15 Trivia Tidbits About Will Ferrell on His Birthday

He’s closer to ‘Frank the Tank’ than you might think
15 Trivia Tidbits About Will Ferrell on His Birthday

On July 16, 1967, a comedic giant was born. The legend (made up by us) goes that Will Ferrell came out of the womb already sporting that incredible set of hair, and before the doctor could even smack his bottom, he stared the man straight in the eyes and bellowed, “Doc, I wanna go fast!” There, we just wrote the opening of Ferrell’s future biographical film that will surely break box-office records and instantly become canon.

Click right here to get the best of Cracked sent to your inbox. 

Known for classics like Talladega Nights, Anchorman and Step Brothers, and forever changing the way we hear “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper,” Ferrell’s career speaks for itself. His impact on comedy will reverberate for decades, nay, centuries to come, and it all started with a semi-dull childhood in Orange County, California…

He Didn’t Dream of a Life in Show Business

Given that his parents ended up divorcing because his dad’s career as a musician for the Righteous Brothers was both taxing and unstable, Ferrell never thought of one day using his comedy to make a living. “I enjoyed being funny, but I never wanted that show-business life because of what my father went through,” he told The Orange County Register. “The instability of that life was something I never wanted. I wanted to get a real job, although I didn’t know what that meant. And I wanted to live in a house because we were always in apartments. I envisioned myself walking with a briefcase.”

However, Ferrell added that there was an early desire to tap into his own comedy: “I wrote an essay in the second grade about what I was going to do when I grew up, and I said I was going to be a professional soccer player. In the offseason, I wrote that I was going to be a comedian. So there was a little seed there.”

His Bizarro Lifetime Movie

A Deadly Adoption is the 2015 satirical thriller-drama that sees Ferrell and Kristen Wiig play it straight as a middle-class couple who wants to become parents. “I woke up one day with Lifetime on,” Ferrell told The Hollywood Reporter, “and I thought, ‘Wait a minute, wouldn’t it be funny if you saw me and maybe another known comedy person do a Lifetime movie and just play it straight? Yeah, got to do that.”

A Drama-Free Neighborhood Helped Him Develop His Sense of Humor

While we’re used to hearing about funny people often being the product of some terrible childhood, Ferrell’s story is the opposite. He once explained that growing up in Orange County made him the comedian he is today. “Growing up in suburbia, in safe, master-planned Irvine, there was no drama, so we had to create it in our heads,” he said. “My main form of entertainment was cracking my friends up and exploring new ways of being funny. I didn’t have to have the survival mode instinct like other comics who grew up in tough neighborhoods. I had the opposite. For me, I grew up in Mayberry, and the humor broke the boredom. And there was a lot to make fun of.”

Ferrell used to make fake comedic announcements over his high school’s PA system, and he quickly learned what made people tick. “In the fourth grade, I learned how to fake walking into a door,” he has remembered. “You know, you hit it with your hand and snap your head back. The girls loved it.”

Frank ‘The Tank’ Was Basically Him from College

Ferrell was a bit of a prankster growing up, “but I wasn’t obnoxious to the point where I got kicked out of class,” he once told IGN. Though he did reveal that he used to go streaking in his younger days, which totally explains why he felt so comfortable playing Frank “The Tank” in Old School.

He Once Warmed Up the Golden State Warriors Dressed as Jackie Moon from ‘Semi-Pro’

It’s no secret that Ferrell is, himself, quite the athlete. It was probably no big surprise, then, when in March 2022, the actor who played sultry singer and basketball team owner Jackie Moon in Semi-Pro showed up in costume to get the Warriors psyched for their upcoming game against the Los Angeles Clippers. The actor managed to lift everyone’s spirits and bring that Ferrell humor to the court, quipping, “I make those in my sleep” after landing a shot from half-court.


Playing Sleazy Characters Is His Absolute Favorite

Ferrell has played soul-destroying boring guys (Deangelo Vickers in The Office), straight worker-types but with a wild edge (Allen Gamble in The Other Guys) and straight-up nefarious characters (Mugatu in Zoolander). But it’s playing sleazeballs like Ron Burgundy and Chazz Reinhold from Wedding Crashers that he enjoys most. “I love playing earnest characters, and I love characters who are super-boring but don’t realize it,” Ferrell said during an interview with The Guardian. “But I think playing super-sleazy is the most fun for me because it’s the furthest from who I am, and that’s why any of us do this.”

