If there was ever a next generation version of Seinfeld, it would have to star Will Ferrell as George Costanza. When he chatted with Jerry on this week’s episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, the conversation felt like a callback to some famous moments at Monk’s. If only there had been more about Ferrell as a person during the interview.
SPOILER ALERT – WATCH THE EPISODE FIRST
As a big Ferrell fan, a 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird immediately felt like a callback to Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. It was actually used as a car Richard Petty raced in, which makes it even more awesome. There is a front nose cone and a rear wing on it, not to mention a horn that makes the road runner sound when pressed. No doubt, this is the automotive equivalent of Will Ferrell in the best of ways.
The episode begins with Jerry visiting a park where Will is on a swing set. Naturally, the first question was “You like candy?” Most comedians fail to take advantage of the initial meeting, which is a lost opportunity. But Ferrell created a funny moment that made me believe the episode would be on a higher level than most.
Ferrell started gushing over the Road Runner from the second he entered it. “Cars don’t smell like this anymore!” Ferrell shouted, before talking about how much he loves the blue color. Then came a back-and-forth on the pretentiousness of movie vs. picture vs. film, a ranking that Ferrell got completely right. But a later discussion on popular movies came to a stunning conclusion: Will Ferrell does not watch movies. None of the movies named were ones he was in, but it makes me question if Ferrell has ever appreciated the movies he has acted in.
In the restaurant, it was funny to see how both comedians reacted to being asked twice in under a minute about their drink choices. That waitress is probably mortified watching this back, but it was only a harmless joke. Ferrell then commented on the size of the restaurant menu before talking about the size of his tonnage. I’m not sure how I feel knowing that Will Ferrell weighs less than I do. At least he had the same reaction to Jerry’s weight loss question as I would. “I have to work out just to look fat,” Ferrell said.
Apparently, Ferrell once tried his hand at stand-up comedy. His coworkers did not find him funny, so he took a class, or at least an attempt at one. Jokingly, Ferrell said students stopped showing up because it was just a guy in the front of the classroom with a microphone and an amp.
Next came a discussion on Ferrell’s audition for Saturday Night Live, which involved him playing as a human cat, which included a funny cutaway alongside a humorous origin story and behind the scenes anecdote. Ferrell’s knack for storytelling made for an enjoyable and to the point retelling. I am not a cat person, but I laughed throughout the entire conversation. I’m also pretty sure Jerry cried he was laughing so hard.
A funny bit about art, comedy, and subjectivity followed as Jerry called out his wife for wanting to buy a presumably expensive picture of a bunny. He also called out the artist of the portrait for not being able to meet with people. I like that Seinfeld was feisty and passionate in calling the artist out for his BS, although Ferrell’s door closing action at the end took it over the top.
The penultimate scene in the café discussed Greek food, including the baklava the two split for dessert. The banter about Jerry’s trip to Greece was funny, but Ferrell’s follow up about Greek money issues was a great job of comedic one-upmanship. The final “interview” scene as they exited was humorous, but came across as kind of shticky.
Back in the car, Ferrell’s exaggerated reenactment of focus groups had Jerry and me in stitches. It was a character that he continued with onto a strong closing bit about defining 1-to-10 scales. Ferrell is truly at his best playing characters that are “enhanced” versions of people we all know. Unfortunately, this means I didn’t get to learn as much about Will Ferrell, the person, as I would have liked.
Will Ferrell is really funny when he plays a character or performs improve. Too bad neither of these is conducive to an interview with Ferrell, the person, which is my biggest hang up for the episode. I enjoyed it as a strong season finale, but I’m not sure I learned a ton about Ferrell as a person because of the characters and mannerisms he has become known for. The episode was still really funny, but it missed some key ingredients that could have made it great. 8/10
[You can read Alex’s other recaps of Comedians in Cars here.]