David Wain made a career out of operating on both sides of the comedy spectrum, switching from intelligent absurdity to mainstream films with heart. With an impressive list of both feature films such as "Role Models" (2008) and alternative comedy series like "Stella" (2005), he managed to infuse his singular style into all of his creative output. As a writer, director, actor and comedian, Wain permanently earned his cult status in the annals of comedy history with the short-lived but beloved sketch show, "The State" (MTV, 1993-95). Although the show only lasted for three seasons, it was hugely influential and successfully launched the careers of its cast-members, including Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black, Ken Marino, Thomas Lennon and Kerry Kinney. Named after the 11-person comedy troupe of the same name, the show was in the same vein of earlier progressive comedy shows like "Monty Python's Flying Circus" (BBC 1969-74), featuring fast-paced irreverent sketches that lampooned popular culture and featured a large array of characters and self-referential routines. While it was not an immediate success, the show became a genuine cult sensation name-checked by comedy nerds and critics alike. Wain's ongoing success with films like "Wet Hot American Summer" (2001) made him a major figure on the 21st century comedy scene.
Wain was born on Aug. 1,1969 in the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights, OH. At the age of 10, he was given a simple camcorder by his father and started making home videos documenting his friends and surroundings of Shaker Heights. After graduating from high school, he moved to New York to attend New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in 1987, and it was there that he met the other future members of "The State" comedy troupe. As buzz built around the group, Wain and fellow member Michael Ian Black pitched an idea for a new show to MTV, but the idea was rejected. The network was still interested in working with the troupe though, so Wain and company appeared in a show-lived variety series called "You Wrote It, You Watch It" (MTV, 1992-93), hosted by a pre-"The Daily Show" Jon Stewart. This was followed by "The State" (MTV 1993-95), on which the troupe served as their own writers, producers and directors as well as starring in the sketches, which provided Wain with crucial behind the scenes experience. After three seasons on MTV, The State moved to CBS to create a series of prime-time comedy specials. However, after "The State's 43rd Annual All-Star Halloween Special" debuted to dismal ratings and poor reviews, the group split up.
Wain took the opportunity to form a comedy trio called Stella with fellow State alums Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter. Originally a weekly improv show, the trio filmed a series of web shorts between 1998 and 2002, which led to the absurdist series "Stella" (Comedy Central, 2005). Also during this period, Wain made his feature directing debut with "Wet Hot American Summer" (2001). A deadpan parody of '80s teen sex comedies scripted by Wain and Showalter, the film did little business upon release, but its cast of rising comedy stars included Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Elizabeth Banks and Molly Shannon along with several State alumni. Therefore, the film quickly found a cult audience and became a major cult favorite of the early 21st century comedy scene.
Wain's second directorial feature, "The Ten" (2007) was a Biblical parody that found less success, but "Role Models" (2008), a knockabout comedy starring Rudd and Seann William Scott, became Wain's first mainstream hit. At the same time, Wain co-created the surreal comedy "Childrens Hospital" (Adult Swim 2008- ) with Rob Corddry and Jonathan Stern, and wrote, directed and starred in the web series "Wainy Days" (2007-2011). Wain's third film, "Wanderlust" (2012), starred Rudd and Jennifer Aniston as a married couple encountering a laidback cult. This was followed by a pointed satire of romantic comedy clichés, "They Came Together" (2014) that starred Rudd and Poehler. After years of rumors, the cast and crew of "Wet Hot American Summer" regrouped for the eight-episode series "Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp" (Netflix, 2015), which also brought in newer comedy heroes such as Kristen Wiig, Jordan Peele, and Jon Hamm.
Director (Feature Film)
Cast (Feature Film)
Writer (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Music (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Special Thanks (Special)
Misc. Crew (Special)
Made TV debut when The State appeared on MTV's "You Wrote It, You Watch It," hosted by Jon Stewart
Co-wrote and starred in the final project of The State, the CBS special "The State's 43rd Annual All-Star Halloween Special"
Formed comedy troupe Stella with fellow State alums Michael Showalter and Michael Ian Black
Wrote and directed religious satire "The Ten"
Created, directed and wrote the web series "Wainy Days"
Wrote and directed "Wanderlust," starring Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston
Co-created Adult Swim comedy "News Readers" with Rob Corddry and Jonathan Stern
Directed romantic comedy satire "They Came Together," co-written with Michael Showalter and starring Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler