When Camp Firewood celebrated its last day of camp in the summer of 1981, it was a time for revelry. Counselors were getting married, a NASA Skylab crisis was averted, love was made, gum was chewed, and a can of vegetables inspired the cook. It was the basis for Wet Hot American Summer, the then-unloved, but now beloved, “camp movie” satire created by David Wain.
Aging like a fine wine, WHAS has become something of a cult classic. However, what has truly earned it the significant amount of attention it’s amassed since its release is its cast. Some have starred in hit television series’, some have become major film directors, one has earned three Academy Award nominations, and one is an Avenger.
With the third visit to Camp Firewood releasing later this summer in Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later, let’s take a look at where the WHAS cast has ended up, with Where Are They Now? The Cast Of Wet Hot American Summer.
16. Amy Poehler
Before Amy Poehler was the star that she is today (and even before she starred in Wet Hot American Summer), she was pioneering improvisational comedy with the Upright Citizen’s Brigade troupe. Along with Matt Besser, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh, she helped jump-start a new wave in live comedy. Now, it appears that all of her hard work has paid off.
Since starring in WHAS as Susie, Poehler has since gone on to star in Saturday Night Live, Parks and Recreation, and Sisters, lend her vocal talents to Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out, and appear in shows and movies like Arrested Development, Mean Girls, and Kroll Show. Her latest film, The House, which also stars Will Ferrell and Jason Mantzoukas, received a paltry 18% on Rotten Tomatoes. Then again, WHAS itself rocks a meager 32%, so… maybe time will heal all wounds in this case, as well.
15. Michael Showalter
In WHAS, Michael Showalter was a fresh-faced comedian jumping off the successes of David Wain’s shows, The State and Stella. After WHAS, he stuck true to his roots and maintained a solid, albeit not-quite-mainstream, career in comedy — in acting and writing. As of late, however, he’s taken a much stronger turn towards directing, having just released the Kumail Nanjiani semi-autobiography, The Big Sick (which earned a solid 97% on Rotten Tomatoes).
Before that, he also directed Sally Fields in Hello, My Name Is Doris, The Baxter, and the TV series (which he also co-wrote and starred in alongside WHAS star Michael Ian Black) Michael and Michael Have Issues. In 2016, he co-created and co-wrote the sleuthing comedy series, Search Party, which stars Alia Shawkat and John Early.
14. Molly Shannon
Molly Shannon has been a household name since SNL, so when she showed up in WHAS, it was like rekindling an old friendship. Her comedic style may lack subtlety during her sketch routines (see Mary Katherine Gallagher from Superstar), but Shannon has proven over the years that she is more than some over-the-top comedian. In fact, considering the fact that she studied drama at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, it’s safe to say that Molly Shannon isn’t just your run-of-the-hill joker — a fact which she has proven after showing up as Gail in WHAS.
Shannon has gone on to star in television shows and films such as Marie Antoinette, Year of the Dog, Bob’s Burgers, Divorce, and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. Her most recent film, however, Other People, has earned her critical acclaim — notably by way of a Best Supporting Female award at the Film Independent Spirit Awards.
13. Marguerite Moreau
If you’re wondering why Marguerite Moreau looks so familiar (aside from her role as Katie in WHAS, of course), it’s because she played Connie in The Mighty Ducks.
Now, let’s move on.
As the official goodbye girl of Camp Firewood, Moreau has maintained a consistent acting career since the first WHAS. In fact, even though her familiarity is still tied to the ’90s with Ducks, she’s been popping up all over television for years, and in a variety of genres. You might have seen her in Lost, The O.C., Parenthood, and Shameless, but if you care enough about WHAS to read this entire list, then you’ve definitely experienced the pleasure of Moreau returning to play Katie in Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp (as well as Ten Years Later, which has already been established).
12. David Hyde Pierce
Who really expected David Hyde Pierce to show up in a movie like Wet Hot American Summer? Known for playing the know-it-all brother on Frasier, the David Wain universe seemed like a far cry from the sort of material that fell within the actor’s wheelhouse. That said, when he shows up at Camp Firewood as Astrophysics Associate Professor (that means he’s “less than“) Henry Newman, he fit like a glove.
