MTV’s The State, a popular sketch comedy series from the 1990s, is performing at the Festival Supreme in October of this year.
The State was one of the 90s most influential sketch comedy series. It was considered a sharp, funny and underrated show. It starred Michael Ian Black (Run, Fat Boy, Run), Michael Showalter (Wet Hot American Summer), David Wain (Role Models), Robert Ben Garant (RENO 911!), Kerri Kenney-Silver (RENO 911!), Thomas Lennon (I Love You Man), Joe Lo Truglio (Superbad), Ken Marino (Party Down),Michael Patrick Jann (RENO 911!: Miami) Kevin Allison (RENO 911!: Miami), and Todd Holoubek (You Wrote It, You Watch It). Following The State , the stars went on to become some of the most formidable comedic performers and writers of their generation.
They created a generation of great comedy and are now part of some of today’s hit films such as This Is 40, Superbad, RENO 911! Miami and more. Their upcoming performance at the Festival Supreme is sure to please and fans may see some of their favorite sketches such as Inbred Brothers, Pants, $240 Worth of Pudding, The Pope-A’s Visit, and The Jew, The Italian and The Red-Head Gay, to name a few. If you would like to catch this performance head on over to the Music section of MXDWN to get all the Festival Supreme details.
The State started out as a comedy group called New Group in 1988. Prior to MTV, they performed their first skit, Child Linguistics, at NYU DWP Theatre in 1989. This performance was the debut of “I’m Rubber Your Glue.” Their first paying gig was opening for Dennis Miller at NYU in 1990. They continued to do small performances at dorms, bars, colleges, the park, and NYU events.
Ian Black and Wain decided to speak with a MTV Development assistant to pitch a series in 1992. The group was rejected but Wain went on to create segments for a new MTV series being developed, You Wrote It, You Watch It. This piqued the interest of MTV. They group decided to call themselves The State: Full Frontal Comedy. They received a contract from MTV to create segments for 13 episodes of You Wrote It, You Watch It, hosted by Jon Stewart. This show was short lived but gave birth to The State series when the group pitched the concept to MTV and received an order for six episodes.
At first, the show received negative reviews and it took MTV three months before renewing for another six episodes. After ratings slowing increased, the group poked fun at the bad reviews with a promo highlighting these reviews. MTV renewed the series for another 13 episodes following this. The series ran for three seasons before The State informed MTV they would not be returning after the current cycle. Contrary to what many have believed the series was not cancelled by MTV and many still hope for a return. There were negotiations in the works to create a sketch comedy show at CBS. It was to be premiered for the fall of 1996 with the hopes that it could compete with Saturday Night Live.
The State produced a Halloween special, The State’s 43rd All Star Halloween Special, for CBS that received positive reviews from critics including a four-star review from Michele Greppi of the New York Post. Previously Greppi has given The State a horrible review. She stated that MTV “hit new lows” with the series. The Halloween special received very little promotion from CBS and as a result received a low (6.5) share. This prompted then CBS programming chief to cancel the New Year’s special. Wain notes on his site that at the time the CBS programming chief had not seen the show nor read the reviews before cancelling the New Years special.
Following the series the group created a comedy record titled Comedy for The Gracious, performed at MTV’s Spring Break in 96, wrote a book titled State by State with The State: An Uninformed, Poorly Researched Guide to the United States and performed a full length live show at the Big Stinkin’ International Improv Festival in Austin, Texas. In 1999, Kerri, Tom, Showalter and David performed as part of a tribute to John Winters at the Kennedy Center. The following year the group reunited once more to perform at the New York Comedy Film Festival.
It was not until 2007 that the group would come together again. They reunited on screen for the films RENO 911! Miami and The Ten. The first time all members of The State performed live since 2000 was March 15, 2008 at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. In 2009, the group performed once again at the San Francisco Sketchfest.
The cast has since been part of some hit shows and movies. A majority of the cast went on to star or guest star in Comedy Central’s RENO 911! Some other TV series and web series that the members of The State have been in include Viva Variety (1997), Stella (2005), Wainy Days (2007), The Michael Showalter Showalter (2007), Horrible People (2008), Little Britain USA (2008), Hot Sluts (2009), Risk (2009), Michael & Michael Have Issues (2009), Childrens Hospital (2010), Burning Love (2012), You’re Whole (2012), Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Topics (2013) and more.
Films that the members of The State have been a part of include Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999), Wet Hot American Summer (2001), Taxi (2004), Herbie Fully Loaded (2005), The Pacifier (2005), The Baxter (2005), Night At The Museum (2006), Diggers (2006), Let’s Go to Prison (2006) , The Ten (2007), Wedding Daze (2007), Balls of Fury (2007), Run, Fatboy, Run (2007), Reno 911!: Miami (2007), Role Models (2008), Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009), Wanderlust (2012), Hell Baby (2013), Jessabelle (2014) and They Came Together (2014). They Came Together was directed and co-written by David Wain and is set for release on June 27, 2014. Jessabelle is written by Robert Ben Garant and is set to be released on August 29, 2014.
On January 28, 2014, the Huffington Post reported that there was a small reunion when Michael Showalter, Kerri Kenney-Silver and Michael Ian Black appeared on Comedy Central’s @Midnight. Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant executive produce @Midnight and made an appearance along with Joe Lo Truglio, David Wain, Michael Jann and someone who wants to “dip his balls in it.”
The Festival Supreme takes place in October and all the information you need can be found here.