[WATCH] ‘Wet Hot American Summer’: Creator David Wain & composer Craig Wedren embrace ‘overblown and ridiculous’

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp” creator David Wain and composer Craig Wedren recently sat down for a Q&A and celebration of the show’s music with Emmy voters. Gold Derby was on hand to moderate the event, which took place at UCB’s Sunset Theater.

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This Netflix comedy series is a prequel to Wain’s 2001 cult film, which was set on the last day of summer camp in 1981. Both the film and the TV show follow the misadventures of the Camp Firewood counselors and campers. Wain co-created both with Michael Showalter, who reprises his role from the film as camp counselor Coop. Also returning are Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Janeane Garofalo, Michael Ian Black, Elizabeth Banks, Christopher Meloni, Molly Shannon and David Hyde Pierce.

“For me, personally, there was a huge fear of screwing it up,” Wain admits. “Knowing that people cared about it a lot, that it had gone out of our hands and into fan’s hands, I just wanted to thread that needle of doing something that was new and for now, but also honoring what it was.”

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“The idea was to explode something that was already completely overblown and ridiculous,” adds Wedren, “and just somehow do more and more and more of what the movie did.” The score, he explains, “is in five different genres. With all of these styles, there are tropes and you can very easily check the boxes, but because people have a relationship to the music in the original movie it was so important for it to be heartfelt.”

The director and composer are childhood friends who have worked together frequently throughout their careers. “We just kept growing and learning things together,” says Wain of their partnership. “It was always both trying to push ourselves each time.”

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Wedren is in Emmy contention for scoring the episode “Electro/City,” for which he composed an original musical that the campers perform. He also competes with the song “I Am a Wolf, You Are the Moon,” one of 35 period-specific tunes he wrote for the show. “It had to be something everybody would have known in 1981,” explains the tunesmith of the track, which is sung by Rudd during a camp counselor party. Wedren and his band performed that song and various others following the Q&A.

Wain is a two-time Emmy winner for Best Special Class Short-Format Program for “Childrens Hospital” (2012-2013). He competes for Best Comedy Series as a producer of “Wet Hot American Summer” and Best Comedy Directing for the “Electro/City” episode.

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