Since WHAS, Pierce made a trend out of voicing animated (and costumed) characters (following his role in A Bug’s Life) with movies like Osmosis Jones, Treasure Planet, and Hellboy. However, his most jarring role came in the form of Warwick Wilson in The Perfect Host, where he’s cranked the creep level up to 11. He’s also starred in The Good Wife, as well as the Dustin Lance Black-scripted miniseries, When We Rise.
11. Nina Hellman
Nina Hellman’s career after WHAS has been more under the radar than others. Then again, considering the fact that WHAS was one of the first acting projects she’s ever worked on, that’s by no means downplaying her talent.
Over the years, she’s shown up in various television shows, until securing consistent voice work on the animated series, The Venture Bros. Since then, she’s popped up in other David Wain productions, including The Ten, Role Models, and Wanderlust. Aside from starring in various shorts, as well as the TV series Nurse Jackie and Expecto Patron, she of course returned as Nurse Nancy in First Day of Camp, and will do so again in Ten Years Later.
10. Ken Marino
After proving how far he was willing to run for love in WHAS, Ken Marino has been climbing the comedic ladder ever since. He started slowly, landing roles in shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Reno 911!, and Veronica Mars, and then took the lead (or at least one of the leads) in the Starz original series Party Down.
Marino essentially cemented his over-the-top brand of humor in Children’s Hospital, before landing a role in Brooklyn Nine Nine. He’s voiced a couple episodes of Bob’s Burgers and has shown up in Fresh Off the Boat, and in April 2017, he directed his first feature-length film, How to Be a Latin Lover.
In terms of other work he’s done behind the scenes, Marino is also the co-screenwriter on several projects he’s starred in, including The Ten, Role Models, Wanderlust, and the aforementioned Children’s Hospital.
9. Joe Lo Truglio
For a while now, Joe Lo Truglio has been a sort of unsung hero in the comedy world. As Neil in WHAS, Lo Truglio pretty much displays the “Best Of’s” regarding his particular style. Shows like Reno 911! and The State reinforce this. He’s had small roles in Superbad, Pineapple Express, and Role Models, but as of late, he’s been fighting crime (from behind a desk) as Charles Boyle on Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
In an unexpected move, however, Lo Truglio’s next big career task comes in the form of directing. He’s stepping behind the camera on a film that doesn’t necessarily seem to jive with the career that’s led up to it thus far. The movie is titled Little Green Men, and though there is little information regarding its plot, it’s being referred to as a Sci-Fi/Thriller. Whether or not he injects his comedic stamp on the film remains to be seen, but it’s still grounds for intrigue, no matter the direction he ultimately takes.
8. Christopher Meloni
Much like David Hyde Pierce, Christopher Meloni is one of those actors who doesn’t seem like he belongs in the WHAS universe. That said, the WHAS would be a shell of its former self without him.
Before he was Gene the Cook at Camp Firewood, Meloni was Mr. Tough Guy in shows like Law and Order: SVU and Oz. So, when WHAS came around, his foray into comedy was explored to the nth degree. When he showed up in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle as Freakshow, it was clear that Meloni was more than happy to blur his talents between drama and comedy.
7. H. Jon Benjamin
If you don’t recognize H. Jon Benjamin’s face, then you’ll certainly recognize his voice. For one, he voiced the Can of Vegetables in WHAS, but since then, he’s tackled characters that are already sealed within the animated comedy gold vault. These shows include Archer (in which he plays the titular Archer), Bob’s Burgers (in which he plays the titular Bob), and Home Movies (which is admittedly not as secure within the animated comedy gold vault as it ought to be).
Aside from voice work, Benjamin has also dabbled in his fair share of live-action acting. Most recently, he’s shown up in Aziz Ansari’s series Master of None and the alien abduction Sci-Fi Comedy People of Earth. Mostly, though, he tends to stick with the voice acting — which is where audiences tend to love him best.
6. Bradley Cooper
Now, here’s an actor who you’re probably not very familiar with. Yes, he’s been nominated for three Academy Awards (for his work in American Sniper, American Hustle, and Silver Lining’s Playbook), and yes, he was People Magazine’s 2011 Sexiest Man Alive, and yes, he’s a lead in not one, but two, blockbuster franchises (The Hangover and Guardians of the Galaxy), but it’s totally understandable that you might not be familiar with him. Bradley Cooper is one of WHAS‘s forgotten gems.
