Even after 40 movies, Will Ferrell still finds himself stunned that he’s receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
“I’m still waiting for the mayor of show business to show up and kick me out of the formal party because I’m wearing a leisure suit,” he quips. “Comedians don’t get a lot of awards, so this is really nice.”
The star presentation comes with Ferrell’s Warner Bros comedy Get Hard, which opens this week in the US. He portrays a businessman convicted of a white collar crime who enlists Kevin Hart’s character to prep him for the rigors of prison. It’s an edgier film than some of Ferrell’s recent comedies, featuring racy jokes about his character preparing for the slammer.
He’s also become a powerhouse producer through Gary Sanchez Productions with Adam McKay and Chris Henchy – not only on his own starring vehicles but also on such projects as Tammy, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters and the Funny Or Die website.
“I have a mix of feelings about getting the star,” he says. “I feel extremely fortunate to have accomplished this much. But there’s still some frustration with it in that it doesn’t matter how high up you are, it’s hard to get things made and you’re never not clawing.”
Ferrell says acting is still front and centre. “I weave in and out of producing with Adam and Chris, but I’m not the one who’s flying down to Atlanta to trouble-shoot on the set,” he adds.
He admits that he’s come a long way from the days of doing stand-up in Los Angeles area clubs in the early 1990s such as the Ice House in Pasadena, California.
Among his more memorable bits was an observation noting that there were only two types of narrative music used on the original Star Trek TV series – one for when a cast member fell in love and the other for when the starship USS Enterprise was out of power as an enemy approached.
Ferrell decided to move into comedy improvisation and began taking classes. He was able to join the Groundlings improv troupe in Los Angeles in 1994.
He was cast on Saturday Night Live a year later. “For me, it was such an achievement to make the main stage at the Groundlings,” he notes. “And when I got on Saturday Night (Live), I thought, ‘If this is all I ever do, I’ve done what I want to do’.”
Ferrell’s upcoming projects include Tag, to which he is attached with Jack Black. Rob McKittrick was recently tapped to write the script.
Ferrell has often been able to combine his comedy with a good cause. He recently managed a partnership between Funny Or Die and Major League Baseball to support the fight against cancer. The day was filmed for an HBO special.
Ferrell says he’s not prone to bask in nostalgia or regret. “I don’t agonise,” he notes. “I make a decision and I’m at peace with it. Once you say no, you have to let it go. And even the movies that didn’t work still have positive aspects to them.”
He’s particularly pleased about the Funny Or Die website, which launched in 2007. The site’s first video was The Landlord, in which Ferrell is berated by a two-year-old landlord, portrayed by McKay’s daughter, Pearl.
The Landlord became a viral sensation and has been viewed over 80 million times. Funny Or Die received venture capital funding in June, 2007, and signed a partnership with HBO in 2008.
“We could not have expected Funny Or Die to succeed like it has. We felt back then that the problem with the Internet is that if it’s no good, no one notices. The Landlord is now eight years old. I’m really proud of the fact that Funny Or Die employs several hundred people.
“I’m sure that once I’ve gotten it, I will feel like it was 10 times better than I thought it would be,” he adds of his current honour. “My kids will be able to say to their friends, ‘Hey do you want to go see my dad’s star on the Walk of Fame?’.” — Reuters