In Last Meal, The A.V. Club asks writers, performers, and various other entertainment professionals to imagine that they’re headed to an isolated jail next week. Rather than encourage them to spend time with their family or enjoy the outdoors, we ask them to pick the five to 10 pieces of pop culture they’ll enjoy before they’re condemned to a life on the inside.
For the inaugural Last Meal, The A.V. Club talked to someone who’s produced a ton of media that would make our respective pop culture bucket lists. An original member of The State and Stella, David Wain now makes most of his living writing and directing various hilarious projects, from 2008’s Role Models and 2001’s Wet Hot American Summer to Adult Swim’s Childrens Hospital. His latest work is They Came Together, a deliberately absurd rom-com that stars Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd, and was directed and co-written by Wain. Because he’s handy with a pen (or a keyboard), we opted to have him write his own Last Meal, provided he threw in what his actual and/or edible death row last meal would be.
David Wain: I would pick a list of things that affected me in a permanent way in my earlier life, for comfort and closure before heading off to the can.
All of the Peter Sellers Pink Panther movies
Even the weird, boring, plotty scenes that he’s not in that aren’t even supposed to be funny. I laughed so hard my stomach hurt just thinking about these scenes after the fact.
Woody Allen’s Sleeper (1973)
One of the first movies I saw when I was maybe 3. I thought it was a very scary nightmarish vision of the future—nothing funny in the least. Only when I was older did I realize it’s one of the silliest comedies ever made.
Steve Martin’s Let’s Get Small LP (1977)
Every word of this record seeped into my bones from listening on a loop when I was 8 years old.
Marlo And The Magic Movie Machine (1977)
A ’70s children’s TV show about a guy who worked in an underground basement and had a robot machine he talked to and showed movie clips on—it was so cool.
Dark Castle (1986)
One of the first computer games (of many) that I was addicted to in the late ’80s. You control a guy who climbs, grunts, jumps, throws rocks, and passes out. The voice sound effects of him losing his balance—“whoa whoa”—or throwing a rock—“yeah!”—bring me great nostalgic comfort.
Twin Peaks, “Lonely Souls” and “Arbitrary Law” (1990-91)
My two favorite episodes, especially the sequence when Dale is at the roadhouse and the giant replaces Julee Cruise in is vision—“It is happening… again…” and when the ring drops onto the floor. Oh my God.
Dire Straits, “Telegraph Road” (1982)
It’s over 14 minutes long, and I can’t listen to it without both crying and sweating.
And for my last meal I would go for a clambake kind of thing: steamers, lobster, corn on the cob. With a plastic bib.