Why is Other Guys star Will Ferrell funny?

Previously published Slate articles made new.
Aug. 5 2010 11:38 AM

Why Is Will Ferrell Funny?

A video slide show of The Other Guys star.

Click here to launch a video slide show

Click the launch module to the left for a video slide show on the secrets of Will Ferrell's comic genius.

Will Ferrell is back on the big screen this week with The Other Guys, a buddy-cop comedy co-starring Mark Wahlberg. In 2007, Josh Levin gave a point-by-point dissection of Ferrell's sense of humor, using a video slide show to analyze the comedian's hit characters. The original article is reprinted below

In Blades of Glory, Will Ferrell plays a raven-tressed, crotch-grabbing figure skater named Chazz Michael Michaels. It's not a stretch for Ferrell to swaddle himself in spandex and become an "ice-devouring sex tornado." Like Anchorman's Ron Burgundy, Chazz radiates over-the-top machismo. Like Ricky Bobby of Talladega Nights, he's a down-on-his-luck sports hero. And like, well, every character Will Ferrell has ever played, he flaunts his hairy, paunchy body without a hint of shame.

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It's undeniable that Ferrell's performances hit a lot of the same notes. But look more closely at his oeuvre and you'll see a comic actor whose most prominent trait is his flexibility. Compared with someone like Vince Vaughn, a talented comedian who infuses every role with manic shtick, Ferrell's versatility is a wonder to behold.

Click here for a video slide show on the secrets of Will Ferrell's comic genius.

Josh Levin is Slate's executive editor.

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