Will Ferrell has created some memorable movie characters, whether it is the notably over-the-top news anchor Ron Burgundy in “Anchorman” (2004) or the hopelessly confused IRS Auditor Harold Crick in “Stranger than Fiction” (2006). Yet none of his on-screen personas can equal the sheer joy he created with some of the characters that populate the skits he starred in on “Saturday Night Live” (SNL).
Choosing just five of these memorable characters is nearly impossible, but that speaks to the comic genius of this gawky, oversized but lovable oaf. He can meld himself into George W. Bush, Neil Diamond, or Alex Trebeck as easily as any fictional character.
Spartan cheerleaders with Cheri Oteri
Perhaps no other role better suited the madcap Ferrell than his character as half of the Spartan cheerleading duo. Each week, as Craig and Adrianna, they would rock out their cheers on SNL, with boom box and oversized bath towels to catch the sweat. Never mind that the hopelessly mismatched-sized couple were cheering on the Chess Club. These high school pariahs were clueless to whether anyone wanted them cheering or not.
While the real “Celebrity Jeopardy” could be a cringe-worthy viewing experience in and of itself, as Alex Trebeck, Will Ferrell brought the genius comic of the situation to an entirely new level complete with confusing categories and hapless celebs. Even with Burt Reynolds played by Norm Macdonald and the unforgettable Sean Connery in Darryl Hammond’s expert hands, all eyes still centered on the exasperated, and exasperating, Alex.
Inside the Actor’s Studio
Just as “Celebrity Jeopardy” seemed to crave a funny take on SNL, so too was James Lipton and “Inside the Actor’s Studio” begging for the comic touch of Will Ferrell. The sketch was so popular it continued for years, and eventually the inevitable happened: Ferrell went on the actual show to interview the real Lipton. In the words of Hulu, it can only be described as “Scrumtralescent!”
Dancing with Janet Reno
Where others use insider jokes to make political comments, Ferrell took it to the SNL extremes of wackiness, and nowhere was this better seen than in the 1990s skit, Janet Reno’s Dance Party. Whether she was dealing with the Unabomber or Waco, Texas, the Attorney General (as portrayed by Farrell) used her “DOJ” (dances of Janet) to relieve stress and bring on the laughs.
Dissing your dog
“Saturday Night Live” has done plenty of commercial parodies over the years, but Will Ferrell struck it out of the park with his passive-aggressive doggie training. The skit also contains one of the funniest quotes, as noted by Hulu, “Remember there’s one thing stronger than a dog’s sense of smell – his sense of irony.” While the skit starts out quietly, Ferrell takes his character to an extreme level in only the way he could do, and the result was hilarious.
It’s little surprise that when he left SNL, Comedian Will Ferrell was the highest paid cast member ever. And, while many SNL alums have tried and failed to successfully make a movie career based on skills acquired during their time at the popular TV show, Will Ferrell had little problem transitioning his comic timing to the big screen. Whether on the big screen or small, there’s no one like him!