All Articles
All Articles

The State Complete Series: Interview with David Wain


The State Complete Series: Interview with David Wain

by Doug Black
on 09 July 2009

Over 15 years since debuting as MTV's first foray into sketch comedy, "The State: The Complete Series" is finally a reality. After more than a decade of starts and stalls, the cult-classic will be available 14 July 2009 as a five-disc DVD set, complete with full cast commentary, un-aired sketches, outtakes and interviews. The often witty, occasionally absurdist, always irreverent show had a brief, storied run on MTV before the 11 members went on to create and star shows like "Reno 911!," "Viva Variety" and "Stella," to name a few.

We had a chance to speak with founding member David Wain, whose numerous credits include writing and directing "Role Models," "The Ten" and "Wet Hot American Summer." We talked about the impending DVD, its long wait and upcoming projects with him and the rest of the gang.

David Wain: Hi, this is David Wain

Cool Hunting: How are you?
I'm good. [Muffled] I'm eating a piece of sushi. I'm almost done with it too, so we can begin.

So the State DVD is finally coming out after a notoriously long wait. Is it strange to revisit this material after 15 years?
It's kind of cool. Like going back through your old high school photos, but in this case they're sketches. It's great because all of us in the group are still friends and we still work together.

The new DVD comes with an insert explaining how you couldn't license some of the original songs, so there was an involved process of changing them. Is that what took so long?
No, that had nothing to do with it. The licensing of the songs took two months. The rest of the 10 years was just the classic sort of bureaucratic bullshit. One group came in charge of MTV Home Video and we got started with the project. Then they shipped it to corporate entities, and the other one comes in and says "What is this? Why would we want to do this? Who would want to watch this on DVD?" Then its goes under [and] stops for six months. It's not an interesting answer, just classic red tape.

Would you work with them again?
These corporations are so gigantic, one department has nothing to do with another. To say I wouldn't work for Viacom [MTV's parent company] again is to say that I wouldn't work for one-third of the entertainment industry. wainreading.JPG

Did you and the rest of the group have an active hand in the song licensing process and with any changes that were made?
Very much so, they were great about that. They let all of us be very hands-on with everything about making the DVD. So we were very involved in all the mastering, the music stuff, doing the commentary, choosing the extras and everything.

Was there any music that you couldn't license that was particularly hard to part with?
There definitely was. Probably the most heartbreaking was "Cannonball" [the Breeders' 1993 single, which accompanies the infamous "Pants" sketch]. That was an example of one of the sketches that was built around a song. I directed that piece and edited it, and when we were in the edit room, I found that song and thought, "Let me just create this piece around that stock piece of music." So it is a shame, I'm not going to lie. However, I will say that we really did work hard to find replacement music where we had to that worked and really maintained the rhythm and humor of the sketches. And I think we did a decent job with it. People who have seen the DVD who didn't know the original music have commented to me about how good the music is.

Read the rest of the interview after the jump.

The CH25 is a showcase of creators and innovators from a broad range of disciplines who are currently working to drive the world forward.

Douglas Riboud + Justin Guilbert

How a mission to create great coconut water led to a whole new way of doing business

Read More
We’ve made a conscious decision to be as transparent and honest as we can, and let people decide for themselves

Tal Danino

The bioengineer who’s programming DNA to fight cancer

Read More
[Manipulating genes] is very new, people are just learning how to program these organisms

Cynthia Breazeal

How an emotional, empathetic robot named Jibo stands to revolutionize communication

Read More
The thing that's so provocative about social robots is that it's fundamentally a community technology

Kegan Schouwenburg

Revolutionizing orthotics through 3D-printed insoles

Read More
What orthotics do is they effectively change the geometry of what your alignment is like

Sabine Seymour

A future where smart clothes are as ubiquitous as zippers

Read More
In the future you will not buy a piece of 'functional' clothing without SoftSpot

Leopoldine Huyghues Despointes

The young filmmaker and non-profit founder who just wants people to follow their dreams

Read More
I feel confident and ready to accomplish so much more, the movement is on

Kathleen Supové

The NYC performance artist who’s radically reinventing the piano recital

Read More
I like pieces that are virtuosic, that show off the piano and what it can do, and are awe-inspiring

Melissa Kushner

Addressing the needs of orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi through microenterprise

Read More
Poverty is complicated, there is an increasing temptation and pressure in the development space to oversimplify things

Eelke Plasmeijer

The locally driven restaurant that’s upending Balinese food culture

Read More
We really try to keep things simple and let the produce do the talking

LaToya Ruby Frazier

Documenting the slow, troubling change in Braddock, Pennsylvania

Read More
I am not a journalist, I am a conceptual documentary artist using my visual expression for building narratives that are unseen and unheard

Roxie Darling

From un-shampoo to transgender identity, the NYC colorist boldly defining the next chapter of hair

Read More
Hair color is as much a science as it is a craft

Lulu Mickelson

A civic leader bringing change to NYC through design

Read More
Human-centered design is one of the many tools that we can use to better engage the public

Alex Kalman

The tiny museum in Manhattan that’s redefining museums

Read More
The mission is to put this small simple and powerful tool into the hands of as many people as possible

Meredith Perry

How searching the Internet helped a 22-year-old invent wireless electricity

Read More
It’s not about where the information is, it’s about how you use the tools

Vanessa Newman

Redesigning pregnancy for the post-gender generation with Butchbaby & Co.

Read More
I want my customers to feel comfortable and unchanged, in that becoming pregnant didn't take away from or compromise their identity

Dan Barasch + James Ramsey

A quest to make the future brighter—underground

Read More
We both share a passion for groundbreaking technology and a shared love of New York

George Arriola and Monohm

An heirloom electronic for the post-smartphone era

Read More
We agonized during the design process as all hyper-obsessed craftspeople should

Matt Kenyon

Fusing art and technology to disrupt concepts of corporate America

Read More
I want the work to live in the world and circulate, so it can generate more dialogue

Sarah Kunst

The entrepreneur single-handedly changing the landscape for women in tech

Read More
People who live on a planet that is half women but can never seem to find any when they need one, I have solved your problem

Jonathan Sparks

Reinventing electronic music by inventing multi-disciplinary instruments

Read More
Recorded music is becoming so cheap, so the value of music is now in live performance

Corinne Joachim Sanon

The chocolatier bringing social change to Haiti and bean-to-bar chocolate to the world

Read More
Seeing the poverty surrounding me and the lack of jobs and opportunity bothered me

Pauline van Dongen

The Dutch designer blazing the wearable technology path

Read More
I’m fascinated by concepts of change, movement, energy and perception; since they are closely related to the way we experience the world

Tarren Wolfe

The next-generation appliance making kitchens greener—literally

Read More
Our goal is to provide food for everyone in the world, and the best place to start is in our very own community

Marcus Weller

Using technology to turn motorcycle helmet design on its head

Read More
I was taken aback both by the number of people that doubted it, and by the equally large number of people that got behind it

Joshua Harker

Pushing the boundaries of sculpture with intricate 3D printing

Read More
My intent was to explore and depict the architecture of the imagination, to interpret and share forms evident in the mind’s eye
Loading More...