When it was originally released to a small batch of theaters in 2001, Wet Hot American Summer didn’t make much of a splash. But, thanks to great word of mouth and DVD rentals (remember those?), the film has gone on to be a bona fide contemporary cult classic, just as its impressive cast — including Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper and others — have gone on to do bigger, but not always better things.
In honor of the film’s enduring appeal, we thought we’d take a look back at the original flick and its most quotable moments. Here we go.
“I went to camp so long ago that f*cking Jesus Christ was my counselor! And my best friend hadn’t fully evolved yet! His name was Ug, and he walked on all fours!” — Alan Shemper
In the film, Michael Showalter plays dual roles as the lovable Coop and the beloved comedian Alan Shemper. With apologies to the Coop fans out there, it’s his portrayal as the inexplicably adored Shemper that threatens to steal the picture away from his equally talented co-stars. Arts and farts and crafts forever.
“My husband’s coming today, and I need some lube… for my pussy.” — Nancy
The brilliance of Wet Hot American Summer is its ability to effortlessly move from sweet comedy (i.e. any scenes involving the Cure Girl or the Mork Kid) to outrageous raunchiness. The latter takes the spotlight in the uproarious clip above, which sort of explains the wet part of the movie’s title.
“Look, Gene,. I’ve never told anyone this before, but I can suck my own dick. And I do it a lot.” — Can of Vegetables
What a fascinating thing for a can of vegetables to say. Seeing how H. Jon Benjamin will turn up in Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, we must wonder if we’ll see how his character transformed from strict camp counselor into canned goods. One can only hope.
“The phone! The phone! Where’s the f*cking phone?” — Beth
With some campers lives on the line, Janeane Garofalo’s Beth character reacts in the most un-counselor like manner possible by absolutely losing her sh*t in one of the movie’s more over-the-top moments. Which is really saying something, given the outrageousness that flows through the movie.
“You taste like a burger. I don’t like you anymore.” — Andy
As Camp Firewood’s resident hunk, Paul Rudd’s Andy character may be criminally negligent, but he sure has a way with the ladies. I can only assume he’ll be up to more womanizing hijinks in the prequel series, or he’ll shrink down really small and go on tiny-hunk adventures. Either way, sounds great to me.
“Oh f*ck my cock” — Henry
If you’ve ever wanted to see Niles Crane use profanity, and you know you have, Wet Hot American Summer is the film for you. Maris would definitely not approve. You can imagine the face she’d make… or not. Probably not.
“It’s always fun to get away from camp, even for an hour.” — J.J.
In what’s arguably the film’s most notorious sequence, the Camp Firewood staff heads into town to explore the depths of their depravity. Fortunately, Rick Springfield’s “Love Is Alright Tonight” is there to keep all the profound existential despair at bay.
“McKinley needs to experience ‘The Ultimate.'” — Gary
“You mean, penis-in-vagina?” — J.J.
“No, dickhead. Sex.” — Gary
This exchange would be funny enough on its own if it wasn’t heightened by the fact that it leads into a risque sex scene between Michael Ian Black’s McKinley character and Bradley Cooper as fellow counselor Ben, one of the movie’s most unexpected — and hilarious — moments.
“Whatcha doing?” — Lindsay
“Writing in my gournal. I write my thoughts in it every day.” — Andy
“Oh, you mean a journal?” — Lindsay
“Yeah, whatever, I guess I’m not all smart like you” — Andy
Camp Firewood. Come for the outdoor wonders and summer fun. Stay for the incredibly inept counselors whose inability to handle the children in their charge is only matched by their mishandling of language.
“Show me the fever, into the fire, taking it higher and higher.” — Craig Wedren
What would any Wet Hot American Summer retrospective be without a mention of the flick’s blistering fist-pumper, “Higher and Higher?” Performed by Shudder to Think’s Craig Wedren (who also helped provide the film’s score), this song is a classic homage to the sound of every 1980s rah-rah montage ever… and I can’t get enough of it.
This is an update of a post that originally ran in July 2015