Will Ferrell cannot be described as anything less than a comic genius. His complete lack of embarrassment and extroverted performances have given him the freedom that only a few comics like Robin Williams have, but he can also achieve the same laid back humor that have pushed men like Bill Murray through two decades of film without any wear or tear. It’s hard to find a comic willing to prance around a soundstage in his underwear during a taping of “Conan O’Brien” and still remain sane after the interview is done, but Will brings the whole package with every character he plays and every film he saves, making him the stand-out actor of the year. Will’s reign of insanity all began as a student at University High School where he delivered the school’s daily news over the PA system in a plethora of voices and impersonations. After graduating from the University of Southern California, Will was welcomed as a member of the LA improve troupe The Groundlings, where the careers of many SNL cast members were born.
During his work with The Groundlings, Will met fellow SNL-cast mate Chris Kattan and the two became good friends, developing a catalog of characters together before making it to “Saturday Night Live” later on in 1995 as a feature member. After a year of dismay and disapproval from the show’s casting team, Will upped his game by introducing his remarkable talents for impersonations and over-the-top material, creating some of the show’s most memorable characters like George W. Bush and Alex Trebeck. Along with his weekly work on the show, Will also stepped in to help on every SNL-produced film and was one of the only members to ever be nominated for an Emmy, a serious reflection of the larger paychecks he was reeling in. After leaving the show in 2002, Will has become one of the hottest comedic actors in film today, appearing in a number of cameo roles for big-time directors and friends, and building a new foundation for a rapidly growing career as a Hollywood star.
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TV Guide: Will Ferrell
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Will on the Screen
Will Ferrell has been around longer than you think, popping up in small cameos since the late 90's, but it wasn't until last year that he could actually market himself as a valuable star. Starting out on SNL" from 1995-2002, Will brought some of his most memorable characters to stage and helped save the dying generation of sketch comedy actors. While still on the show, Will appeared both in blockbuster comedies like "Austin Powers" and "SNL"-related features like "Superstar" and "Night at the Roxbury" in his first starring role. He also lent his talents to Kevin Smith in his final View Askew film "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" and in Ben Stiller's "Zoolander." After leaving "SNL," Will exploded onto the comedy film circuit as the hot talent, scoring big reviews for his role in "Old School" and gaining a whole new level of respect for his performance in "Elf." Everything he touches turns to gold, and he's just getting started. Hopefully, Will won't burn out too soon, but as long as he learns to limit his selection in scripts, he's bound to follow a long career in the footsteps of someone like Bill Murray.
Will can currently be seen as Steve Carell's temporary replacement on "The Office," as well as in the Beastie Boys short video, "Fight for your Right Revisited." He'll next appear in the festival favorite "Everything Must Go" and the Spanish language film "Casa de mi Padre," and has several upcoming projects on his slate, including the presidential comedy "Southern Rivals," the Etan Cohen-directed comedy "Daddy's Home," and the still-in-development Sherlock Holmes film, with Ferrell playing trusty sidekick Watson to Sacha Baron Cohen's titular detective.
From the Mouth of Will
On his eccentric personality:
"I'm not really an exhibitionist. I'm drawn to the outrageous stuff because it's fun, not because it's some deep compulsion. I'm not [a] tortured, anger-stoked, deeply neurotic comic -- just a pretty low-key normal guy. A 'hey, the glass is half-full' kind of a guy. But please keep it quiet, or I may never work again."
On the fallout of his nude scene in "Old School":
"I think it has had a hypnotic effect on people and affected their judgment so now I'm getting cast in a way that's not right. It's right for me but I don't know if it's right for America."