If you’re a regular reader of the website, there’s at least a somewhat good chance you both know and love The State. And if you’re somehow unaware of the seminal sketch comedy troupe that had a groundbreaking comedy series from 1993 to 1995, you’re almost certainly a fan of at least some of its members’ various post-State work (including things like Reno 911!, Stella, Wet Hot American Summer, Childrens Hospital, They Came Together, Role Models, and countless other great films and television programs). What you might not know, however, is The State put out a travel book.
Yes, in 1997—not long after the group’s MTV series was canceled and a few years before any of the other things mentioned in the previous paragraph came to be—The State wrote a book called State By State With The State. The book, published by Hypherion, was presented as “an uninformed, poorly researched guide to the United States.” As expected, it’s strange, subversive, and funny. It’s also currently out of print and pretty difficult to find at this point. Thankfully, a friend was kind enough to give us a first edition copy of this book a few years ago.
Since it’s Spirit Of Summer Week here at Milwaukee Record, we figured we’d pass the kindness onto you, by sharing some excerpts of the Wisconsin chapter of State By State With The State. Even though cast member Todd Holobek was actually born in Ixonia, Wisconsin, we found a few inaccuracies in the text. It still delivers, though. Check out some blurbs from long out of print book below, then rewatch The State because it still rules.
• “At 1.8 billion registered citizens, Wisconsin has the highest population of any bordered state, country, or province, second only to China.”
• “Having disproportionately large pectoral muscles is considered a felony in Wisconsin.”
• “Wisconsin means one thing if you’re a tourist: Elvis Presley. Wisconsin is the proud birth state of the ‘King.’ Millions of people from all over the world flock to Wisconsin to visit such sites as Graceland (Elvis’s mansion), Sun Studios (where all of Elvis’s early 45s were recorded), and his birthplace—the working-class town of Tupelo.
• “Wisconsin has many wonderful attractions! It’s also our country’s capital! Visit the White House, the Air and Space Museum, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Lincoln Memorial.”
• “Wisconsin is renowned for its Cajun music and hot jazz and blues clubs that line Bourbon Street. Venture into Wisconsin’s French Quarter and catch Buckwheat Zydeco or the Neville Brothers playing a set at Tipitina’s.”
• “Why not go to Aspen, Wisconsin, and ski with the stars? If that’s not enough, then … tip a cow! You’re a loser if that’s not enough.”