No-one goes into a panel with Will Ferrell…not even one being done via satellite…with an expectation that it’s going to be a serious affair. But when he turns up wearing a woolen winter hat and a pair of New Year’s Eve glasses shaped like the number 2009, it’s fair to say that you can throw seriousness completely out the window.
“First of all, these are actually prescription glasses,” Ferrell assured us. “I’m not trying to be funny. It happens to be 2009, so that’s great. I also had head surgery, so that’s why I have this hat on, too.”
Sure, Will. Sure.
Ferrell and his longtime collaborator, Adam McKay, had turned up to discuss Ferrell’s new one-man show, “You’re Welcome, America: A Final Night with George W. Bush,” which will be getting a live airing on HBO on March 14th. Ferrell hadn’t really been called upon to do his Bush impression very much since departing from “Saturday Night Live,” but he thought the show would be a fun way to send off George W.
Ferrell and McKay reminisced about the origins and evolution of Ferrell’s impression, which began as a mere walk-on in a Clinton sketch. “It was before we kind of even knew who he was,” said McKay, “and Will basically just played him as a frat guy drinking beer, high-fiving.”
“Darrell Hammond was always going to play Gore,” said Ferrell, “and then Lorne Michaels had asked me if I wanted to play Bush. I thought, ‘Yeah, this will be fun. I’ll play him for a couple of months. He probably won’t win.’ And then he eventually won. He just kept kind of gaining momentum in terms of his comedic persona. He went from the 90 percent popularity to…it’s the longest sustained drop in popularity in Presidential history. Obviously, there’s been an incredible combination of some insane news events that he’s had to deal with and, obviously, some poor decisions on his part, along with his type of personality and the fact that he kind of can’t speak properly. That makes for a wonderful kind of comedic stew…and I like to use the word ‘stew’ whenever I can.”