Wet Hot American All-Star Performances

Listen up losers – today is the day we’ve been waiting for for 14 years. It’s time to finally go back to Camp Firewood, where the sexual tension fills the humid Maine air and hits you like a disgusting sticky wall of regret and the counselors could honestly not give two shits about their campers. I’m so excited.wet-hot-american-summer--first-day-of-camp-poster

We’re going back to 1981, but this time around, a few days before the kiddos arrive, hence, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. The new Netflix prequel of eight glorious episodes comes out today, and previously released intel reveals that it looks exactly the same (in a good way), but with even more star power than before, which seems impossible. For the prequel, co-creators David Wain and Michael Showalter recruited some of today’s hottest stars, including Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, John Slattery, Jason Schwartzman, Chris Pine, Josh Charles, etc. etc. etc. While I’m looking forward to seeing these folks at Camp Firewood, I’m also looking forward to seeing the old counselors back on campus again. Particularly because they’re playing a few days younger than what they were in the movie they filmed 15 years ago.

And 15 years ago, a lot of these cast members were still flying under the radar of fame. For Bradley Cooper, it was his first feature film, and there’s still a good chunk of the world who didn’t even know he was in it. David and Michael sure know how to pick them, and as we can see from the careers the cast has had since then, everyone’s doing just fine. But while they have had unforgettable roles they will be known for for the rest of their lives (Leslie Knope, Effie Trinket, Det. Elliot Stabler), these accomplished actors have their fair share of underrated performances. So in honor of going back to Maine, here are some of my favorite roles Camp Firewood alum have taken on since 1981/2001.

Amy Poehler as Susie

Post Camp Firewood Choice Performance:  Sondra in A.C.O.D.

You love seeing Amy and Adam Scott as Leslie and Ben, but do you think you’ll love them as stepmother and stepson? The surprising answer is yes. If you’re wondering – but they’re one year apart in age, how is that possible?? That’s why it’s funny folks. Sondra is a short-tempered rich bitch who doesn’t particularly care too much about being a mother figure to Adam Scott’s character, and she brings the laughs (as always). Plus the dynamic between them is reason enough to see this movie.

Bradley Cooper as Ben

Post Camp Firewood Choice Performance: Holden Wilson in Valentine’s Day

We all know how big of a star B Coops has become since this movie. And as previously mentioned, WHAS was Bradley’s first feature film coming straight out of the Inside The Actors Studio school and oh boy what a role it was. Relatedly, Bradley was in, IMHO an underrated movie, Valentine’s Day, which follows in the style of Love Actually and He’s Just Not That Into You. He plays a soldier who meets Julia Roberts on a plane and maybe I was too engrossed in the other B-X plots but I definitely did not seeing his ending coming.

Michael Ian Black as McKinley

Post Camp Firewood Choice Performance: Phil Stubbs in Ed

Michael Ian Black is best known for his usually over-the-top comedic roles, but he toned it down a bit for dramedy Ed, a series that aired the entire four years we were in high school, and I feel like I was in a small group of teens who watched it in its entirety. MIB played one of the employees at bowling alley Stuckeybowl, which is owned by the titular Ed. MIB brings the comedy to the series as like the odd guy (out), bringing the necessary townie strangeness needed for the small town life. (PS: full eps are on youtube!!!!!)

Elizabeth Banks as Lindsay

Post Camp Firewood Choice Performance: Avery Jessup in 30 Rock

Elizabeth Banks is one of those people who is loved by all and can do pretty much anything she’s asked to play. For the record, Avery Jessup is one of the best characters she’s ever played because she’s so insane and so real that it hurts so good. However, I think it’s worth noting that Elizabeth is an exceptional dramatic actress as well. Specifically in THG: Mockingjay Part 1, she obviously doesn’t have as many scenes as Katniss but the sorrow and despair in Effie’s being is so heartbreaking, which is all Elizabeth. More dramatic roles, please!!

Paul Rudd as Andy

Post Camp Firewood Choice Performance: Mike Hannigan in Friends

It’s worth noting that no one has aged. Not one bit. Especially Paul Rudd. He’s had so many excellent roles over the years that sometimes it’s easy to forget roles that seemed fairly small compared to what else was going on in the rest of the movie/tv show. I.E. Mike, Phoebe’s hubs on Friends. It’s hard to be the outsider within the group of six, but Mike fit in so well. He was a perfect match for Pheebs and could actually tolerate her weirdness by complementing it with his own absurdities.