So, what’s he been up to since the first WHAS? Well, pretty much everything that’s already been listed. Bradley Cooper has climbed the celebrity ladder faster than Rocket the Raccoon can formulate a wisecracking comeback (which is saying a lot), and in 2018, he’ll release his directorial debut film, which happens to be a remake of A Star is Born, starring himself alongside Lady Gaga (or, as she’ll be credited on the film, Stefani Germanotta).
5. Kevin Sussman
Even at Camp Firewood, there is such a thing as “the weird guy.” In this case, that guy was Kevin Sussman’s Steve, the film’s only actual character with superpowers.
After WHAS, Sussman kept a steady flow of supporting roles to sustain his career. That said, these supporting roles were by no means unsubstantial. He’s worked with Steven Spielberg in A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Christopher Guest in For Your Consideration, and the Coen Brothers in Burn After Reading. However, his most significant role to date has been Stuart Bloom in The Big Bang Theory.
Though Sussman has been primarily working in front of the camera, he did switch things up by writing the animated TV movie, Dark Minions (which does not have any connection to the Despicable Me characters).
4. Janeane Garofalo
Question: where would Camp Firewood be without its trusty Camp Director Beth (as played by Janeane Garofalo)? Answer: probably destroyed.
Before WHAS, Garofalo was already a household name. She was a ’90s standup comic-turned-TV/film actress who had been in everything from The Ben Stiller Show to Reality Bites. But that was then. Post-WHAS, Garofalo took on roles in The West Wing, 24, and most recently, The Jim Gaffigan Show. However, the most famous movie she’s starred in (not including WHAS, naturally), was Ratatouille — though her identity may have been a mystery on account of her character’s French accent.
Garofalo is ever-present in the world of comedy, writing for television as well as her own standup material. However, if the Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later trailer is to be believed, her days as Camp Firewood Director may be coming to an end!
3. Michael Ian Black
If there was one criticism to be made about WHAS, it’s that Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter do not have more shared screen time. Having created and starred in Michael and Michael Have Issues (exhibit A referring to Ian Black, and exhibit B referring to Showalter), as well as working alongside each other on projects such as The State and Stella, these two deserved stronger on-screen chemistry. That said, WHAS is perfect, so it’s ultimately an excusable mistake.
After WHAS, Black has hardly steered away from comedy, starring alongside fellow comedic powerhouses like Jim Gaffigan in The Jim Gaffigan Show, Amy Schumer in Inside Amy Schumer, and some dogs in Dogs in a Park. He was also a recurring player in Another Period, and in 2017, he’ll hopefully get more screen time alongside Michael Showalter in 10 Years Later.
2. Elizabeth Banks
Once upon a time, Elizabeth Banks’ face was caked in BBQ sauce and her mouth tasted like burger. Those were the glory days of WHAS.
These days, however, the tides have turned considerably. She’s now no longer the reason someone drowned in the lake, but an A-list actress. Banks started making a name for herself after showing up in supporting roles in films like The 40-Year-Old Virgin, the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy, and Catch Me if You Can, but in 2008, she landed a starring (and titular) role in Kevin Smith’s Zack and Miri Make a Porno.
Now, she’s synonymous with film franchises like The Hunger Games (where she’s nearly unrecognizable under layers of makeup as Effie Trinket) and Pitch Perfect (where she actually served as director for the second installment). Most recently, she starred as the villainous Rita Repulsa in Power Rangers.
1. Paul Rudd
Paul Rudd still looks like the fresh-faced sort-of-half-brother from Clueless, but his career has proven that he’s come a long way. When he showed up as Andy in WHAS, he earned his place as one of the most likable unlikable characters ever put onto film — which really only ended up working in his favor, since it merely added to the list of classic characters he would come to make famous from that point forward.
He dabbled in Friends for a bit as Phoebe’s love interest, but his career took a quick turn towards the mainstream after starring in Anchorman as Brian Fantana. Rudd took full advantage of his relationships with filmmakers Judd Apatow and David Wain, starring in such films as Wanderlust and This is 40. However, his most significant role came in the form of Scott Lang (aka Ant-Man).
Once, he was trying to convince a room full of men that an illegal cologne made out of panther was the way to go. Now, he’s an Avenger.
Take that, Bradley Cooper. Because, yes, everyone is mad at your for not coming back for Ten Years Later.
Did we miss any notable cast members from Wet Hot American Summer? Let us know in the comments, while you wait for the new season to premiere on Netflix on August 4th!
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