Legendary comedy director Paul Feig wants you to come to his cocktail party
The Bridesmaids and Freaks and Geeks director is hosting daily Instagram parties — for good causes
Like so many other industries during the COVID-19 pandemic, the TV and movie industry has been shuttered, bringing favourite shows and films to a halt and putting thousands of people out of work.
Director and actor Paul Feig knows all about that. He's best known for his work on comedies from Bridesmaids to The Office, and from Freaks and Geeks to Arrested Development, and last month his work on a TV pilot in North Carolina came to a grinding halt.
But instead of stepping out of the limelight, Feig is hosting daily Instagram cocktail parties — and raising money for important charities along the way.
"I remember going, 'Well, I'm going to be in the house for a long, long time like everybody else. And I'm not a medical professional, so I don't have a lot I can offer in terms of getting people through the pandemic in that way," says Feig in an interview with q host Tom Power.
"But I was like, 'I'm a comedy guy, so maybe I can just try to be funny and show people how to make cocktails and then try to raise some money for people at the same time.'"
So every day at 5 p.m. PT, Feig appears on Instagram, suit-and-tied and ready to entertain.
"I wanted to do it every single day at the same time, because, especially when you're struggling or you're going through a hard time, [it's good] to have something that you know is always there."
But Feig isn't only generating laughs; he's also raising much-needed funds for a range of charities, from medical causes like Direct Relief to children's organizations like Feed the Children and No Kid Hungry. Others help out-of-work hospitality workers hit hard by the COVID crisis.
"My favourite thing in my adult life has been going to restaurants and going to bars, and just having a nice evening," he says.
"And all those people that make your evenings so nice are now suffering greatly because they're out of work."
Feig says that Hollywood isn't nearly as "cocktail party-ish" as it once was, but he loves the idea of the '40s and '50s era, when people like Truman Capote would throw cocktail parties in his New York apartment, and everyone would appear in tuxedos and gowns and crowd together on sofas.
In better times, Feig throws taco parties at his house, inviting the people he's working with over for cocktails and tasty eats from a favourite taco cart.
These days, when he's not hosting Instagram cocktail parties, Feig is still writing and working with an editor on footage that was shot before the shutdown; he's also watching classic screwball comedies.
"It's really fun to watch those movies from the '30s and the '40s because of the old supper clubs and all the cocktails in them, and it's so elegant," he says.
"It takes you away, and the fact that it's in black and white, it's just far enough away from real life that it kind of lets you go into fantasy for a little bit."
Feig says he has dedicated his life to entertaining people and to making people laugh — which is sometimes held in lower regard in the Hollywood pecking order. But in these times, laughter is more important than ever.
"In normal times, we're always the ones who are kind of not looked down upon, but we're not taken seriously," says Feig, who also just released his own brand of gin, called Artingstall's.
"Now people understand why we do what we do. We just want to be that comfort food that goes like, 'Hey, we're just trying to lighten your load for a little bit.' So it's really nice that our stuff is able to hopefully make people feel a little bit lighter during this really tough time."
Written by Jennifer Van Evra. Interview produced by Chris Trowbridge.