At this point we can all agree that Will Ferrell is a pretty funny guy. But in honor of his birthday, we need to talk about an aspect of this comedy legendâs masterful career thatâs been ignored for far too long. Will Ferrell, longtime SNL veteran, Emmy and Golden Globes nominee, Funny or Die co-founder, is incredible when acting opposite a tiny dog.
Ferrell has a long history of sharing scenes with shaking pups. As far as my in depth research showed, the comedianâs first filmed dog encounter happened in December of 1998 when Ferrell and Molly Shannon first premiered âDog Showâ on Saturday Night Live. âDog Showâ was always an odd recurring sketch. Each installment followedÂ Miss Colleen (Shannon) andÂ Mr. David Larry (Ferrell), a married couple who hated people but loved dogs. With any other performers, this aggressively random series may have collapsed under the weight of its many gags. One thing, though, transformed the bit from a one-time sketch into the recurring oddity it became â Ferrellâs Pomeranian and sketch mate, Mr. Bojangles.
The top hat-adorned Mr. Bojangles was an immediately lovable addition when the sketch first premiered. But it was when Mr. Bojangles leaped into Ferrellâs lap that she inadvertently made history. I mean just watch Mr. Bojanglesâ constant attempts to make Ferrell hold her and try not to laugh. She completely changed the joke of the sketch from being an exploration of odd characters to testing how long Ferrell could catch a jumping dog without breaking. Since that day some of the comedianâs most memorable roles have included dogs.
âDog Showâ only aired on SNL a couple more times, but one of Ferrellâs most memorable SNL sketches completely revolved around sad canines. In âDissing Your Dogâ Ferrell played a crazy infomercial salesman whoâs pushing his tape series on dog training through passive aggressive insults. Ferrell has produced a lot of hysterical moments in his career, but watching himÂ whisper âYouâre a f***ing dogâ into the ear of a tiny French bulldog has to be one of the funniest. A small dog even made an appearance when Ferrell hosted SNL earlier this year. âReality Starsâ follows Ferrell and Cecily Strong as they try to prove to their normal friends that they havenât changed since getting their own reality show. All throughout the sketchÂ Ferrell cradles a very relaxed pup. And you know what? Ferrell and his doggy friend areÂ one of the funniest parts of this otherwise lackluster episode. I could watch Ferrell threaten to beat people with lounging miniature doggos all day.
None of this even touches on Ferrellâs illustrious and treat-filled movie career. Two of his most iconic rolesÂ â Mugatu in Zoolander and Ron Burgundy in AnchormanÂ and Anchorman 2â are characters who are partially defined by their canine best friends. Mugatuâs overly styled and constantly present poodle became yet another symbol for the fashion industryâs excessive wealth. Meanwhile Anchormanâs Baxter represented the opposite, giving Ferrellâs Ron Burgundy a humanizing anchor. Baxter was such a huge part of Anchorman he was practically the news teamâs fifth member. Oh, also, the scene where Baxter is punted into a river by Jack Black is one of Ferrellâs absolute best.
Of course itâs funny to see Will Ferrell with tiny dogs. Heâs a very tall man who loves to play intense, screaming, pseudo-masculine characters. A poodle or a pug is always going to compliment that characterization; those are just the rules. But over the years Ferrell has turned the simple act of saying lines while holding a dog into an art form.
Hereâs to you, Ferrell. I donât know if you can telepathically talk to these animals or if your pockets are loaded with dog treats, but itâs working.