Interview w/ Paul Feig • Creator, “Freaks and Geeks” • Author, “Kick Me: Adventures in Adolescence”

SM: When was the last time you danced in a public setting?

PF: Five minutes ago. I was at the grocery store and the theme from the 1980s TV series Small Wonder was playing over the sound system, and so I decided to do an interpretive dance. It would have gone over better had I not tripped and crashed into a giant stack of cans that were displayed at the end of an aisle. Who knew they still did those giant stacks of cans these days? I always thought those were only in old Jerry Lewis movies. But it taught me a valuable lesson – don’t forget to bring coupons if you want to save a few extra dollars on groceries.

SM: When was the last time you went on something you’d feel comfortable calling an adventure?

PF: I don’t feel comfortable calling something an adventure. Next question, please.

SM: If you found out one of your pets was a tiny man in a costume, would you keep him?

PF: To be honest, I’ve always said that our Scottish Terrier, Dean Martin, actually is a little man in a dog suit. He sweats under his armpits when he gets hot, and he watches TV. He never wags when he’s happy (maybe he’s never happy?), and he has yet in all his years in our house (14) to lick either my wife’s or my face. He barks at kids who are having fun on our street and if you start dancing in front of him he attacks your feet. So, not only is my dog a man in a dog suit, he’s also the town preacher from Footloose in a dog suit. If I could only find the zipper.

SM: What is one thing you know to be true?

PF: If you’re driving in your car and you switch the radio to a jazz station and you can’t hear anything, the bass player is taking a solo.

SM: Hypothetical: You’re scheduled to be in a fist-fight tomorrow. What song would you like to hear ten minutes before the fight, and why?

PF: “Billy, Don’t Be a Hero,” because that would give me the moral fortitude to flee the state and avoid the fight.

SM: When you fog up a mirror and draw in the fog with your finger, whatever you write pops up again when someone else fogs it up. What do you write for the next person to see?

PF: “Don’t do as I have done. And go grab a bottle of Windex.”

SM: What is your first reaction to the sight of a crowded city street?

PF: It depends what the street is crowded with. If it’s crowded with circus clowns, then my first reaction would be to avoid that street at all costs. If it was crowded with beautiful naked women, my first reaction (and all subsequent reactions) would be to head down it. And if it was crowded with people who were going to ask me what my first reaction would be to the sight of a crowded city street, I’d have to take a few minutes to decide exactly what my reaction would be.

SM: What made you laugh the hardest in the last three days?

PF: When Daniel Carver, the Ku Klux Klan member who’s frequently on the Howard Stern show, said that his favorite movie of all time was Steve Martin’s The Jerk. That was my favorite movie as a kid. (Well, that and What’s Up, Doc?) I have no idea what this all means other than, since I’m on the opposite end of the ideological spectrum as Daniel Carver, maybe The Jerk can be the one thing that unites this divided country of ours. A man can dream, can’t he?

SM: Please indulge us in an anecdote.

PF: Last night I dreamed that I ate a giant marshmallow. And when I woke up, my pillow was gone! No, seriously, it was gone. At first I looked around the bedroom, assuming that it had either fallen off the bed or else in some strange fit of nocturnal rage I might have thrown it across the room. But it was nowhere to be found. It was only after getting back in bed that I started to feel very strange. My stomach didn’t quite hurt and yet it felt odd, as if it were strangely full. I decided to ignore it, chalking it up to a touch of the flu. However, when I went to the bathroom eight hours later, nothing but feathers came out when I tried to have a bowel movement. Unsure if I had accidentally consumed an improperly prepared chicken for dinner the night before, I remained on the toilet and waited for the situation to normalize. However, when I then defecated out a zipper and then a pillowcase bearing our family’s crest, I realized exactly what had happened. Somehow, during my dream about eating a giant marshmallow, I had actually consumed my pillow. I was absolutely aghast at this. I had always considered myself to be a light sleeper and so always figured that any sort of noise or disturbance during the night would result in my immediate awakening. But the fact that I had actually eaten my pillow – my entire pillow – challenged the very foundations of my knowledge of my sleeping patterns. How was it possible that I could have ingested a very large item that, in essence, is completely inedible? Just the physical act of chewing and swallowing fabric, a nylon zipper, and several cubic feet of feathers seemed, to put it bluntly, impossible. And yet somehow I had done it. Perhaps one day this will all make sense to me but, for now, I must simply chalk it up as a mystery. Although I fear that I may no longer sleep as soundly as I used to. Because once you cross the line from sleeping in your bed to eating parts of your bed, I have to assume that peace of mind is the first thing to go out the window.

SM: Please compose a brief poem or haiku on the subject of your choosing.

PF:
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Why did so many people
Make fun of my nose when I was a kid?
All right, I know it’s rather large
But it’s not like I had any say in the matter
And I saw plenty of people growing up
Who had bigger noses
Or big ears or weird looking faces
And I never once made fun of them
So what’s their problem that they have to go attacking me about something I can’t control?
Children can be so cruel.
And so can adults.
And so can animals.
And that’s why alcohol was invented.
Thank you.

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