Photographs: Getty Images; Collage: Gabe Conte
Few people on earth travel as often as professional athletes (and fictional soccer coaches!) With On the Road, the GQ Sports Travel Questionnaire, they’re weighing in on everything from room service to flying comfortably to their favorite chain restaurants.
For nearly 20 years, people all over the world have gotten exceedingly used to seeing Jason Sudeikis on their televisions. Thanks to his work on TV shows like Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock, and Ted Lasso (and movies like Horrible Bosses), Sudeikis has become one of the more ubiquitous actors in the business. But this Sunday during the Super Bowl, viewers will get to see him in a different light, as he’s set to appear in a Michelob Ultra commercial with two mountains of their respective fields.
From the commercial set, Sudeikis sat down with GQ to discuss party cities, watching his son meet maybe the greatest athlete of all-time, and all of the travel he’s experienced in a venerated comedy career.
What can you tell us about this commercial? The streets are saying some pretty big-name athletes are in it. Lionel Messi? Dan Marino?
Yeah, I would argue one of the biggest names, if not the biggest name. The GOAT—and I don’t know if it is arguable—Leo Messi, and then Miami Dolphins great Dan Marino, also the star of Ace Ventura. It was great. It’s real athletes and fake coaches (me). I’m flattered to somehow have found myself in the Venn diagram of American and world football legends. I’m the link between those two.
Messi couldn’t have been sweeter. He has boys the same age, and was very sweet with his time. My son has gotten to meet a lot of amazing folks in his short life, but he was an absolute chatterbox on the flight there and the whole day after meeting that guy. It was like he inhaled 30 Pixy Stix.
You’ve done a lot at this point of your career and enjoyed a ton of success. But does being in a Super Bowl commercial still feel like a holy shit moment?
Oh, one hundred percent. It will feel that way when it airs. You don’t know when you’re doing it in real time, and then you almost forget about it until the middle of the second quarter when your phone starts buzzing. The commercial aired! Okay, great! I was busy getting some more wings and cracking open another Michelob Ultra, and lo and behold I missed the whole thing. It’s not lost on me, none of this stuff is cynical to me quite yet.
It’s the same way I was at SNL. I’d always be like, Oh yeah! This is a television show! I’d forget until Sunday when you’re walking around Manhattan and someone goes, “Nice show last night!” In your brain you just think you’re doing it for your friends and the crew and the couple hundred people watching. But yeah, millions of folks, I think I’d get nervous and go a little crazy if I thought about that.
This was all filmed in Miami?
My portion was. It was right there on a beautiful beach during Art Basel, which brings its own vibe and energy. I hadn’t been to Miami since 1989 or 1990, whenever Notre Dame played against Colorado in the Orange Bowl. My folks flew me and my buddy Terry down. I would say Miami is a very different town from when you’re 13 to when you’re a grown ass man.
Where does Miami land in the Sudeikis power rankings of American cities?
It’s a fairly new addition, but it’s lovely! I would have it within the top 100. Nothing against them, it was just new! I was only there for about 56 hours, so I can’t say I have a good understanding of the town, but the seagulls were persistent. They really came after our food at the beach, which was thrilling for a nine-year-old boy. He was like Tippi Hedren in The Birds. It was intense! Luckily he didn’t get injured.
It’s tough to differentiate between the party cities and the “I could actually live here” cities.
I hear you. I’ve lived in two party cities—Amsterdam and Las Vegas—at different points before moving to New York. Through the virtue of working in sketch and improv comedy prior to my SNL time, I lived in Amsterdam for about five months. Vegas was supposed to be six months and I ended up staying almost three years before getting hired to write at Saturday Night Live.
New Orleans I could live in, one hundred percent. Somewhere in the outskirts in one of those lovely homes. I’d maybe have to squat or use some type of Bitcoin. Can you still do Bitcoin? I love that town. I didn’t get to see Miami enough. There was a lot of traffic, again, Art Basel kind of gives a flavor to the whole experience. But I guess I was also there under special circumstances: meeting Messi.