Christopher Meloni as Gene

Post Camp Firewood Choice Performance: Ray Whelans in Veep

Although Chris Meloni is probably best known as Elliot Stabler, Chris Meloni has done his fair share of comedies, obviously incuding Wet Hot American Summer. He uses that ridiculousness from the kitchen and brings it to roles like Veep, where he had a mini-arc as VP Selina Meyer’s Trainer Wellness Advisor, who she *spoiler alert* ends up sleeping with.

Ken Marino as Victor Kulak

Post Camp Firewood Choice Performance: Vinnie Van Lowe in Veronica Mars

I will always post this video when I get the opportunity. Ken Marino is a genius.

Joe Lo Truglio as Neil

Post Camp Firewood Choice Performance: Lonnie in I Love You, Man

Like Paul Rudd and Ken Marino, Joe has had a bunch of great roles since WHAS, but this one cracks me up every time I see it. Also, I just watched The Wedding Ringer, and it’s basically the same movie as I Love You, Man, right?

A.D. Miles as Gary

Post Camp Firewood Choice Performance: A.D. Miles in The Tonight Show/Late Show with Jimmy Fallon

A.D. was kind of the silent forgotten hero in WHAS, but A.D. IRL has gone on to become one of the best in the comedy biz. He was hired as the head writer for Jimmy’s Late Night show and currently serves as the head writer for the Tonight Show. In this recurring sketch with Justin Timberlake, A.D. goes back to his camp roots and reminds me of Ug Lee from Salute Your Shorts.

Molly Shannon as Gail von Kleinenstein

Post Camp Firewood Choice Performance: Val in Will & Grace

We all know that Molly Shannon is hilarious. This is a given. But she played such a creepy funny character on Will & Grace as the insane neighbor. Like a pop up book from hell, Val legit just shows up when you least expect it and she’s one of my favorite characters Molly’s played since Sally O’Malley.

Judah Friedlander – Ron von Kleinenstein

Post Camp Firewood Choice Performance: Brian in Sharknado 2: The Second One

Since I’m most accustomed to seeing Judah in big glasses and a trucker hat with some kind of riddle on the front, it took me a second to realize that he was fending off killer sharks in Sharknado 2: The Second One. It’s like the equivalent of Rachael Leigh cook taking out her ponytail and glasses in She’s All That.  A WHOLE DIFFERENT PERSON.

Marguerite Moreau as Katie

Post Camp Firewood Choice Performance: Katie in Parenthood


I feel like this picture accurately depicts the entire arc (albeit small) Marguerite had on Parenthood. She was dating Crosby in the first few episodes and eager to have a baby, and wanted to freeze his sperm, but Crosby was all Helllll nahhh son I ain’t bout that life ::enter Jasmine and Jabbar:: Bye Katie.

Kyle Gallner – Bobby’s Buddy

Post Camp Firewood Choice Performance: Beaver Cassidy Casablancas in Veronica Mars

GUYS I HAD NO IDEA KYLE GALLNER WAS IN WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER AS THIS KID. BRAND NEW INFORMATION.

 

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A Little Verklempt: Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special

It’s a good thing I get President’s Day off, because otherwise I’d be taking a mental health day today. The SNL 40th Anniversary Special had me up to my eyeballs in feelings. I knew it would, because I remember how it felt watching the 25th Anniversary Special as an SNL-obsessed toddler teenager. Obviously we were primed to love everything on our screens last night, but here’s what I loved the most of the most:

Opening Musical Number with Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon

Did you start off counting the throwback references and quit because the number was so jam-packed? There were shout outs to Lazy Sunday, Dick In A Box, the Ambiguously Gay Duo, Matt Foley, the wild and crazy guys, Debbie Downer, the cheerleaders, the “don’t make me dance” lady, the Blues Brothers, cowbell, Mary Katherine Gallagher, and a bunch more.

The Opening Credits

The only thing missing was Don Pardo. Yes, I’m talking about the list of people who would appear in the show. During our high school masses sometimes they’d roll out the litany of the saints, where the school chorus would just bust out a list of Catholics. The opening introduction of SNL 40 was the closest I’ll get to a personally relevant litany of the saints. But with Sarah Palin in there also.

