Paul Feig is among the top comedy directors working today. Feig cut his teeth on loads of critically acclaimed television shows before directing the likes of Spy and Bridesmaids. None of this would be possible without the $25,000 Pyramid.
He Won Big
Cast your mind back to 1985. Feig had just graduated from film school at USC and was embarking on a career as an actor and stand-up comic. Kicking around Los Angeles, he went on Dick Clark’s legendary game show, The $25,000 Pyramid. He did pretty darn well too, making it to the winner’s twice with the original host of The Prince is Right, Bill Cullen.
Feig walked away from the game show with $29,000, which is about $73,500 in 2021 money. This was the first time Feig was on television, so it was also the start of an illustrious career. The money was enough for Feig to quit his day job and focus on comedy.
He would later tell Backstage: “I have a soft spot in my heart for Dick Clark.” Were it not for Clark and the $25,000 pyramid, there may be no Bridesmaids.
What Happened Next For Feig?
Feig bounded around Hollywood for years as an actor while honing his comedy skills. He found a brief home on the ` television show and got a recurring gig on It’s Garry Shandling’s Show. Feig wouldn’t get a break until he starred in 1995’s Heavyweights, written and produced by Judd Apatow.
Feig would go on to create Freaks and Geeks, with Apatow as its executive producer. The critical darling was beloved by critics but failed to find an audience. It helped launch the careers of Linda Cardellini, Busy Philipps, and Seth Rogen to name a few.
Following Freaks and Geeks, Feig got steady work directing some of the greatest television shows of all time. He was a regular director on Arrested Development, The Office, and Nurse Jackie. He found time to direct some episodes of Mad Men, 30 Rock, and Parks and Recreation as well. In 2011, he teamed up with Kristin Wiig on Bridesmaids, and the rest is history.
Other Celebrity Game Show Guests
Feig is hardly the only star you could find as a gameshow contestant. Tiffany Haddish once went to the Price is Right, but she was not called down. Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul was a bit luckier, making it all the way to the showcase showdown.
Vanna White was also famously called down years before she turned letters on Wheel of Fortune. That The butterfly effect is a powerful thing.