When you get to a new city, are you someone who likes to explore? Are you doing any guided tours?
I’m much more of an explore-on-foot guy, especially in cities that lend themselves to that. I was in Chicago recently for a speaking gig, and I loved getting out and walking around. I’m a big fan of popping on the headphones and attempting not to get hit by traffic. I was the same way when I was in London. I’ve always really enjoyed getting to work in places where you have a 9-5 purpose but then you get to explore. We really took advantage of that during Season 1 of Ted Lasso. Season 2, not so much, because that was during lockdown. Season 3, we doubled down and got out there as much as possible. We went to a lot of soccer games, saw a lot of shows at the West End, and had a handful of good dinners.
My mom is a travel agent—has been my whole life, and still is. I was fortunate to grow up with someone who always had a plan and always had an itinerary. She knew what we were doing and where we were going. I love my friends and family who are still that way. I’m a good follower in that regard. If someone else decides, hey, we’re going for a walk or we’re going to dinner, I’m yes, and-ing.
I’m the same way. If someone comes to me with a fully formed plan and just tells me where to be and at what time, I’m in, no matter what.
I love it. It sounds like you and I should do The Amazing Race together. I wouldn’t say we’d win, but we’d get through it. If they ever do a complete strangers Amazing Race, I’d love to throw our collective hats in the ring.
What are some of your favorite places you’ve traveled?
Golly, the first one that comes to mind because I was there recently—and I did live there, my folks are from there—I always feel a strong affection for Chicago. I think the bulk of America would live in Chicago if it weren’t for the winters. I just think it’s an incredible city. Great sports, great culture, great art and theater, food, really nice people. I loved my time living there in the late ‘90s.
Then, New York is my second home. I still find it as thrilling as ever whenever I get to go back there. We were there all summer. Last season [of Ted Lasso], we did a week in Amsterdam, and I love that city. It’s one of those cities that people have their preconceptions of. While those things are alive and well there, it has so much going on. As a person who got to sort of set down some roots there, explore, and feel a bit more assimilated to the culture, be part of the fabric and not just a typical tourist—that was lovely.
We mentioned New Orleans earlier. I always look forward to the opportunity to get back there. It’s been a while. It’s been a while since I’ve been going anywhere besides London! But those are the places I can think of off the top of my head. I’m not going to sit here and ring the bell for Kansas City, my hometown. That’s a town that’s great when I was growing up there, and I feel like it’s had a 20-year run of continuing to get better and better and better. Most people know about that through the good fortune of the sports teams—the Chiefs as of late and the Royals a few years back. But I do love that town. It’s still alive. It’s a great place to bring my kids. They get to do all the stuff that I used to do, just now with WiFi.
What’s on the bucket list? Are there places you haven’t been yet but are dying to see?
Is it hard for you to travel and not get recognized? Does that play into your travel decisions?
No, not really. I think one of the neat things about the success of Ted Lasso is that people come up to you with this wonderful enthusiasm and kindness. A lot of times they’ll share a story, an anecdote, a point of view about what the show meant to them. I think any of us that were on camera and get recognized from the show have received those things. Very rarely am I met with the feeling that it’s a parasitic interaction. I haven’t felt a need—at this point—to hide yet.
Do you still like hotels?
I do! I like them. I like balconies and being able to look around outside. My most recent trip to Chicago, I was staying at the Four Seasons right there smack dab in the middle of it. I had a view of the city that wasn’t necessarily the Sears Tower or whatever it’s called now, but I just love being able to look down. I don’t know, maybe that’s the inner L.B. Jefferies part of me, Jimmy Stewart’s character in Rear Window. I’m not creeping on people! I’m not traveling with binoculars or anything. But just seeing city life between 8 and 10 pm when all the lights are on, it feels like a stagnant fireworks show in a way.
Originally Appeared on GQ