Pop My Culture



Michael Showalter interview on Pop My Culture podcast

Michael Showalter (“The State,” “Wet Hot American Summer”) joins Cole and Vanessa to chat about third boobs, cannibal restaurants, Peter Pan live, They Came Together, Sally Field, Taco Party, Guys Can Be Cat Ladies Too, Pringle, Mystery Diagnosis, and the greatest movie about cats ever.

Leave your answer to the firsts question (the first camp experience you ever had) on our website for a chance to win a Wet Hot American Summer DVD or a Stella Season 1 DVD set signed by Michael!

Freshly Popped


Michael Showalter with hosts Cole Stratton and Vanessa Ragland

Stella and Wet Hot American Summer signed by Michael Showalter


  • Comment by Todd Mason — September 29, 2014 @ 12:28 pm

    A day camp in the Boston suburbs (as I resided as a 6yo in the utterly corrupt West Peabody, with no Shermans to assist nor raze to the ground), which was notable for a large muddy pond where I learned to swim after a fashion (less mucky bodies of water were more inviting later on), and where I proved to be the best of my cohort at throwing darts (not enough bar time in the last several decades to keep that up), and where we all enjoyed delicious cans of Sweet’N’Low brand saccharine-laced sodas (I doubt we’ll be able to sue even if the class action can be cobbled together…rather doubt it’s still there).

    Third breast claimant has already been reasonably challenged by Snopes, at very least…http://www.snopes.com/photos/bodymods/jasminetridevil.asp

    Glad you have Showalter on, have enjoyed everything I see from him and the good and great people who consistently work with him. Looking forward to The Woman visiting THE JV CLUB sometime, if I might suggest such a thing…

  • Comment by Dana — September 29, 2014 @ 2:59 pm

    At nine, I went to a Jewish sleep-away camp for two weeks (which, at nine, is an eternity.) My only really vivid memory of it (there are a few fuzzier ones) was getting up at the camp talent show and somehow managing to play piano and sing Shania Twain’s then-hit “You’re Still The One” in front of 200 campers and counselors, and receiving a shockingly positive response. I also recall that someone put a temporary tattoo of a rose on my shoulder, and I felt like a total badass. I don’t think I’ve ever listened to that song since.

    P.S. Anyone who gives Vanessa any shit is, in my opinion, THE WORST.

  • Comment by Daniel — September 30, 2014 @ 8:36 am

    I had done some day camps and even stayed with my parents in a tent at KOA’s during long car trips, but none of that prepared me for my first proper boy scout camping trip, away from home for 5 whole days with no parents and few familiar faces. It was generally a humiliating experience, failing or floundering in every daily activity, be it sawing, shooting, tying knots, etc. Fierce homesickness set in and I cried every night in my shared tent, with a bunkmate who thankfully empathized and did not mock me for being so scared. One night, too scared to go into the dark outhouse shack, I pooped right next to the entrance, which by the next morning had yielded a swarm of flies and the curious attention of the other boys, all rallying against how stupid and disgusting someone would be to do such a thing, and I joined in, damning this unknown pooper for their faux-pas. The week ended with more humiliation, as the climax of our camp experience was a 5 mile night hike to a spot suitable for sleeping under the stars. We were lead out in a long line with our bags strapped to our backs, and my mental and physical exhaustion was palpable. I started panicking about this daunting task, and decided to play up my very real fatigue by letting my body’s weight pull me ever lower until I collapsed. After a quick visit with our camp medic, I slept in my tent alone while all the other boys completed the hike. I lied to everyone about how dire my condition was the next day and that it just couldn’t be helped, thankful that the counselors did not call my bluff and force me to carry on. I left camp the next day under a cloud of failure that followed me throughout my trials of adolescence. I have never reflected fully on these events til now, thanks for the opportunity!

  • Comment by tomas — September 30, 2014 @ 11:46 am

    my first memory from a camp is a dodge-ball like game called medic. basically just dodge-ball but one person is chosen to be the “medic” who can tag people back into the game.i was chosen for this position for no other reason than the fact that everyone liked my Zubaz pants. A strange baggy tiger striped kinda sweatpants things that were popular in the early nineties http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zubaz . that are just terrible but were so dope when i was little. i got hit by a ball before anyone else the first one out. losing the game for my team and everyone hated me for the rest of the day. it was kinda lame but at least i had those sweet pants!