The Bass-o-matic

Do you ever have that dream that you’re on stage and you’re supposed to be performing a play you were in years ago? And you worry that you’ll screw up your lines and blocking, and in the good version of the dream as soon as you’re out there it all comes rushing back. I bet this felt like a real-life good version of that dream to Dan Ackroyd.

Jeopardy

ALL of my favorite Jeopardy idiots in one go? AMAZING. From Kate McKinnon’s spot-on human piddling puppy Justin Bieber, to Sean Connery’s filthy misreads of Let It Snow and Who Reads (Le Tits Now and Whore Ads), it was hilarious and – success! – went on for exactly the right amount of time.

Audition Reels

If there’s one thing that makes me verklempt (and there are a billion things, we did a whole week on it), it’s seeing successful people during those little tenuous moments before things started for them. Just the idea that they were living a normal-isn life and couldn’t know how much things would be changing is so sweet. The one that really got me was seeing a baby-faced, slightly nervous looking Amy Poehler. Andy Samberg as a jogger from 1982, Jimmy Fallon looking like he took a cab over after junior high, Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig debuting some of their most famous characters – it was like when you see baby pictures of people you’ve only seen as adults.

The Californians

Everyone I know loves the Californians, and I only ever just liked it. This one was different. Laraine Newman cracked me up, Betty White making out with Bradley Cooper was the best thing I’ve seen in weeks, and even Taylor Swift’s wacky accent and hair-mustache were hilarious.

WEEKEND UPDATE DREAM TEAM!

Highlight of the night, here. I had hoped for a Tina/Amy reunion, or a Tina/Jimmy, Amy/Seth showdown, but I hadn’t even dared to dream we’d get Jane Curtin. Watching the clip reel of past Update moments, it’s really clear that some people are just better at it. They have the right combination of charisma and crisp, sharp delivery to make the jokes land hard. I’m not here to name names of the people who weren’t as good (though let’s just say that everyone I listed was amazing, and I think Cecily Strong had the makings of being darn good too). Anyway, whenever anyone starts the job, I think they should sit in a room and watch tape of Jane to see how it’s done.

[Sidebar: my favorite Jane Curtin story is also a Gilda Radner story. Compared to the coked-out masses of the early Not Ready For Primetime Players, Curtin was always very straight-laced and diligent. She had a stable marriage and was basically just normal. Gilda would go over to Jane’s house just to watch Jane and her husband Patrick Lynch make dinner and act like regular people. Jane felt like it was a little weird, but of course she let Gilda keep coming over because she so loved seeing regular, happy people in their natural habitat. So while Jane Curtin pulls off the stern, ball-busting news anchor thing, she’s a giant sweetheart at the same time.]

The celebrity tributes to their favorite characters was an adorable way to bring back Roseanne Rosannadanna (Emma Stone, who nailed it and looked like she was living a Gilda fan’s dream) and Matt Foley (Melissa McCarthy, physical comedy for DAYS). They were perfectly framed not as an attempt to replace Chris Farley and Gilda Radner, but as recognition of what all fans did growing up, impersonating recurring characters. And of course, no Update segment would be complete without the return of Seth Meyers and Stefan and the land shark at the update door.

Maya Rudolph as Beyonce

With appearances by Garth and Cat, Marty Culp and Bobbi Mohan-Culp, Opera Man, What’s Up With That, the Love Theme from Jaws, and the Blues Brothers.

Jerry Seinfeld Q and A

The audience Q and A is a classic SNL opener, and this one with an all-celeb audience was great. Ellen Cleghorne really stole the show though, didn’t she?

Tracy Morgan

Yes, I shed a little tear when Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin introduced a clip of Tracy Morgan, who is still recovering from last year’s car accident and couldn’t be there last night.

Digital Short: That’s When You Break

Andy Samberg and Adam Sandler are a perfect pairing, and it felt so right to celebrate the many times cast members have cracked up over the years. But mostly Fallon and Sanz.

In Memoriam

Look. I cannot watch Gilda Radner without my heart breaking and singing at the same time. I knew that part would make me cry a bit, and it did. There are some other cast members, like Phil Hartman and Jan Hooks, who were taken far too soon. But I was especially touched to see the tributes to the crew members who have passed on. Next time you watch SNL, pay attention to one non-performing aspect of the show, whether it’s sets or costumes or props or cue cards. The show wouldn’t have made it 40 years if they didn’t have one of the best crews in television. It felt so special to acknowledge their efforts, especially in a room full of performers from all different eras who knew firsthand how important these workers were. It was also fitting to end with a moment of levity, mourning the untimely loss of John Lovitz.