He’s Responsible for One of the Most Influential Jokes of Modern Comedy

In 2016, Vulture published a list of “The 100 Jokes That Shaped Modern Comedy,” with Ferrell as Ron Burgundy uttering, “Boy, that escalated quickly!” making the top half. The line was immediately quoted far and wide upon the movie’s release, and the joke has since become an internet meme ingrained in millennial culture.

His Favorite ‘SNL’ Sketches

When asked during his first Reddit AMA, Ferrell revealed that the sketches he enjoyed most being part of were the Harry Caray space show with Jeff Goldblum and, of course, the cowbell sketch.

He Was Nominated for a Tony Award

In 2009, Ferrell was nominated for the coveted stage prize in the Best Special Theatrical Event category for his solo Broadway show, You’re Welcome America: A Final Night with George W. Bush. The play was based on his famous SNL impression of the 43rd President of the United States.

He Has His Own Line of Sunscreens

Ferrell has long been an advocate for Cancer for College, and he’s even produced a sunscreen brand to raise money for the charity’s scholarship fund. The first line of his Sexy Hot Tan collection was launched in 2009, and an updated product came out in 2016. “The sun is an evil celestial demon,” Ferrell explained when his latest line hit the market. “It tricks us into worshiping it with its warm, alluring rays and bright primary color. Don’t be fooled. It wants to destroy us and is hell-bent on world domination. I’ve worked in my lab with a team of skin scientists and retired astronaut Brock Sternum to create what we think is our best sunscreen yet.”

Will Ferrell via InStyle

How He Landed His Spot on ‘SNL’

Inspired by Adam Sandler’s SNL audition, where he humped a chair, Ferrell said that he originally wanted to do a gimmick for his own audition. “So I thought, I’m gonna go in there and be funny,” he explained. “I had a briefcase full of fake money, and as Lorne (Michaels) starts talking, I was gonna open it and start stacking piles of money on his desk. ‘Lorne, you can say whatever you want, but we all know what really talks. And that’s cold, hard cash. Now, I’m gonna walk outta here. You can take the cash if you want. Or not.’ And then just leave and not come back.”

It was his impressions, however, that got him the gig. He showed Michaels two of his favorite characters: Harry Caray and Frank, the dad who yells at his kids to get off the roof of the shed.

He’s Got a Specific Way of Wearing His Clothes

“I rotate my clothes so everything is equally worn,” he once told USA Today. “I rotate my tennis shoes as well, so sometimes that can mean black shirt with orange shorts and red shoes, which I don’t give a shit about, but my wife will be like, ‘Really?’”

He’s a Very Private Comedian

Ferrell has, impressively, managed to keep his private life just that, avoiding most social media. In 2018 following the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, he deleted his Facebook account, writing, “I know I am not alone when I say that I was very disturbed to hear about Cambridge Analytica’s misuse of millions of Facebook users’ information in order to undermine our democracy and infringe on our citizens’ privacy. I can no longer, in good conscience, use the services of a company that allowed the spread of propaganda and directly aimed it at those most vulnerable.”

He’s also miraculously avoided being the subject of tabloid nonsense throughout his career, which, all in all, makes that one-time Twilight meltdown joke on Conan all the more funny.

He Has a Killer Broadway Musical Idea That Involves the Russian Army

Remember in 2014 when the Russian Red Army choir group covered Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” at the Olympics’ Opening Ceremony in Sochi? Well, Ferrell has an idea for a stage musical based on that. “So what I want to do is a Broadway show of the Russian Red Army,” he explained. “We’d sing pop songs and make comments about the differences between the U.S. and Russia and how the Russians are so much better. It would be satirical and really funny — I’m still working it all out, like, how to get it up on its feet.” This idea, obviously, was brought to you circa 2021, months before Russia would invade Ukraine.

James Lipton Loved His ‘Inside the Actors Studio’ Sketches

Ferrell has both played Lipton in SNL sketches and once, along with the Old School cast, did a spoof that saw him at one point interviewing himself. “Strangely, Lipton loved it,” he revealed during an interview. “But he was also so mad at me that I would never actually do his show. I would say, ‘When I have done something worthy enough as an actor, if I win an Oscar, I will.’”

Scroll down for the next article
Forgot Password?