  • Comment by Ryan — September 30, 2014 @ 11:53 am

    My first camp experience was wrestling camp for two weeks between 7th and 8th grade. Before that, I was fairly convinced that traditional camps were not real. I always saw them on TV and movies, but didn’t know anyone that went to a camp like that and thought for sure that they were something that was made up. To this day, I’ve never met anyone that actually went to a camp like that, so I still can’t be completely certain…

  • Comment by Howard — September 30, 2014 @ 2:00 pm

    My first camp experience was watching WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER or STELLA it was defiantly one of those. Thank You.

  • Comment by Jason Z — September 30, 2014 @ 11:22 pm

    I went to Camp Cara near Westcliff, Colorado. My friend Dan had this cassette tape of novelty music from the 1960’s called “Fun Rock” that he played for me on his Sony Walkmen. The first song he played for me was Allen Sherman’s Ode to Summer Camp “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah.” It was such a meta moment, that I am pretty sure at exact moment the term “Meta” was invented.

  • Comment by Patrick Favo — October 1, 2014 @ 12:36 pm

    After my freshman year of college, my buddies and I roadtripped to the Boundary Waters up in Northern Minnesota. I spent the whole trip reading Fitzgerald and A Farewell to Arms, to try to really tap into the wilderness of the location.

  • Comment by Todd Mason — October 2, 2014 @ 7:21 pm

    My vanished (never-posted/computer-eaten?) contribution in response to this question demonstrated my sieve-like memory, in plumping for Vanessa to go be a guest on THE JV CLUB…which she was, and I know I heard it, even if I’m incapable of retaining that fact at times:


  • Comment by Todd Mason — October 2, 2014 @ 7:23 pm

    Ha. And suddenly, at least in my session, that answer post appears–almost like knocking a quarter Into the slot in a vending machine by dropping another on top of it…

  • Comment by Collin — October 7, 2014 @ 12:57 pm

    Has anyone figured out the actual title of the “Footnote” book Michael was discussing? It’s not exactly the easiest word to use to narrow down a book search…

  • Comment by CHOPPER — October 9, 2014 @ 5:28 pm

    Despite being part of Vanessa’s camp experience in Camp Tall Timbers and having an incredibly memorable summer there, my first camp experience is also my one-and-only “shart” story. Sorry in advance.

    It was at music (band) camp in the seventh grade. As you can imagine, a week of camp food can do a number on one’s digestive system. During afternoon band rehearsal, what seemed like ordinary gas turned into something much more. I knew something was up, but decided to ignore it to save face. Only when the cute trombone player behind me asked the room, “who shit their pants?” did I excuse myself to go to the bathroom. (In hindsight, ignoring it did not end up saving face.)

    Once in the bathroom, I decided it was best to just flush the tighty-whities, get in the shower, and put this whole incident behind me. Later that day, my counselor told me that he plunged the clogged toilet and found my underwear in there. He could tell they were mine because my name was written on the elastic. He was a good guy about it and kept it between the two of us, and I am eternally grateful not to have received a nickname based on that event.

    I don’t care if you guys picked a winner or not already – I just had a very vivid memory of this and felt compelled to share.

  • Comment by April — October 14, 2014 @ 3:42 pm

    You probably already picked a winner, but I had to try anyway because Wet Hot American Summer is one of my all time favorite movies:)

    I never went to a proper summer camp like the one in Wet Hot American Summer. But I did have to go to a religious Catholic overnight camp in the Colorado mountains when I was a freshman in high school as part of the confirmation process. We were required to split into small groups and prepare some sort of skit/song/act for the whole camp. I am not a fan of public speaking in any form and I was terrified at the thought of being made to do this.
    The night before this was supposed to happen we had a big spaghetti dinner and that night I lay in bed with a terrible stomach ache. It hurt so bad I went to the communal restrooms and proceeded to stick my head in the toilet and waited for my body to do it’s thing. The vomit never came. I should mention that I normally have a very strong stomach and have probably only puked a handful of times in my life so I didn’t recognize the signs for when it was about to happen. After waiting for what felt like forever I decided to head back into my room full of about 8 other campers all sleeping in bunk beds and climbed back into my bunk. Literally minutes later I felt an intense mouthwatering sensation and I knew something wasn’t right. I was halfway down my bunk ladder when I just vomited the spaghetti dinner all over the room. All of the other campers had to be evacuated from the room and they put me in a quarantine room with a handful of other sick campers.
    The bright side of this story is that I never ended up having to perform the routine with my group in front of all of the other campers. If it weren’t for the other kids who got sick too I would swear my body made it happen to get out of the performance!

  • Comment by Erinbeth — October 29, 2014 @ 9:44 am

    I am echoing Collin’s question…
    Does anyone know the name of the book that Michael was talking about? I have been searching and I can not fins any reference to anything close.

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