I actually read somewhere that, like, I don’t know if this is true, but you hold a field-goal-kicking record from high school or something, and you’re actually like a pretty athletic —
And so, kind of coming off of that ...
I played a lot of sports.
So, I was wondering, you `also` come across as kind of a cerebral guy, despite all the —
No, honestly, despite all the comedy, you can kind of see that. So I was wondering if there’s anything else that you could see yourself doing, besides being a performer or an actor.
Oh. Um. Well, you know, I finally just started to stop coming up with other jobs I could do if this all goes to, to shit. (He chuckles.) ’Cause I would constantly be like, “Oh, I could drive a cab.” But I was thinking of things, ’cause, you know, you just live in mortal fear of like, people all of a sudden, uh, hate you. And, or you’re not funny anymore, or whatever. But yeah, what would I do, if I had the cho — I mean, I probably would’ve ... I studied sports journalism in college, so I would’ve probably done something in the world of sports. Something. I might’ve even tried to have been a coach, maybe? Something like that?
Or, either, a poet. I love writing haikus. Not really. Just kidding.
Was there something you did between college and the Groundlings? Did you ever hold any other kind of, were you making your living —
I had a slew of, uh, I was a bank teller, a valet parker, um, what else? I worked at an art auction house. I was the appraisal coordinator.
I would send the appraisers out, as they would — they’d bring their appraisals of art back and I would have to type them up. But I was pretty bad at the job, because I would just leave and go on auditions. But I kept employed by being completely honest with my employers. When they would say, you know, “That appraisal was due a month ago,” I would say, “I know, it’s — it’s terrible.” And, uh, “When do you think we can expect it?” “I have no idea.” It would almost stun them into, “OK, well, get it `done`. Right away.” “OK, I will. I’ll try my hardest. But — there’s no guarantees.”
I was gonna ask, and this might be an odd question, but you’re ... enormously famous —
I’m — I’m pretty huge.
Yeah. But you’ve kind of been pretty famous for like, 10, 11 years. And I’m wondering, because you’re so much more `so` now —
(He starts chuckling a bit.)
— is it any weirder now, being more famous, but being used to it, than it was at the beginning, being smaller, but `it` being new? Does that make any sense?
Yeah, totally. It’s, uh — it’s never not weird.
Yeah. It’s — I don’t know if — you know, I think anyone who gets used to that type of thing is heading down the wrong track, because it’s, it’s just still the weirdest thing ever. And I just had a new wave of it recently, because I went to Ireland for two weeks, just, on a trip with my dad and my brother. And Anchorman is like, the biggest thing over there, so people drive by in their cars, and, like, (feigns yelling) “I-want-to-be-on-you!”
In an Irish brogue?
In an Irish brogue, yeah! There were radio contests, like, “Track Will Ferrell’s whereabouts through Ireland.” It was the biggest, you know, it was like, it was so flattering, and yet, it was like, “This is weird.” And we went up into Northern Ireland, which is just starting to have tourism now, because they finally have had peace for a long enough time — one guy pulled up in his truck, he was like, “Hey! HEY!” And so, I thought something was wrong, he was like, “What the fuck are you doing here?!” Like, angry with me! I’m like, “Oh, we’re just visiting. Why, is there a problem?” “No! I can’t believe you’re here!” Like, stopping traffic, and all this stuff.
But it, yeah. It doesn’t, uh — but I’ve been lucky in the sense that it’s really been gradual. You know, it started off, being on Saturday Night Live, you can’t get too famous too fast, because it’s late-night TV and, you know, it took five seasons for people to think I was on for two years. So, I have to say I’ve lucked out in that regard: that it didn’t happen in like a rush, to where it overwhelmed you. But I’m more used to it than I’ve ever been, and still not used to it, at the same time.
You still can’t go down the street to get a bagel, though.
Yeah, I still go about my daily life, but sometimes it’s just strange. •
Dir. Kent Alterman; writ. Scot Armstrong; feat. Will Ferrell, Woody Harrelson, André Benjamin, Maura Tierney, Andrew Daly, Will Arnett, Andy Richter, David Koechner, Rob Corddry, Matt Walsh, Jackie Earle Haley (R)