Feig on the Road: Chicago, Continued

Travel Journal

Part four of Paul Feig's sartorial tour of the press junket.

Oct 4, 2013 | 12:00 PM

[Paul Feig's daily travel journal continues. To see what all the fuss is about, download "The Heat" in digital HD today, or pre-order it on DVD or Blu-Ray, available October 15.]

June 10th – One of those days that if I complained about it, I'd be the world's biggest asshole. Had sort of a half day of press. It started with going on Windy City Live, which is Chicago's local version of "The View." I have a personal love of live television and live local television in particular. However, my segment was taped for the next day, since they were already booked up with enough guests for today's show. And just who was a guest on today's show? None other than famous author Judy Blume! Yes, of "Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret" fame. I walked into the green room and there she was, getting her ear talked off by some local author. I'd been seeing her in a lot of publications lately because she's out promoting a movie version of one of her books. So, it was a pretty cool encounter. I said hi to her and talked a bit and she was lovely. Yes, that's right, I said "lovely."  Very nice and even took a picture with me.

I have to admit that I have a lot of angst about asking famous people to take a picture with me. It's both a fear of them saying, "Get the fuck away from me" or of them being nice but secretly hating me for being so uncool. I must admit that I've not taken pictures with tons of famous people I admire because I want to come off much cooler and composed than I actually ever am. But without actual pictures, it'll be pretty hard to share those undocumented famous encounter memories with the nursing home staff when I'm old. I feel like a photo album would get me much better treatment when everyone thinks I'm just some delusional old man saying things like, "I met George Clooney at the SAG Awards once!"

After taping my non-live segment in front of a very live and nice audience, I got to go to another place of personal hero worship, The Onion. I have been an Onion reader for about fourteen years and have always admired their consistent comedic domination. I feel like pretty much everything they've ever written is hilarious. I can literally be reduced to tears whenever I read one of their books of collected headlines and articles. I love parody and satire, even though I'm not good at doing it myself, and so truly admire people who can hit a home run with it. One of the greatest moments of my life was when I was included in an Onion headline. It read, "Pope Benedict Leaves Church In Helicopter With LeBron James, Paul Feig For Some Reason."

I taped a very weird and (hopefully) funny video piece they wrote for me that involved me analyzing one of the scenes from "The Heat" as if I was obsessed with ghosts. It seemed to go well but who knows until you see the final product? But it was just an honor to be there and do something funny for them. (I know, I know, today's journal entry is annoyingly sincere and fawny but I was genuinely enamored by everything I got to do today and everyone I met. Can't let comedy and snarkiness get in the way of a genuine experience.)

After that, I did a radio interview over the phone with the Detroit public radio station WDET, which again was very cool. And then I was free to spend the rest of the day hanging with my wife. I dragged her back to The Purple Pig, even though she doesn't eat pork. The Purple Pig is literally built out of pork. I had the enormous turkey leg confit and she got the Wagyu beef and everything was fantastic for the second day in a row.

It was a nice day outside and so we sat in their outdoor area, which is a stone's throw from the river even though some buildings block an actual river view. But I know from growing up in Michigan that anytime you can sit outside and it's not raining or snowing, you feel like you're on vacation in the Bahamas.

Later that night, we met my sister-in-law and her husband and my niece and nephew for dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in the U.S., R.L. It's Ralph Lauren's restaurant and he only has one here in Chicago and one in Paris. If you ever want to know what my dream house would be decorated like, go to R.L. and all will be revealed. It's a total classy men's club feel, as if it was plucked out of the English countryside and dropped next to the Water Tower. Old paintings and photos are chock-a-block on the walls and dark wood abounds. The service is great and there's something in the air that demands you order a glass of single malt scotch before you even consider looking at the menu. It's the kind of place where the walls almost beg you to light up a cigar and start annoying your fellow diners. The meal was great and a good time was had by all (if I may make such a mundane and non-creative statement). Then my wife and my assistant Josh and I ended the evening on the new outdoor deck of the Ritz, which is loomed over by the Hancock Building next door. For me, the final glasses I tipped were two Lagavulin scotches while in the midst of some last-minute phone calls to deal with a few aggravations in L.A. It's amazing how much more pleasant annoying phone calls are when you've got a nice single malt in the hand that's not holding the phone. (I know. I'm starting to hate me, too, at this point.)

Tomorrow is a fuller press day that culminates in a screening of "The Heat" for the Chicago Just for Laughs Festival. As always, I get in bed with an expanded stomach and one too many drinks running through my veins. I always want to feel guilty about it but the fact that I enjoyed myself as much as I did rains on my self-flagellation parade. I may be gaining weight as I sleep, and laying the groundwork for stretching the seams in my bespoke suits to the breaking point, but tonight I just try to enjoy it and dream about not feeling guilty about being such a hedonist on this press tour. They're shallow dreams, to be sure, but they're still better than nightmares. Paul Feig

Read more of Paul Feig's travel journal, and check back tomorrow for the next installment. In the meantime, you can download "The Heat" in digital HD today or pre-order it on DVD or Blu-Ray, available October 15.

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