Will Ferrell wins nation’s top humor prize in DC
WASHINGTON (AP) - Will Ferrell, who refined his impersonation of President George W. Bush on “Saturday Night Live” and later took his presidential act to Broadway, was awarded the nation’s top humor prize Sunday night.
It was the Bush impression, though, that might have made the Washington crowd laugh _ and cringe _ the hardest Sunday.
She introduced a clip of Ferrell playing Bush in “You’re Welcome, America: A Final Night with George W. Bush” on Broadway. Dressed in a flight suit under a banner that read “Mission Accomplished,” he explained how Morocco had sent a special unit of 2,000 trained monkeys to fight terrorism “and make children laugh.”
“He got Democrats to pay and see and applaud George W. Bush,” she said.
Conan O'Brien, Jack Black, Matthew Broderick, Ben Stiller and the rock band Green Day performed Sunday in Ferrell’s honor, joined by Molly Shannon, Tim Meadows and Andy Samberg from Ferrell’s “SNL” days.
The show will be taped for broadcast Oct. 31 on PBS stations nationwide.
“Will Ferrell, did you notice how I changed it from `We Will Rock You?” he said.
“It’s about time he got some official Washington, D.C., props,” Black said, noting that Ferrell had “reigned supreme” on “SNL” for seven years. “He’s crazy funny. He makes you laugh so hard you cry and pee simultaneously.”
Shannon, who said she met Ferrell while she was a waitress in Los Angeles, said that contrary to his TV persona, Ferrell is very serious and sweet to work with. As for the award, she joked “Will’s agents and manager clearly bought this for him.”
Some of Ferrell’s famous sketches from “SNL” were played on the big screen, including his “Cow Bell” routine and “Craig the Spartan Cheerleader.”
When he was finally awarded the prize, a bronze bust of Twain, Ferrell promptly dropped it on stage and tried to pick up the pieces. He joked that he had turned the prize down 13 times before but decided to accept this time because of the prize money (there’s not any) and to be watched on PBS “by hundreds of people across this country.”