on home video DV; very weird. Spike Lee right before shooting asked me to make up a series of lines that precede what was on the page. I hadn't been given the script - just the one page I was on - so I had to guess what was going on. It was a thrill for me to meet him and work with him (for maybe ten minutes) before we shot. In the final film only the part I made up made it in - my other lines were cut. I wasn't a fan of 'Bamboozled' but 'Do the Right Thing,' 'Get on the Bus,' 'Crooklyn,' and '25th Hour' are among my favorite films."
Additionally, he served as a writer for an episode of Comedy Central's "Strangers with Candy" and multiple episodes of FOX's Emmy Award-winning American sketch comedy television series "Mad TV."
In 2001, Wain co-produced, co-wrote (with fellow “The State” and “Stella” member Michael Showalter), and directed a cult comedy film about the last day of summer camp in 1981, "Wet Hot American Summer." The movie was based on experiences Wain had while attending a Jewish camp called Camp Modin and stars Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Michael Showalter, Molly Shannon, Paul Rudd, Christopher Meloni, Marguerite Moreau, Elizabeth Banks, Michael Ian Black, Amy Poehler, Zak Orth, and members of “The State.” It earned Wain an Open Palm Award nomination at the Gotham Awards.
About the film, Wain explained, "We just wanted to do a camp movie, a movie about camp that would be relatively easy to shoot so we could use a lot of our friends in the cast. It kind of organically developed that way. We weren't like, ‘Let's spoof all the camp movies.’ To shoot a movie that was all in one location and mostly outside, we thought would be easy. We didn't know there was going to be freezing cold and raining most of the shoot. It was fun, but it was hard because of the horrible weather conditions and the very restricted budget and schedule."
Along with “Stella” members, Wain subsequently created "Stella Shorts 1998-2002," a collection of the three-man comedy troupe's short films originally shown at their live stage show at nightclubs. The collection was released on DVD in 2002, but is no longer being produced.
Afterward, Wain was cast in Amy K. Barrett's 16-minute short film "The Third Date" (2003; with Neil Jain, Sarah Clarke, Sandra Bernhard, and Xander Berkeley), John Hamburg's romantic comedy "Along Came Polly" (2004; starring Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston), and had an unaccredited role in Adam McKay's romantic comedy "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" (2004; starring Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, and Steve Carell). He also appeared as a guest on Comedy Central's prank calls show "Crank Yankers," ABC’s late-night talk show "Jimmy Kimmel Live!," and on ESPN’s classic sports comedy show "Cheap Seats: Without Ron Parker."
Wain appeared in a TV commercial for MTV in 2004. By this time, he had directed the music video "Lorraine's Car" for the indie rock band Cake Like, "Kill To Know" by Amy Miles, and "Nine Fingers On You" by Shudder To Think. He also co-wrote the off-Broadway play "SEX a.k.a. Wieners and Boobs."
In 2005, Wain and fellow “Stella” members Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter created a TV series adaptation of their stage show and short films, "Stella." The show originally ran from June 28 to August 30, 2005, on the American television channel Comedy Central. Also that year, Wain directed the comedy short segments of the TV movie "Merry F#%$in' Christmas" and appeared in the Michael Showalter-written/directed romantic drama comedy film "The Baxter," alongside Elizabeth Banks, Michelle Williams, Justin Theroux, Zak Orth, and Michael Ian Black.
Wain next served as executive producer of Katherine Dieckmann's coming-of-age movie "Diggers" (2006; starring Paul Rudd, Ken Marino, Ron Eldard, and Josh Hamilton) and was cast in Ken Marino's offbeat film "Delirious" (2006; starring Steve Buscemi, Michael Pitt, Alison Lohman, and Gina Gershon. He also produced, co-wrote (with Ken Marino), and directed the comedy film "The Ten" (2007; starring Jessica Alba, Winona Ryder, Paul Rudd, Famke Janssen, Adam Brody, and Gretchen Mol), where each of the ten stories were inspired by one of the Ten Commandments.
"The Ten Commandments have been a cornerstone of our society for nearly one hundred years. If you've ever taken a Sunday off, or if you've ever stopped yourself from murdering someone, then you yourself have been following the Ten Commandments without even knowing it." David Wain
In 2007, Wain created and starred on an internet video comedy series called "Wainy Days” for which he won an award in 2008.
Wain acted in the film "Reno 911!: Miami" (2007; starring Lennie Loftin and Danny DeVito), a comedy by Robert Ben Garant based on the Comedy Central series. On shooting the film with the entire cast of “The State,” Wain commented, "So great. It was so much fun to be together with everyone. We got into this big five hour fight about something. That was a magical day. It was the first time in many years that the entire cast of ‘The State’ was in the same place at the same time."
Wain also appeared in the films "Puberty: The Movie" (2007), a comedy by Eric Ledgin and Stephen Schneider, and "The Guitar" (2008; starring Saffron Burrows, Isaach De Bankolé, and Paz de la Huerta), a musical romantic drama by Amy Redford. Additionally, he lent his voice to the short comedic TV movie "Superjail" (2007) and guest-starred on Comedy Central's "Reno 911!" He also starred in the comedic internet video series "Horrible People."
Wain has completed his latest film project, "Role Models," which he wrote and directed. The comedy that stars Paul Rudd, Seann William Scott, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse is expected to be released November 7, 2008.
Next, Wain will next direct "Seniors," a contemporary comedy written by Jon Zack.
The Webby: Best Comedy Series, 2008
The Webby: Official Honoree - Individual Episode, “The Future,” 2008