(Editor’s Note: This piece appears on The Bowery Presents The House List. Check it out here)
On Tuesday night at Music Hall of Williamsburg, Wet Hot American Summer celebrated its tenth anniversary. The movie, a comedy about the last day at a fictional Jewish summer camp in 1981, initially received mixed reactions. At the time of its release, critics panned the satire, harshly judging both the plot and director David Wain. But, flash forward to 2011 and the cast and creators have the last laugh.
Every aspect of the event drew on the movie’s community and shared nostalgia. Fans willingly dressed in character, playing on the theme of striped knee-high athletic socks and ¾-sleeve baseball shirts. Event staff ran arts and crafts (or arts and farts) and handed out pieces of gum. No doubt, this sealed Wet Hot American Summer’s reputation as a cult classic.
The show itself consisted of Stella comedy-group members Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter and David Wain serving as emcees while a parade of cast members returned for skits. Showalter recounted a fabricated romance with Marguerite Moreau, who played the promiscuous Katie and stayed true to character, sharing kisses with Wain and Black. Additionally, Janeane Garofalo, A.D. Miles, Ken Marino and characters referred to as Cape Boy and Aaron made appearances. All the while, Joe McGinty and the Loser’s Lounge provided background music, playing selections from the soundtrack. But in the end, Stella remained onstage, thanking those in the crowd, who were equally responsible for the event and the movie’s continued success.