Film.com Staff July 15, 2009
Editor’s Note: This column comes to us courtesy of Kevin Allison and LillyLikes.com.
Today is a landmark for me. The State on MTV, the TV show I started working on when I was 23 has finally been released on DVD. I’m now 39. If you’ve never seen the show, I dare say it really is a treat.
The 11 members of The State met when we were freshmen at NYU in 1988. We formed a sketch comedy group and, despite the fact that we were all film or acting majors at the famous NYU Tisch School of the Arts, we started ignoring our classes and focusing solely on making the most of our comedy. We were brimming with inspiration and wildly confident in the chemistry of our group.
What’s so great about The State (we deliberately chose an utterly ambiguous name) is that we had no comedy training. No improv schooling, no sketch writing classes. We went off our instincts, our childhood memories of The Muppet Show and Monty Python, our love of laughing together and a hyper-driven need to one-up each other. During the eight years we were together (ten guys and one girl) we became family. We still work together all the time on projects like Reno 911!, Michael and Michael Have Issues, The Ten, Wet Hot American Summer, and much more.
We weren’t just talented and inspired, we were damn lucky. Almost immediately after graduating, we found ourselves on a show with Jon Stewart and various other comedians. That show crashed and burned, but MTV decided to give Jon his own show and The State our own show. The 24 original episodes of The State on MTV, plus interviews, outtakes, a ton of unaired sketches, special appearances the group made on shows like Spring Break and The Jon Stewart Show and promos are all included on the new DVD set.
I am perhaps best known for a handful of sketches. There’s “Taco Man,” where I play a mailman who just doesn’t have the same passion for delivering mail as he does for making and distributing tacos and in peoples’ mailboxes.
There’s “The Jew, the Italian and the Redhead Gay,” a sketch that David Wain, Ken Marino, and I wrote one day when we asked the question, “What’s a sketch that only the three of us could star in?” And there’s “Dreamboy,” a sketch where Kerri Kenney-Silver (now best known for playing Deputy Trudy Wiegel on Reno 911!) falls head over heels in love with me despite the fact that I talk crap about her to a hand puppet.
I hope you give the new DVD set a look. It’s getting rave reviews left and right. The State is an extremely rare example of what happens when you let a group of friends handle the writing, acting, directing, editing, and scoring of their own TV show. It did not last nearly long enough (we quit MTV thinking we could make it on ABC or CBS) but it made quite an impression on a lot of people in the early 90s. And now it’s all neatly preserved in one place for all to see. Especially casting directors on the lookout for redheads.
Categories: DVDTags: Dvd, Kevin allison, The state