Corey Stulce will self-publish through Amazon and BN.com his compilation of interviews with eleven members Kevin Allison, Michael Ian Black, Ben Garant, Todd Holoubek, Michael Patrick Jann, Kerri Kenney, Thomas Lennon, Joe Lo Truglio, Ken Marino, Michael Showalter and David Wain.
The group’s influential MTV series ran from 1993 to 1995. Members went on to spearhead projects including Wet Hot American Summer, Reno 911! and Stella.
Additional sources include Paul Rudd, A.D. Miles and Rob Corddry. The Union of The State also features original photos and illustrations, plus an introduction by Key & Peele co-creator Keegan-Michael Key, exclusively reprinted with permission below.
The Union of The State Foreword
I have to tip my cap to The State because when I was in graduate school, they were what I watched. They were the thing. I insisted on having a steady diet of these comedians. There was something that they were doing that was really resonating with me.
I never had cable. I was in my mid-20s. I started watching MTV, and it was the first time I saw sketch. I think about the monster under the bed. Kerri goes under the bed, and she’s canoodling with the monster. Kevin is on top of the bed, and he’s terrified and confused. “Wait a minute,” my ears pricked, “What is this?” And that was the cold open. I was hooked just like that.
The State was one of the shows that we were thinking about when Jordan and I talked over what we wanted the tone of our show to feel like. I think some of the sillier, absurd stuff comes from The State. Like Barry and Levon putting their butts in pudding: It’s clear that this made Michael and Tom laugh. So they just did it.
The State generated this new comedy mafia, in a manner of speaking. You might see somebody of another period who is trained or now teaches at the UCB that is also in Wet Hot American Summer.
There were some sketches that were so niche, they were literally just for an MTV audience, and then other sketches were patently absurd, and other sketches were very scatological and low-brow.
I love that they ran the gamut, and they weren’t afraid to run the gamut.