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Paul Feig dishes fall-guy advice

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Author and screenwriter Paul Feig is in agony, or at least mock agony, over the evolution of geeks.

"Why was I born so early?" he laments. "I could've been Weezer!"

Feig is a self-described "advocate for the geeky of the world." To him, once a geek, always a geek. In fact, as the creator of the now-defunct two-time Emmy-nominated television series Freaks and Geeks, he's made a career of cultivating his dorky past. Call it therapy or shtick; it works. His latest memoir, the hilarious Superstud, or How I Became a 24-Year-Old Virgin, is proof.

Now directing episodes of "Arrested Development" and "The Office," Feig also is working on another book and developing screenplays. A busy man, sure -- he figures his past will provide entertainment fodder for years.

"The politics of geekiness have not changed at all, although the geeks of today are probably in better shape," he says. "Everyone else knows these are the people that'll be running the world."

Feig is absolutely sublime on the Superstud cover, at the top of his geeky game in 1970s regalia: white tux, gigantic green bow tie, tap shoes. His lanky body strides confidently, arms stretched out as though to say, "Yes, tap dancing is the sexiest thing you could possibly do as a straight teenage boy."

Obviously, Independent readers want to know how they, too, can become a Superstud. In a recent interview, Feig shared the answers:

Listen to the advice of elders. Raised by Christian Science parents who had him at age 39, Feig always was a little nave about contemporary culture. His sexual initiation came in the form of "rope feeling" and finding ways to achieve it. As he pursued said activity, a healthy dose of religious guilt from his parents came in handy. A radio program hosted by a Jamaican DJ also helped, informing young Feig that for every day you masturbate, God takes one day from your life. "Someone in power with dubious noncredit -- by all means, follow him as close as you can," Feig jokes.

Cultivate goals and hobbies. Feig feigned an interest in photography books, which happened to feature nudes. His interest in real live girls led to roller skating. "I dreamed of the day that I could convince a Roller Rink Girl to [couples skate] with me as we skated slowly to Barry Manilow's 'Mandy,'" he writes. Feig was in his teens, mind you.

Persistence is key! Superstuds need to be overly optimistic, says Feig. Even if the object of your desire turns you down, keep at it with the tenacity of Urkel. "Fail, fail again. Set your self up for the next ill-advised course of action," he says. "Go for the golden lonely ring."

Appreciate the good things. Don't leave home until you're 20. When you do, cry so much that even your mom makes fun of you and you have to drive back home immediately due to homesickness.

Good self-esteem will see you through. "People who look at you with knitted brow, trying to figure out how nerdy you could possibly be -- interpret it as, 'Wow! They're really trying to figure out the best way to talk to me and experience my coolness,'" says Feig. "Delude yourself, basically."

-- Kara Luger

capsule

Superstud, or How I Became a 24-Year-Old Virgin

by Paul Feig (Three Rivers Press) $13.95/paperback

Book signing at Tattered Cover LoDo, 1629 16th St., Denver

Monday, July 18, 7:30 p.m.; call 303/436-1070 for more.

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