One of the undisputed heavyweights of televised sketch comedy, right up there with greats like Mr. Show with Bob and David, Monty Python's Flying Circus, and The Kids in the Hall, is The State, which broadcast on MTV for 4 seasons totaling 28 episodes from 1993 - 1995. (And then a failed attempt to move the show to CBS.) The collective known as The State consisted of Kevin Allison, Michael Ian Black, Robert Ben Garant, Todd Holoubek, Michael Patrick Jann, Kerri Kenney-Silver, Thomas Lennon, Joe Lo Truglio, Ken Marino, Michael Showalter, and David Wain. They created, wrote, acted, directed, and edited the show and delivered audiences a cornucopia of memorable recurring characters, catchphrases, and truly over the top sketches. I honestly haven't watched the show in probably 16 or 17 years, but in hindsight my memory recalls it as being very loud, very fast-paced, and utterly brilliant.
There's no time like the present to get reacquainted with the show as a brand new oral history of The State called The Union of the State is hitting shelves on May 3 (cover art below). Culled together by author Corey Stulce, The Union of the State is an oral history of the acclaimed troupe’s creation, dissolution, reinvention and reunion, told by all members of the group. It traces their history back to their time as classmates at NYU in the 1980s and goes beyond the State TV show to discuss subsequent projects like Reno 911!, Wet Hot American Summer, Stella, and more. In addition to the core creators of the show, the book features commentary from a ton of State collaborators such as Paul Rudd, Chris Meloni, Janeane Garofalo, Klaus-favorite A.D. Miles, Rob Corddry, and Keegan-Michael Key. Cover art is below.
To celebrate the release of the book, launch parties have been scheduled for New York City and Los Angeles. The New York City launch will take place at The Bell House on Friday May 20 and is being billed as RISK! (The State Book Release Show). Tickets are currently on sale. RISK! is a wildly popular live show and podcast hosted by State-alum Kevin Allison. This particular installment will feature author Corey Stulce, State-alum Kerri Kenney-Silver, Janeane Garofalo, Seth Herzog and "some of their famous friends TBD." You can buy the book with your ticket, or just the ticket. Either way, if you have the book, you can get it signed by attending members of the state as well as author Corey Stulce.