Alt-comedy fans got their first taste of Camp Firewood so long ago that it was the Stone Age. No, but seriously, it wasn’t the Stone Age—it was the Ice Age! No, really, it was the Stone Age. Or actually, it was 2001, when Wet Hot American Summer barely got a theatrical release ahead of gradually becoming a cult hit on DVD and VHS. Going into the release of Netflix’s original series Wet Hot American Summer: First Day Of Camp, Variety has an oral history of the Wet Hot world from 2001 to the present.
Drawing from interviews with many of the behind-the-scenes and on-camera figures from both the original movie and the new series (largely the same people, save for the Netflix executives exclusive to First Day Of Camp), Variety chronicles Wet Hot‘s unlikely path to comedy classic and Netflix series. The full thing includes details like info about the alternate cast that staged a live reading of the movie at 2012’s San Francisco Sketchfest, a miserably failed writers’ room prank as the new series kicked off, and the challenges of wrangling together a cast filled with people who became some of the biggest names in Hollywood between 2001 and 2015, all in a facsimile of the original Camp Firewood recreated at The Biggest Loser Ranch, of all places.