Don’t Tell Scotty But Here’s An Oral History Of ‘Scotty Doesn’t Know’

Senior Entertainment Writer
08.17.18 16 Comments

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Back in 2000, Road Trip, a movie starring Breckin Meyer, Seann William Scott and Tom Green, became a bit of a sensation, making a whole lot of money off of a pretty small budget. Four years later, even though it was a completely different creative team, the raunchy EuroTrip was released in theaters billed as “from the producers of Road Trip.” EuroTrip would wind up having a higher budget and would make considerably less money than Road Trip. (It is actually very difficult to find someone who actually saw EuroTrip in theaters.)

Then a strange thing happened…

Today, EuroTrip – directed by Jeff Schaffer (currently a director and producer of Curb Your Enthusiasm), Alec Berg (executive producer on Silicon Valley), and David Mandel (showrunner of Veep); only Schaffer was allowed a full directing credit – is considered a cult classic, while Road Trip has largely been forgotten. And a huge reason for this is that EuroTrip had a secret weapon that even the filmmaker didn’t quite know they had at the time – a catchy song of betrayal that is played throughout the film called “Scotty Doesn’t Know.”

Early in the film, Scott Thomas (played by Scott Mechlowicz) is dumped by his girlfriend, Fiona (Kristin Kreuk). Later that night at a high school graduation party, Scotty watches his whole life collapse when a garage band singer (still, shockingly, played by Matt Damon) starts performing a song called “Scotty Doesn’t Know” that chronicles, in great detail, the illicit affair between Damon’s singer and Fiona as the two dance, gyrate, and sing the song right there in front of a humiliated Scotty. Matt Damon ends the song by literally screaming and wagging his tongue toward Scotty.

It’s all this that convinces Scotty to head to Europe at the last second with his friends in a quest to find his German pen pal (Jessica Boehrs). While Scotty is in Europe, the song “Scotty Doesn’t Know” becomes an international sensation.

Fourteen years after the film’s release, “Scotty Doesn’t Know” is still an anthem, still played at proms and parties. And, maybe even more absurd, considering the tone of the song, it makes people happy. It’s almost impossible to hear “Scotty Doesn’t Know” and not smile.

Ahead (because why not?) we will take you through the complete history of “Scotty Doesn’t Know” from the perspective of the filmmakers, actors, the band who performed the song, and even a musician who wrote the other version of Scotty Doesn’t Know that wasn’t used in the film and hasn’t been heard until now.

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(When I spoke to the filmmakers, they were, let’s say, a little surprised this was going to be the topic of conversation.)

Jeff Schaffer, Director: This is a fantastic use of everyone’s time.

David Mandel, Writer: We thought we were making the movie to come out and be very popular then! It turns out, what we really did, is you wait 20 years and then it’s very popular. So we’re taking it very well.

Schaffer: We did make the movie to be like the movies we used to watch when we were growing up as teenagers – when you’d go to a friend’s house whose parents had an unlocked liquor cabinet.

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