Tag Archives: Saturday Night Live

Actor: Will Ferrell

Will Ferrell in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, perhaps his funniest role. Or maybe that would be Ricky Bobby. Hard to say, the man is a great comic talent. Uploaded by zimbio.com.

I don’t think anyone will be comparing Will Ferrell’s acting ability with, say, Robert DeNiro anytime soon. I hope they never do, because the whole reason we love Ferrell is that he doesn’t take himself too seriously. Bill Murray is an example of a funny man who proved that he could move into more substantial roles. I hope Will Ferrell never tries. Just be funny, Will. Just be funny.

Uploaded by sportsillustrated.cnn.com.

Ferrell had his break on Saturday Night Live (Great American Things, April 9, 2009), where he created some memorable impressions (George W. Bush, Harry Carey, James Lipton), some great characters (Cheerleader Craig Buchanan), and one of the show’s most memorable skits (“More cowbell”). He stayed on SNL for seven years before devoting his career to films.

Ferrell’s movies include:

  • Old School (2003)
  • Elf (2003)
  • Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
  • Bewitched (2005)
  • Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)
  • Step Brothers (2008)

Will Ferrell hasn’t won any major acting awards, and it’ll be an upset if he ever wins one. But he currently commands $20 million per picture, and that will  buy a lot of Oscars on eBay.

TV Show: Jeopardy!

Alex Trebek has been hosting Jeopardy!, with and without mustache, since 1984. Uploaded by floridatoday.com.

I realize as I write this what a geek – and what’s worse, an old geek – it makes me, but I can’t help it. One of my bucket list items is to appear on Jeopardy!

I even know what I’ll talk about during Alex Trebek’s interview with me during the Single Jeopardy round. I’ll tell my story about the time Bill Murray sang happy birthday to me. What stories I’ll tell during the days and weeks that follow, as I return again and again as defending champion, I’ll have to figure out.

Uploaded by floridatoday.com.

Jeopardy! was created by Merv Griffin way back in 1964. Its original host was Art Fleming, with the redoubtable Don Pardo as announcer. Back then, clues were worth $10-$50; now they’re up to $200-$1000, and $400-$2000 in Double Jeopardy. And now you can stay on as champion as long as you keep winning. You probably heard that Ken Jennings won 74 consecutive games and more than $2.5 million on the show.

Of course, no mention of Jeopardy! (like Yahoo!, incomplete without the exclamation point) is complete without mentioning the brilliant parodies on Saturday Night Live (Great American Things, April 9, 2009). With Will Ferrell as Alex Trebek and Darrell Hammond as Sean Connery, the recurring parody stands out as one of SNL’s funniest franchise bits.

I’m sorry. I meant to say “What is one of Saturday Night Live’s funniest franchise bits?” I could get penalized for not phrasing it in the form of a question.

TV Show: Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In

The original Laugh-In cast album. Uploaded to Flickr by barney russel23.

The original Laugh-In cast album. Uploaded to Flickr by barney russel23.

First, there was the sit-in. Then the hippies came along, and we had the love-in. This usage reached its highest (or lowest, depending on your perspective) point when two journeymen comedians captured the spirit of the age. And Laugh-In was born.

If you look at episodes of the show now, you come to an inescapable conclusion: It’s not funny. And it wasn’t all that funny at the time, either. But it was visually unlike anything that had been on TV before. It featured an extremely talented cast, including future stars Goldie Hawn and Lily Tomlin. And it pushed the envelope of what was allowed at that time, particularly in innuendo and in political humor.

Uploaded to Flickr by Johnny Illustrated.

Uploaded to Flickr by Johnny Illustrated.

Foreshadowing Saturday Night Live’s (Great American Thing No. 10) success a few years later, Laugh-In featured a weekly “news” segment that lampooned the political and social stories of the day. But to make sure people didn’t think the show was too highbrow, that would be followed by girls dancing in bikinis with jokes and sayings written on their bodies. Also like SNL, Laugh-In contributed a number of catchphrases to the national vocabulary, including “Verrry interesting…but dumb.” “And that’s the truth. Pbbbt.” “You bet your sweet bippy!” “Look that up in your Funk and Wagnalls.” “Here come da judge.” And, of course, “Sock it to me.”

Laugh-In was on from 1968 to 1973, and claimed the number-one spot in the ratings for its first two seasons. The show was nominated for ten Emmy Awards during its run and won four, including Outstanding Musical or Variety Series in 1968.