Guest Post: Anchorman 2 cast and celebrity guests largely veto veganism at U.S. premiere  »

News anchor Ron Burgundy wasn’t the only legend standing strong at Sunday night’s star-studded step-and-repeat. Also the longstanding “legend,” or, perhaps more accurately, longstanding myth, that we need meat for protein proved alive and well on the comedian-clad red carpet. Pervasive as ever, even the rich, famous and funny are by and large out of touch when it comes to science, sentience and, maybe most compelling to the celebrity set, sexiness.

It’s somewhat disheartening to witness Hollywood so woefully behind the times. With that said, despite persistent prejudices against veganism, a few folks in attendance admitted to having tried a plant-based diet in the past, or offered to give it a go in the future. Others were a little … lost.

Given the global buzz surrounding Jay-Z’s and Beyoncé’s 22-day foray into vegan eating — thanks to nutrition coach Marco Borges — I used this high-profile nutrition news as an excuse to get premiere-goers talking. Some weren’t aware of the power couple’s compassionate challenge, but at least my mentioning it got the gears turning, if only for a moment.

One thing’s for sure, based on star Will Ferrell’s response to one reporter’s query about how he spends time in his trailer, this dude’s nowhere near eschewing meat, dairy and eggs. Said the actor, “You know how those trailers have, like, full kitchens? Little ovens and stuff like that? I’m the only one who uses my oven. I cook fantastic lunches for the cast in my trailer. A lot of chicken pot pies, lasagna. That’s how I relax. I cook in my trailer.”

To this, filmmaker Adam McKay added, “He did a crazy amount of cooking. He had a hotplate in there. He was constantly making tortellini; he was deep-frying calamari. There was constant smoke and smells coming out of his trailer. It was very odd. He put on, easily, 35 pounds during this movie. We had to hospitalize him at one point. It was a major problem.” (I’m going to venture to guess some, if not all, of this is fabricated for entertainment’s sake. Needless to say, both he and Will had all media within earshot laughing.)

Among those in attendance for the film’s debut at New York City’s Beacon Theatre on Sunday night were Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, Christina Applegate, Kristen Wiig, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Edward Norton, James Marsden, Jeremy Piven, Brooke Shields, Bobby Moynihan, Billy Magnussen, and more.

Without further ado, responses from a few glittering industry icons to the following question: “As you’ve likely heard, Jay-Z and Beyoncé are right now rocking a plant-based diet, until at least Christmas. Would you ever experiment with veganism? Say for three weeks?”

Judd Apatow
I’ve done that! I’ve cut my meat down to a couple times a month. But then, if I don’t eat meat, I just eat a lot of pizza and gain weight. It’s a hard one. I haven’t pulled it off yet.

Lewis Black
No. I have no interest. I did it when I was a kid. It was cheap. It’s very affordable. I was eating lentils, rice, vegetables. It got to the point where I got tired of it. It’s like I’m at a buffet and I keep switching. I juice in the morning! That’s enough of that [healthy] stuff all day.

Fred Willard
I would love to! Vegan food can be very good. But, when I lived in New York, I’d see the vegans. They looked kind of gray. [I’m vegan!] Are you? Well, you look great. I belong to Actors and Others for Animals, and PETA, and Farm Sanctuary, and I appreciate not eating meat, but I just like it. You know, it’s the circle of nature.

Adam McKay
Well, it depends what you mean by “plant.” I think I am on a plant-based diet, if you count cows and chickens that eat plants. No? Then I’m not on a plant-based diet. That seems really extreme. I think I need some protein. [There’s protein in plants!] No, there’s not. [I’m a living vegan. I’m fine.] You have to eat, like, peanuts. I dunno. I wouldn’t do it. Taco Bell has no meat in it; I guess I could still eat that. Yeah. I would consider it.

Meagan Good
My husband and I actually started! We haven’t gone all the way plant-based, because I’ll never give up chicken. It just won’t happen. But, we have been leaning a lot more toward that in the last month and a half, and it’s made a big difference: physically how I feel, physically in my stomach, in my skin, in my nails. I just feel a lot better. It’s hard for me with cheese; I’m such a cheese and sauce girl. But, I’ve pretty much given up beef. Turkey’s going. We’re trying to give up dairy. Eggs? Not so hard to give up. Forks Over Knives got us started.

Haley Joel Osment
For a role, I would. But, I’m too much of an embarrassing foodie to ever give it up voluntarily. I know it’s possible. There’s lot of options. It’s a lot better now than in the ’90s. My dad was always really into health foods and that was a struggle back then. Now there are actually chefs doing it on a big scale. I will eat vegan food, but also other things.

Hoda Kotb
No, I didn’t know! Vegan? Oh, no. No, no, dear. No, no, no. That would never … I did try to have that green juice a couple of times, but I ate, too. I had it with food. And you do feel better, with the ginger and the rest of it, but there’s no way on god’s green earth I could do anything vegan or juice completely, and not eat regular food. Twinkies, juicing? Best thing ever. 

David Koechner
Oh yeah! Forks Over Knives!

Billy Eichner
No! I love meat. I would eat a seal. I don’t care. I’d eat anything. I’d eat Jay-Z and Beyoncé. I’d eat everything. I don’t care. No, I care about animals, but I don’t know if I could do the vegan thing. I’d do a trial run. If Beyoncé agrees to add more hooks to her new album, I’ll agree to do the vegan thing.

Nell Alk is a writer and editor based in New York City. If something vegan is happening in the world, she is on it.

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