"One time at camp..." What?
January 9, 2009 5:41 PM   Subscribe

"One time at camp..." What joke am I missing?

I'm going to teach at an adult music camp. When people hear this, they say, "One time at camp..." and start chortling. What are they referring to? Is this a line from a movie or what?

I was a 100% urban kid who never went to camp, I didn't know any kids who did, and I haven't watched TV in decades. So pretend you're explaining this to an alien.
posted by PatoPata to Society & Culture (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
American Pie.


She stuck the flute in her vagina.
posted by klangklangston at 5:46 PM on January 9, 2009

Best answer: They are referring to the movie American Pie. There is a girl there who people find sort of dull because she prattles on and on about band camp. At some point one of the main characters is talking to her at a party and she tells a very racy story that indicates she's not the boring sort of band geek that everyone had cut her out to be. They eventually [SPOILERS] get married.
posted by jessamyn at 5:46 PM on January 9, 2009

Probably from American Pie, where Alyson Hannigan's character loves band camp and always says "this one time, at band camp..." and proceeds to describe increasingly outrageous events.

Which in itself is a joke about how kids who love camp talk incessantly about camp when they're not at camp and it makes no sense to kids who don't go to camp.

Real-life former camp kids sometimes find themselves saying "this one time, at [x] camp," and then have to make fun of themselves because they sound just like the character, who sounds kind of pathetic and weird. (Not that I would know anything about that.....)
posted by lampoil at 5:47 PM on January 9, 2009

Except you have to say it like this: "This one time? At band camp?"
posted by ottereroticist at 5:53 PM on January 9, 2009 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Wow, that was quick. Thanks! Good thing I'm not teaching flute.
posted by PatoPata at 5:53 PM on January 9, 2009

"This one time, at band camp..." from American Pie, but Alyson Hannigan is gorgeous, so the long-term joke (about the nerd only referring to this one time, at band camp, this one exciting thing happened) kinda backfired.
posted by goo at 5:57 PM on January 9, 2009

I went to that very band camp referenced in the movie. I mostly remember going out on the catayaks.
posted by Stewriffic at 6:04 PM on January 9, 2009

"This one time at band camp" is in the movie, yeah, but I've heard it pretty much all my life. I always associated it with telling something geeky/funny that happened. I thought it was as common as "_______ walk into a bar..." or whatever, just a common joke intro phrase. Obviously I'm mistaken.
posted by dawson at 6:30 PM on January 9, 2009

This one time, at band camp. [video | 00:24]
posted by ericb at 6:32 PM on January 9, 2009

Or, what jessamyn posted!
posted by ericb at 6:33 PM on January 9, 2009

Ah yes. And I have many stories that start out "This one time, at church camp..."
posted by All.star at 6:43 PM on January 9, 2009

It gets repurposed in a lot of ways I think. It's common to make fun of Burners this way: "This one time, at Burning Man..."
posted by lannanh at 7:10 PM on January 9, 2009

Good thing I'm not teaching flute.

You're teaching the oboe either, hopefully.
posted by CKmtl at 7:17 PM on January 9, 2009

Mod note: few comments removed - please do not turn this into a Alyson Hannigan hot or not thread, thanks
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:19 PM on January 9, 2009

All.star - SAME here...

Good times...
posted by TurquoiseZebra at 9:31 PM on January 9, 2009

Except you have to say it like this: "This one time? At band camp?"

Exactly. Put anything off the wall in between and then sign off the joke with: "...and it was soooooo funny!"

(I'm glad I'm not the only one that constantly does this joke..hah)
posted by samsara at 8:35 AM on January 10, 2009

I know it's been answered, but for what it's worth, the writers were specifically referencing either Interlochen or Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. I actually have "thisonetime... atbandcamp..." stories from when I went to BLFAC and wore the ridiculous uniforms.

And my bestie for life was a camp counselor at BLFAC and trust me, there are plenty of inappropriate things happening in rehearsal rooms.
posted by santojulieta at 6:31 PM on January 10, 2009

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