Mega-Goodnight

I should probably watch the goodnights in slow-mo, because it was like a Where’s Waldo of awesome people who I love. The whole night was, really.

 

 

Bilingual Actors Who Don’t Need Rosetta Stone

I recently came across this gem on Tumblr, in which RDJ & Gwyneth Paltrow are at a press conference for Iron Man 3 in France, and Pepper Potts was a show off and answered all the questions in French.

Turns out Gwyneth spent a summer in Paris, which explains her flunecy.

And she also speaks Spanish, since she also spent a lot of time in Toledo, Spain as a teen. Unfortunately she’s doing an interview about Contagion – the worst movie I will never see – so it’s probably good that I can only understand about 75% of this.

Speaking of Spanish and Gwyneth, her former boyfriend Ben Affleck also speaks Spanish, since both he and his bro Casey spent time in Mexico as teens. Also, re this vid: Ben Affleck + The Town + Ben talking about Juan Hamm being handsome = Traci needing an inhaler

And more hot guys speaking languages I don’t understand:

Bradley Cooper speaking French **SWOOON** He’s so friggin good. And all I know is that he mentions Leonardo DiCaprio, but says his name in a very French accent.

A young Joseph Gordon-Levitt also speaking French and channelling his bud Heath Ledger

We know Colin Firth can put together a sentence in Portugese per Love Actually, but IRL, he’s much better at Italian.

The daughter of a German opera singer, Sandra Bullock lived in Deutschland for most of her childhood. I really hope she’s teaching little Louie German too. I mean, how cute would that be?

Natalie Portman is known for staying strong with her Jewish roots, so naturally, Hebrew is among one of her many talents.

Ugh. Charlize Theron is not only gorgeous but she speaks Afrikaans, her native language from South Africa. Whatever. I used to be able to speak Pig Latin and that made up language from Zoom.

Mila Kunis moved to West Hollywood from Ukraine with her family, and still speaks fluent Russian. My favorite part of this interview is watching Justin Timberlake clearly have no idea what she’s saying.

Academy Awards 2013: Best and Worst Dressed

Here are our picks for the Best and Worst Dressed from the Oscars. And in case you missed it, check out our live blog from last night. Entertaining commentary and gifs galore!

Best Dressed

Traci’s Picks

Jennifer Lawrence in Dior Haute Couture

Oh J Law. I just adore you so much. You look like a cloud, and I mean that in a good way. Who knows if it was the dress, or your stunned look when you won, but you’re the only person that could trip up the stairs and still make it look cool. You win.

Jessica Chastain in Armani Prive

From the moment I saw her, I knew she would be one of the best dressed of the night. She said she wanted to look old Hollywood-esque and she absolutely nailed it. This is the best thing I’ve seen her in all season. Perfect Oscar dress.

Reese Witherspoon in Louis Vuitton

This dress is kind of reminiscent of J Law’s from the Globes, but I love this blue color and the black accents at the top and sides. Apparently Reese’s daughter Ava helped pick out the dress, and the only reason that is disconcerting is because Ava is 13 years old. 13!!!!

Stacy Keibler in Naeem Kahn

George Clooney’s girl legit looks like a Greek godess. Life is unfair.

Amy Adams in Oscar de la Renta

Amy looks like a princess in this dress, an older, more mature, Oscar-nominated version of Princess Giselle, if you will. And she looks fantastic.

Honorable mentions: Halle Berry redeeming herself from the Golden Globes disaster in Versace, Sally Field looking stunning in Valentino, and really, the winner of best dressed, and life overall First Lady Michelle Obama in Naeem Kahn.

Flawless First Lady is Flawless.

Molly’s Picks

Jennifer Lawrence in Dior Haute Couture

I hate when people are like, “Jennifer Lawrence is just pretending to be cool, but she’s probably just really fake.” Do you mean that she’s actually unfunny and had someone piping things into her ear in the post-Oscars press conference? Or that she’s secretly ugly when we’re not looking? Traci’s right, she DOES look like a cloud. A beautiful cloud who is on my top 10 list of Celebrities It Would Be Fun To Be Seated Next To On An Airplane.

