Paul Feig has already taken quarantine happy hours to the next level, hosting cocktail-making classes with his wife, Laurie, on Instagram Live. So when it came to bartending the virtual after-party for the premiere of his new series “Love Life” on Thursday night, Feig was a natural.
Feig produced the HBO Max romantic comedy starring Anna Kendrick — which will be available when the streamer launches on May 27 — and celebrated the upcoming debut with attendees of the interactive event. At your average Hollywood premiere, the filmmaker would’ve likely been ushered into a VIP area to chat with the cast or the other famous guests. But for this party, Feig deftly mixed Manhattans and comedy while reading live comments from guests, who were just as interested in learning how to make the cocktails as they were about grilling the director for info about his latest works.
Feig’s cocktail bar wasn’t the only draw for the evening as fellow executive producers Kendrick, Bridget Bedard and creator Sam Boyd appeared to introduce the series via video message.
“I loved filming this show so much and I’m so happy that soon we’re going to be sharing it with the world,” Kendrick said. “I want to thank all of you for joining us, to celebrate tonight. These are challenging times, but we sincerely hope that you enjoy this evening, and the show which, at its core, is about personal resilience and human connection and the way that people that we love shape our lives.”
After screening the first two episodes of the series, guests — including series star Zoe Chao and Peter Vack, as well as Susan Kelechi Watson, Bridget Everett, Sherry Cola, Bellamy Young, Dan Bucatinsky, Harry Shum Jr., Lance Bass and Alex Newell (who also stars in the Feig-produced “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”) — headed to the virtual after-party, where they could choose between Feig’s cocktail bar, a dance party with DJ Michelle Pesce, a live karaoke room or getting live love life advice from matchmaker Amy Van Doran. In the chat room in Feig’s cocktail bar, Zelda Williams described the virtual event as “the best premiere ever.”
HBO Max attempted to recreate the full premiere experience — sending a cocktail-making kit and karaoke mic to celebrity guests and members of the press — so guests could participate in the festivities from their living rooms. And in an important reminder of why guests were partying from home, the streamer left a note that they’d donated funds to the NYC Health + Hospitals’ COVID-19 relief fund on the attendees’ behalf.