Credit: Saeed Adyani/Netflix

Put a hotshot grin on your face and don’t let anybody shoot it off: Wet Hot American Summer is returning for more sweaty, surreal laughs by the lake on July 31.

Netflix’s eight-episode prequel Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp — which reveals how that summer of ’81 began — reunites the entire adult cast from the 2001 film Wet Hot American Summer. (That includes but is not limited to: Bradley Cooper, Amy Poehler, Elizabeth Banks, Paul Rudd, Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, and Christopher Meloni.) And that already impressive cast has gotten even more synonym for the word impressive: The show’s creators, Michael Showalter and David Wain, have stocked Camp Firewood with a busload of newcomers (Jon Hamm! Kristen Wiig! Josh Charles! Jason Schwartzman! Other people who deserve exclamation points!).

What can you expect from faces both fresh and familiar? To get a sense of the action, EW asked Wain and Showalter to offer up teases for 40 characters. (A few more are being kept secret). Scroll down for your camp orientation.


Beth (Janeane Garofalo), camp director who wears the pants, maybe a little too often.

“Beth is the den mother and co-head counselor of the camp, and we will see the truly treacherous events by which she will race up the ranks.”

Ben (Bradley Cooper), lover of the theatre and McKinley

“1981 is a true turning point and a true summer of discovery for young Ben.”

Susie (Amy Poehler), already on Broadway in her mind

“Susie did not expect that her entire world would crash down around her within the confines of the very first day of summer camp, but it does. And she survives.”

McKinley (Michael Ian Black), shows Ben the meaning of love in a shed

“McKinley has known he’s different than most of his friends for awhile. Now he’s going to learn with whom he can be different.”

Coop (Michael Showalter), nice guy with a mean crush on Katie

“Coop has waited 10 months for this day to reunite with his new girlfriend. But where is she?”

Andy (Paul Rudd), terrible boyfriend, even worse lifeguard

“Andy rides in on his hog for another hot summer of making out with the hottest chick he can find. He reveals an unexpected musical side in his quest for frenching.”

Lindsay (Elizabeth Banks), Andy’s temporary makeout partner, BBQ-sauce wearing crusader for the proper pronunciation of ‘journal’

“You might think of Lindsay as the standard-issue camp slut, but there’s a lot more to her backstory than we all realized.”

Katie (Marguerite Moreau), Andy’s hot-n-sweet girlfriend who is tempted by Coop, Beth’s stylist

“Katie is maintaining a long-distance relationship with a boy all the way across the pond — literally, across the pond at the other camp.”

Gail (Molly Shannon), so unlucky in love, she takes advice from small children

“Gail is a hopeless-romantic arts and crafts counselor who is always trying to make it work with who she thinks is the love of her life — and she is engaged to and will be marrying the sweet and loving camp chef.”

Gene (Christopher Meloni), so , he takes advice from a talking can of vegetables

“Gene the chef is definitely tweaked, and we’re going to learn a lot more how and why. And it has to do, at least in part, with the ‘Nam.

Gary (A.D. Miles), Gene’s culinary underling, a.k.a. Mr. Kick Ass, a.k.a. Mr. Rubber Burner

“Gary is the chef’s assistant but his loyalties are tested and he must decide whether to honor his job description or honor what he knows is right.”

Henry (David Hyde Pierce), astrophysics professor who wants to be in Beth’s orbit

“Associate professor Henry Newman is struggling to be more than ‘less than.’ And if he doesn’t publish this time, he just might perish.”

Victor (Ken Marino), lothario-wannabe and secret virgin

“Tonight might just be Victor’s big night to go around the bases and hit the home run. Fingers crossed he does it.”

Neil (Joe Lo Truglio), Victor’s hype man and chase scene adversary

“Nothing in life could possibly terrify Neil more than to think that his best buddy Victor is anything less than the stallion he claims to be.”

JJ (Zak Orth), Gary’s buddy, with an interest in McKinley’s love life, lurks behind trees

“JJ is a constant. He’s just JJ.”