Jessica Chastain in Giorgio Armani

Good color. Good cut. I might be imagining things but I think she looks happier in this than in the Golden Globes number. And like almost all humans, she really does look better with a side part.

Sandra Bullock in Elie Saab

Almost all of my best dressed picks involve a journey from dislike or confusion to love, and this is no exception. I didn’t notice the semi-sheer effect on the lower part of the skirt at first. Then I noticed and disliked it. Then I thought the effect of floating beadwork at the hem was gorgeous. But tie your hair up, Sandy. Or give me the number of whomever did your keratin treatment.

Kerry Washington in Miu Miu

I still think she looks like Oscars Barbie in this. At first I wasn’t sure about the gold tones in the textured bodice with the coral/pink skirt, but now I am sure. I like it.

Amanda Seyfried in Alexander McQueen

Usually keyhole neckline situations remind me of how skanky ladies dressed up fancy in the early 90s. But this doesn’t read that way. Someone said this was gray but it reads as a really soft lavender with fantastic gold beading. Bonus points for her hair which looks like the perfect messy updo — I think a lot of ladies either overdo the messy or overdo the updo, so that it looks like slept-on prom hair. But not Karen Smith.

Honorable Mentions: Michelle Obama because she is flawless and everything I wish I could be; Quvenzhane Wallis because she’s so stinkin’ cute; Bradley Cooper because his little VEST and his little MOM, oh my goodness.

Worst Dressed

Traci’s Picks

Anne Hathaway in Prada

Nipplegate 2013. It’s a shame, because as soon as I saw her on the red carpet, I was shaking my head knowing this would forever be the dress she won her first Oscar in.

Zoe Saldana in Alexis Mabille Couture

If Zoe was trying to impress her ex Bradley Cooper in this dress, it didn’t work. Plus he was the one nominated for an Oscar. Kbye.

Daryl Hannah

Look who swam up to the shore for the Oscars. Someone get Daryl a dinglehopper, because I don’t think she had time to do her hair on the way from Santa Monica.

Brandi Glanville in BrandB

If you don’t know who this is, good for you. But in case you were wondering, she’s on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, most well known for being Eddie Cibrian’s ex-wife and trash talker of LeAnn Rimes. First off, why are you at the Oscars. SHE DOESN’T EVEN GO HERE. Second, she looks HORRENDOUS in this dress. I mean, her boobs. hello?? (insert Seth’s Boobs song here) And guess who designed it? She did. Also I’m pretty sure she got a fresh injection of botox right before the show.

Kristen Stewart in Reem Acra Haute Couture

Here’s the thing about dressing for the Oscars, or any awards show, or LIFE, really. You have to make sure whatever you’re wearing is the right fit for you, physically and mentally. K Stew just looks so so awkward and uncomfy in this. Given she had a messed up ankle and crutches, but still, you have to work with what you got. She just looks like an imposter.

Molly’s Picks

Anne Hathaway in Prada

I didn’t think about Anne Hathaway’s nipples this much when I was looking at her actual nipples in Brokeback Mountain. Late 90s Gwyneth + Early 2000s prom dress + world’s worst dart placement.

Kristen Stewart in Reem Acra Haute Couture

I don’t understand this because I don’t want to understand it. K Stew doesn’t understand it either, because she is very, very high.

Melissa McCarthy in David Meister Signature

I’m pretty sure this is jersey, which I don’t think lends itself to formalwear. I don’t understand the black thing that comes out near her leg. And it doesn’t seem to drape well, like there’s too much fabric. Just moving the ruching up to her waist would make a world of difference. I feel like I’m looking at a whole lot of jersey material and I’d rather look at Melissa.

Halle Berry in Versace

I am pleased that Halle wore an entire, intact dress, unlike at the Golden Globes. But as I said in the liveblog, this looks like something my grandmother would have worn on her trips to Vegas in the early 90s. I can’t really put my finger on the problem but I think it’s the overly structured shoulders. Like, Oscar gown meets power suit.

Marcia Gay Harden in David Meister

This is too red and the sleeves are too weird. Doesn’t work.

Dishonorable mentions: Jennifer Hudson (I know I’m coming down on the wrong side of history with this one; Jennifer herself looked beautiful but I was not feeling the snakeskin situation), Jennifer Garner (pretty, except the butt ruffle), Amy Adams, maybe (half the time I loved it, half the time I felt like she looked like a feather duster).