Will Ferrell is loved by many and scoffed at by others. His work as a comedian has proven to trigger a reaction, regardless of negative or positive. His work has a sort of trial and error method where all his comedy is ridiculous and it will sometimes be funny or completely miss its mark. One things’s for sure, his recent successes such as Old School and Anchoman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy have led to his name being one that can be trusted to bring in the dough.
Will Ferrell’s birth name is John William Ferrell. Born in July 16, 1967 in California just a few miles south of Los Angeles, he was always a comedian and loved to created a funny atmosphere wherever he went. Any biography you read of Ferrell recognizes his high school in Irving, California, as his garden to bloom. He was allowed to flourish into the comedian we see today by beginning as a teenager and putting on various shows for his high school peers. Ferrell is remembered for perfecting his art of crashing into doors and falling down stairwells to generate laughter and attention to his clumsy, but done on purpose, comedy routines. Because he was so popular for his sense of humor and making others laugh, he was allowed to use the PA system of his school to generate buzz about any campus announcement with his principal supporting him 100%. He would annonce these updates through the voice of different characters. Needless to say, it created the success the school needed and Ferrell’s popularity was used for a variety of different high school activities.
You would think that Ferrell’s path into the world of comedy was as clear cut as it could get, but he actually majored in Sports Information which led to an internship with NBC Sports. This marked his entrance into the television world as he joined a weekly television show. Although Ferrell was good at what he did he definitely felt that this was not his calling. After receiving his degree, Ferrell decided to give it up and follow his heart. He decided to make a concrete decision for his future and steered his way into the one thing he knew he was good at and enjoyed: making people laugh.
He was found by The Groundlings, which is a group helping in the techniques of improvisation. This is the one thing Ferrell needed to work on as a comedian and definitely was successful with it. He met a number of his future SNL cast members while in this group, such as Ana Gasteyer, Cheri Oteri and Chris Kattan. Will Ferrell put in his time with The Groundlings and their tough schedule. Finally, he was given the opportunity he was waiting for – a chance to audition for Lorne Michaels for SNL. He joined the cast in 1995 without any problem. Although he was finally where he wanted to be in the comic world, he was still rough around the edges because, let’s face it, he was in the big leagues and needed to perfect his craft. His first year proved to be unsuccessful for him but he was determined to make a name for himself. And that he did. He created a slew of characters that in the next few years would allow Ferrell to be the highest paid cast member on SNL’s history. Some of his most memorable characters were as Presidents Clinton and Bush, Alex Trebec, Terrence Maddox (the nude model), Harry Caray, Janet Reno and many many more. His impersonations were what made him extremely popular. The Jeopardy sketch was one that many SNL viewers anxiously waited on seeing every Saturday night.
Finally, the day came when Will Ferrell was ready to leave the cast of SNL. The show pulled out all the stops for him by bringing on some guests that he has impersonated such as Neil Diamond and Alex Trebec. The show aired on May 18, 2002 and signaled the end of the Ferrell era on SNL. Although Ferrell had done a number of small roles in various movies throughout his career at SNL, he moved into the big leagues of the movie world. Many of his small role movies proved to be disappointments but there were a number that were successul and showed a lot of promise for Ferrell’s up and coming career. Movie roles in the Austin Powers movies as Mustafa gave him credit as an actor with great comedic timing. However, his SNL spin-off movies did not take too well. The character of Frank, aka Frank the Tank, in Old School, was when Ferrell began to be hailed as a comic genius. A few of his movies after Old School have been questionable (The Elf and Bewitched), however, Ferrell is looking to move into serious movies as well. He is capable of handling more of a drama type movie as is evident with his role in Woody Allen’s, Melinda and Melinda.
With a few more movies coming out in the next couple years, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby being the next one on his list set to release on August 11, 2006 and Stranger Than Fiction set to release on November 10, 2006, it’s easy to see that Will Ferrell is definitely not leaving the movie scene anytime soon. His trademark yelling and screaming in a number of his SNL sketches and movies have made him extremely popular and very much in demand with today’s movie audience. With Ferrell returning to his roots as Frank in Old School 2, scheduled to be released sometime in 2007, you can assume that he’s definitely on his way up in the humor department. Stay tuned to this guy because not only does he have the potential of ridding any embarrassment he has with his body for a good joke but he’s great a serious streak in him as well that will more than likely creep into a number of his future films. We’re all watching, Will Ferrell.