Abby (Marisa Ryan), counselor who chews up gum, men

“Abby likes to make out and flirt. Today, we see how that all started. For a lot of teenagers, summer camp is where you grow up fast. Abby is no exception.”

Nancy (Nina Hellman), astrophysicist book locator, proponent of lube

“Nancy is sort of the brassy cigarette-smoking camp nurse who befriends Lindsay and their friendship is challenged.”

Steve (Kevin Sussman), a not-quite-human possible force of nature

“Steve is the camp nerd who is convinced he is an alien or a robot. Perhaps this proves useful?”

Ronald (Judas Friedlander), Gail’s woulda coulda shoulda ex

Ronald von Kleinenstein is a high-ranking member of Ronald Reagan’s cabinet.

Arty (originally played by Liam Norton, now played by George Dalton), unplugged kiddie DJ, opponent of showers

“Arty is back on the airwaves, spinning the stacks of wax once again, hitting play on the cassettes and spinning the discs. All day and all night, rocking and rolling. And definitely not washing.”


Greg (Jason Schwartzman)

“He’s the boys head counselor and he helps Beth uncover a major conspiracy.”

Mitch (H. Jon Benjamin)

“We learn in the first episode that Mitch, the camp director, owes money to a large corporation called Zenstar.”

The Falcon (Jon Hamm)

“He plays a top-level government assassin. His mission is to kill.”

Blake (Josh Charles)

“He is the head of the evil, preppy Camp Tigerclaw guys. His girlfriend from home is Katie (Marguerite Moreau), and he is very suspicious of her activities over at Camp Firewood.”

Courtney (Kristen Wiig)

“She’s one of the snobby campers at Camp Tigerclaw across the lake. She is a bit of femme fatale.”

Graham (Rich Sommer)

“He is one of Blake’s henchmen. He’s just a yes man.”

Warner (Eric Nennenger)

“Blake has his two lackeys — [Graham and Warner] — and the three of them form this gang from Camp Tigerclaw that wants to see Camp Firewood fail.”

Claude Dumet (John Slattery)

“He plays the visiting Broadway director who’s come to camp to direct a musical so he works with Susie and Ben, and a little love triangle seems to be created there.”

Rhonda (Michaela Watkins)

“She is [Claude’s] choreographer. She’s a tough-talking New York broad.”

Eric (Chris Pine)

There’s a mythological former camper named Eric who may or may not be living in a cabin like a hermit.”

Yaron (Wain)

“He is an Israeli soccer counselor and he is Coop’s rival for his love interest, Donna.”

Donna (Lake Bell)

“She is the girl that coop hooked up with at the end of the summer before, and he’s been waiting all year to see her again.”

Jeff (Randall Park)

“Jeff is a good-natured, perhaps naive, City Hall clerk whose love of a certain counselor is rivaled only by his love of microfiche.”

Jim Stansel (Michael Cera)

“He is a young lawyer with a drinking problem but a heart of gold.”

Kevin (David Bloom)

“He’s a little bit like Coop. It’s his first summer at camp and he’s a little bit homesick and feeling like he’s not going to fit in. But he’s befriended by Coop, who tells him that when he was first at camp he didn’t have any friends either, but it’s eight years later, and his friends from camp are his best friends in the world.”

Alan (Jordan Peele)

“Jordan plays a no-nonsense magazine editor.”

Dean Fairchild (Richard Schiff)

“He is the dean who Henry is trying to impress in order to get tenure.”

Brodard (Rob Huebel)

“He’s a colleague of Henry, who is a rival academic vying for tenure.”

Jackie Brazen (Weird Al Yankovic)

“He’s a hypnotist who does a traveling show at all the camps where he hypnotizes everybody and makes them do the funky chicken and the moonwalk.”

President Reagan (Showalter)

“He’s the most powerful man in the world. He is charming but has a mean streak but in the end reveals his softer nature.”

Wet Hot American Summer
  • Movie
  • 97 minutes