Ferrell is Hollywood’s hottest comic
Here’s some breaking news: Will Ferrell is the hottest comic actor working in Hollywood today.
He stars as the titular macho newsman in Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy, opening Friday. The comedy, set in the 1970s, features Burgundy and his sexist, all-male Channel 4 news team having to adjust to the arrival of a new, female anchor, Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate).
With Anchorman coming out, and a slew of other high-profile projects to follow — including film roles in Bewitched, The Producers and The Confederacy Of Dunces — what better time to consider why we love Ferrell so much? Ahem, in a completely platonic, manly, macho way, of course. Hey, uh, how about that football game the other night?
1. He was on SNL — and his movies don’t suck!
That is, if you don’t count A Night At The Roxbury, the piece of crap that made Stuart Saves His Family seem like an Ingmar Bergman movie. Where most other Saturday Night Live alumni fail — see the likes of Dana Carvey (The Master Of Disguise), Dan Aykroyd (any movie he’s made over the past 20 years), Chevy Chase (ditto) — Ferrell has succeeded. His major roles so far have come in Old School, a funny mid-life crisis take on fraternity life, and last year’s Elf, the subversive Christmas blockbuster that was a great, big lump of coal amid all the Yuletide saccharine.
2. His cameos steal the show
Another reason for his success is that, upon leaving SNL, he eased himself into feature films, unlike marginal talents such as, say, David Spade and Tim Meadows, one-trick ponies who couldn’t sustain full-length movies. Instead, Ferrell took scene-stealing cameos and supporting roles, such as male model Derek Zoolander’s evil arch-nemesis Jacobin Mugatu in Zoolander, the much-killed Dr. Evil henchman Mustafa in the Austin Powers films and his asinine depiction of real-life journalist Bob Woodward in the Nixon comedy, Dick.
3. His characters are hilarious
We aren’t afraid to place Ferrell among the company of such greats as Phil Hartman, Carvey, Eddie Murphy and Mike Myers when it comes to the pantheon of SNL performers and their characters. Still need convincing? How about his frighteningly perfect portrayal of George W. Bush, right down to the president’s patented head-shaking chuckle? Or his exasperated take on Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek, who seems ready to strangle his idiotic contestants? Or his buffoonish impression of Robert Goulet, who sings lounge versions of nasty rap songs? And who could forget his bang-on sendup of notoriously verbose kiss-ass Hollywood interviewer James Lipton? Heck, even that Spartan cheerleader stuff was funny the first few times. As the faux Lipton would say, “Well played, Will Ferrell! You are a DELIGHT!”
4. He is a man without shame
If it can elicit a laugh, Ferrell will do it — even if he looks ridiculous. Check out his drunken, naked run in the streets in Old School, his thong in A Night At The Roxbury, and his grotesque stripteases on Late Night With Conan O’Brien. One of his best SNL sketches — a parody of a Behind The Music profile of Blue Oyster Cult — features Ferrell as a band member wearing a tight, partly unbuttoned shirt that lets his big potbelly sag out while he bangs a cowbell with a drumstick. Now that’s comedy.
5. That Anchorman trailer is damned funny
Old School and Elf were nice appetizers, but Anchorman looks like it will really vault Ferrell through the stratosphere: Just check out that brilliant trailer where you’ll be privy to this priceless exchange between the mustachioed Ron Burgundy and Veronica Corningstone during a restaurant encounter.
BURGUNDY: “What are your hopes, what are your dreams, what are your passions?”
CORNINGSTONE: “To be the first female anchor.”
BURGUNDY: “And I’d like to be King of Australia. Seriously, you sound like an insane person.”
Ferrell is Hollywood’s hottest comic