The State: Where Are They Now?

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, which premiered on Netflix this past summer, revisited the 2001 film that established Michael Showalter as an awkwardly recognizable leading man and solidified Showalter and co-writer David Wain’s burgeoning behind-the-camera careers. However, many fans’ love for the pair goes back a decade further. Wain and Showalter were part of MTV’s 1990s cult-favorite sketch comedy series, The State, featuring the 11-person comedy troupe of the same name. Less than 30 episodes of The State aired, but it had a lasting impact on its fans who rejoiced when the series was finally released on DVD in 2009. Since the end of The State, the troupe has enjoyed a wide range of individual and collaborative TV and web successes including Reno 911, Stella, Random Play, Wainy Days and Burning Love. In addition, ventures into film (acting and writing) have been plentiful (see The Baxter, The Ten, Night at the Museum, Role Models, Wunderlust, and the new Sally Field film, Hello, My Name is Doris).


But now, twenty years after the end of The State, the stars of the short-lived series have unmistakably swarmed the television landscape. Saturday Night Live might create higher-profile stars, but currently, The State‘s TV presence is nearly unavoidable:


Michael Showalter reprised the role of the gangly lovelorn Coop in Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. He also co-wrote the series (and original film) with David Wain.


David Wain who occasionally still appears on camera has built a stellar creative-side resume as an executive producer of shows like WHAS, Children’s Hospital and Newsreaders.


Thomas Lennon – Widely recognized to TV fans as Lt. Dangle on Reno 911 (and from countless film credits), Lennon now stars as the uptight Felix Unger opposite Matthew Perry’s slovenly Oscar Madison in CBS’s remake of The Odd Couple. Lennon also serves as an executive producer on Comedy Central’s hit late-night internet themed faux-game show, @midnight.


Joe Lo Truglio, who also reprised a role in WHAS (as Neil), has emerged as a consistent scene-stealer as Andy Samberg’s bumbling foodie police partner Charles Boyle on Fox’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine.


Michael Ian Black has appeared in countless films and TV series, and this summer he was busy again as he returned to WHAS as McKinley and co-starred on TV Land’s The Jim Gaffigan Show as Daniel, Jim’s gay real estate agent and nemesis.


Ken Marino – Arguably the busiest of the former State members, Marino returned as Victor in WHAS, plays Dr. Glenn Richie on Children’s Hospital, voices alongside Nick Offerman in Axe Man which has aired on Fox and FXX, and co-headlined last year’s short-lived but underrated NBC series Marry Me. In addition to Marino’s already extensive current resume, fans still hold out hope for a movie version of the revered Starz series Party Down, in which Marino starred in 2009-2010.


Michael Patrick Jann and Robert Ben Garant – These two have spent recent years behind the camera as Jann has directed dozens of TV episodes (including Community, Last Man on Earth and The Goldbergs) and Garant has worked as an executive producer (along with Lennon) on Comedy Central’s @midnight.

The State continues to infiltrate new programming as fast as it can come out: Much to the delight of State fans, most of the cast reunited on an @midnight episode in January 2014. Michael Ian Black, Thomas Lennon and David Wain all recently appeared in Natasha Leggero’s aristocratic satire Comedy Central series, Another Period, which has been renewed for a second season. Plus, in recent weeks, Ken Marino guest starred on CBS’s Life in Pieces and Michael Showalter appeared on Fox’s The Grinder.

TV and web viewers are now recognizing that it is hard to watch any program without encountering The State.