Sitting down at the Four Seasons Hotel in Seattle, Wash., Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis wiped their brows and sunk into their chairs. Their promotional tour for “The Campaign,” a satire of the political campaign process, has been a tiring whirlwind. Their Thursday engagement at Seattle’s Local Color coffeehouse near Pike Place Market was, to put it lightly, an overwhelming experience for the duo.
“I can’t even speak about what just happened,” said Ferrell, shaking his head. “It was crazy.”
Their 11-city public relations tour has led them to throwing the first pitch at a Chicago Cubs game, speaking at the Naval Air Station in Fort Worth, Texas, and handing a giant cup of coffee to smiling, camera-ready supporters in Seattle. They still have a few cities left, but the PR campaign has so far successfully done double duty by poking fun at the photo-op culture of politics while promoting their upcoming film. However, the crowds and craziness wherever they go has begun to take its toll.
“It’s obviously extremely nice and flattering, but then we felt guilty that we were just whisked into a coffee place and really only made contact with maybe 25 people,” Ferrell lamented. “It’s almost like you want to take a full-page ad in the newspaper tomorrow saying, 'Sorry.' ” He paused. “I won’t actually follow through with that.”
Their guilt aside, the tour is still worth it for them, if only to elucidate the banality and emptiness of real–life Congressional campaigning.
“When the approval rating of Congress is below 10 percent (editor’s note: it’s nearer to 17% on average), like nine out of 10 people don’t think Congress is doing a good job, that gives you the impression that they just have these cushy jobs and just care about staying in office and not really doing any work,” said Ferrell.
“I’d love to know who those 10 percent are,” Galifianakis quipped. “Like, ‘They’re trying hard.’ And they still think it’s the 1960s or something, probably.”
While Ferrell and Galifianakis feel strongly about the ridiculousness of much of American politics, “The Campaign” wasn’t their first idea for a movie together.
“The beginning of it was Will and I went to lunch and were trying to figure out like what could we do together,” said Galifianakis.
“At first it was centered around the boy pageant circuit,” Ferrell said, cracking a grin. “It doesn’t even make sense. Two Southern guys …”
Galifianakis interrupted, laughing. “... on the boy pageant circuit.”
“We’d figure out the rest,” said Ferrell.
Their PR tour parodying PR tours will continue until "The Campaign" is released on Aug. 10.