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.
The TV star went on to make movies and co-found the popular website FunnyorDie.com in a career that won the 44-year-old Mr. Ferrell the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
It was the Bush impression, though, that might have made the Washington crowd laugh — and cringe — the hardest Sunday.
“Washington is not a city much known for its comedy — at least not the intentional kind,” said PBS news anchor Gwen Ifill, who mentored Mr. Ferrell on his journalistic skills for the movie “Anchorman.”
She introduced a clip of Mr. Ferrell playing Mr. 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” in a mock Oval Office, 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 Billie Joe Armstrong from the rock band Green Day performed Sunday in Mr. Ferrell’s honor, joined by Molly Shannon, Tim Meadows and Andy Samberg from Mr. Ferrell’s “SNL” days.
The show was 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,” Mr. Black said, noting that Mr. Ferrell had “reigned supreme” on “SNL” for seven years. “He’s crazy funny. He makes you laugh so hard you cry and pee simultaneously.”
Mr. O'Brien saluted Mr. Ferrell for giving so much of himself to his comedy. He said Mr. Ferrell had his sides physically softened and his “buttocks lowered with magnets” to prepare his body for spandex routines and at times streaking naked.View Entire Story
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