I’ve got a fever… and the only prescription is more Will Ferrell.
That seemed to be the theme of last night’s airing of Will Ferrell’s Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor award ceremony, where he became the 14th recipient of the prestigious comedy award, joining previous winners such as Tina Fey, George Carlin, and Billy Crystal.
The program featured tributes from tons of Ferrell’s famous friends, including Conan O’Brien, Paul Rudd, and Adam McKay. Many of the stars went for earnest over comical, sharing their favorite memory of Ferrell and then rolling clips from blockbusters such as Anchorman, Elf, and Talladega Nights — not to mention his best Saturday Night Live clips. Watching the montage of clips, one thing became perfectly clear: That man streaked a lot.
Highlights from the Oct. 23 ceremony below:
Jack Black opened the show the only way the sometimes-rock star knew how: A parody version of Queen’s We Will Rock You, subbing in the guest of honor’s name so the chorus said, “Will will rock you!” After the tune, Black claimed, “Will is a human litmus test. If you don’t like Will, there must be something wrong with you.”
Conan O’Brien: “Will Ferrell was on my first Tonight Show and my last Tonight Show. It’s a rare friend that is willing to stick with you for five and a half months.”
Ed Asner talked about playing Santa opposite Ferrell’s 6’ 4” Elf. “You can never be jealous of Will Ferrell … he’s way too sweet a guy. In a way, he’s like the elf I worked with in that movie. He’s super sweet and kind … Will Ferrell is magical.”
Tim Meadows: “Will Ferrell and I are especially close. Just a black man and a white man, in that order, having a bromance. Or as Rick Santorum calls is, his worst nightmare.”
Ben Stiller made an odd comment about Ferrell texting him about making Autograph magazine’s worst celebrities — something that is apparently true. Everybody’s wedding has one awkward toast, and Stiller took the cake for this event that should be honoring Ferrell. It was an odd “joke” that seemed to point out something negative without really having any punchline. Awk-ward. Maybe the most beautiful man in the world was jealous?
Andy Samberg: The SNL player went both crass — “at 30 Rockefeller Center, there is a toilet that is still unusable” — and earnest, “You’re my hero and the funniest man on earth.” His most perfect line: “If you are a fan of the sketch “Cowbell,” you have got to tell Will. I don’t care where he is, if he’s having an argument with a family member, celebrating a child’s birthday… just hit him up and loudly perform your favorite lines for him. Again, Will, I have not cleared this with you, but I assume you’re into it.” Cue Ferrell exaggeratingly shaking his head ‘No’ and giving Andy a death stare.
Adam McKay gave a retrospective on Funny or Die and showed the classic viral vid “The Landlord.” Shot in 40 minutes. Viewed online over 77 million times. FunnyOrDie also posted a video congratulating Ferrell, with appearances by Larry David, Zach Galifianakis, Christina Applegate, and others who couldn’t make the event.
The best highlight was when Will Ferrell finally took the stage to accept and promptly dropped the Twain trophy, shattering it,and then gave a touching speech thanking all those who have supported him in his life.
But, of course, Ferrell couldn’t be serious for too long: When thanking his wife, Viveca, (who gamely laughed on throughout the entire event) he proclaimed, “We have a wonderful life together but I do have to say… sometimes you get a little lippy. You’ve got a big mouth and you like to run it.”
Disappointingly, they left out clips of George W. Bush on SNL, showing only his Broadway version of our 43rd President. Which means Ferrell won the Mark Twain prize without any mentions of strategery… a joke that seemed perfectly fitted to American humorist Twain.
Tell me, PopWatchers: Deserved? Who should win next year?
Will Ferrell to receive Mark Twain Prize for Comedy. What’s his best role?