The 12 best Will Ferrell sketches on Saturday Night Live, from 'More Cowbell' to Harry Caray
We hope he’ll bring back some of his most iconic sketches from his tenure on the sketch show and maybe bust out his old Alex Trebek or George W. Bush impressions. But in the meantime, EW has ranked some of Ferrell’s best work from his cast member days, as well as when he returned for hosting duties.
12. Get Off the Shed
It’s pretty astounding to see Ferrell effortlessly transition between screaming “GET OFF THE SHED” and making benign small talk throughout this sketch. What makes the bit even more impressive is that it was Ferrell’s debut sketch during his first SNL season in 1995. Right away, Ferrell showed America that he’d be a comedy force to be reckoned with.
11. The Roxbury Guys
If you put Ferrell, Chris Kattan, and Jim Carrey together, you’re going to have a good time. The premise of this 1996 sketch was so simple — three clueless club-goers bobbing their heads to music — and so well executed that it’s become a classic.
10. Dissing Your Dog
We wouldn’t actually recommend the combination of “mockery and verbal humiliation” to discipline your puppy, but Ferrell’s straight-laced delivery — not to mention the cute dogs in the sketch — made this bit one of his most underrated sketches.
9. The Culps
Ferrell and Ana Gasteyer were a dynamic duo on SNL, and one of their best collaborations was as the Culps, the music teachers who were truly the “how do you do, fellow kids?” of their day. The Culps’ takes on pop hits were so uncool they put Kidz Bop covers to shame, but Ferrell and Gasteyer made the married couple lovable and entertaining in our eyes.
8. The Love-ahs
In this hilariously gross recurring sketch, Ferrell and Rachel Dratch play Victoria and Roger Clarvin, two horndog professors who love nothing more than discussing their lovemaking with the strangers they meet in hotel hot tubs.
7. Janet Reno Dance Party
Don’t mess with Janet Reno. Ferrell is comically intimidating as the former attorney general, from his aggressive dance moves to his willingness to call teenagers “dirty liars.”
6. Reality Stars
Okay, so 30 percent of what makes this 2018 sketch so funny is purely due to Ferrell and Cecily Strong’s makeup transformation into a pair of histrionic Botoxed reality TV stars. Another 30 percent goes to the dog’s stoic performance, and the rest is for lines like, “Peanut is locked and loaded” and “I am a red-blooded American boy, after all.”
5. Spartan Cheerleaders
Another iconic showcase for Ferrell’s physical comedy chops, this sketch features him as one half of a vapid cheerleading duo with Cheri Oteri. Their spirited dance moves and elaborate Bobby Fischer-centric chants are utterly wrong for a chess tournament, but so right for SNL. Though this clip from 1996 is one of our favorites, there are more than a dozen other places the Spartan cheerleaders have crashed in this hysterical recurring sketch.
4. Harry Caray
HEY! Ferrell had so many great one-liners throughout his time parodying kooky broadcaster Harry Caray that it’s hard to choose just one. We feel bad for the actors tasked with keeping a straight face at Ferrell’s mannerisms as he asks questions like, “Linda Ham, does your name ever make you hungry?”
3. George W. Bush
Ferrell’s impersonation succeeded not because he looked or sounded exactly like Dubya, but because the comic brought so much of himself to the role and made it his own. We’ve cracked up at all his iterations, but his 2018 return to the “Oval Office” was especially resonant. Ferrell’s Bush reminded us not to romanticize his presidency, citing his tenure as “really bad” and “historically not good.”
2. Celebrity Jeopardy!
Ferrell’s controlled rage as host Alex Trebek is a sight to behold in this legendary recurring sketch. There are so many gems to choose from in this series going back to 1996, but the “anal bum cover” edition from 2000 and 2015’s 40th-anniversary edition are some of the best. Watch all the clips for yourself to see Sean Connery’s (Darrell Hammond) best digs through the ages.
1. More Cowbell
This 2000 segment may be the sketch that Ferrell best known for, and it’s ranked as one of the show’s best moments ever. It’s not hard to see why — Ferrell physically committed to the absurd premise 110 percent, thrusting for his life, and sent nearly every cast member to the edge of breaking (and actually breaking, if you’re Jimmy Fallon). And its memorable line, “needs more cowbell,” definitely stuck to your brain long after the sketch aired.
The original late-night comedy sketch show from the one and only Lorne Michaels.