One of the most successful Saturday Night Live alumni since Adam Sandler, John William "Will" Ferrell (born July 16, 1967 in Irvine, California) is a comedic actor well known for his ability to say, do, and bear witness to the craziest things with a totally straight face, although he is certainly quite capable of hamming it up. His popularity on SNL (during the show's third Golden Age when Lorne Michaels once again had to save his show from cancellation following the harsh criticism and low ratings of the show's 20th season by firing long-standing/poorly-performing cast members, keeping in the stand-out performers, and hiring some new blood — both on and off-set) ensured that he would become a box-office juggernaut in the world of funny movies. He is also part of the Frat Pack.
On SNL, his recurring characters include Baron Nocturna from "Goth Talk," Frank Henderson (a dad who threatens his kids with horrible punishments if they don't get off his shed), Jacob Silj (a man who has No Indoor Voice due to a medical condition), Gene Frenkle (Blue Öyster Cult's cowbell player), Terrence Maddox (a drifter who poses nude for art classes), Roger Klavin (one half of The Luvahs), Marty Culp (one half of the singing Culp couple), and Steve Butabi (one half of the Roxbury Brothers). His most memorable celebrity impressions include Alex Trebek, Harry Caray, James Lipton, George W. Bush (which, sadly, he didn't get to play for all eight years of Bush, Jr.'s administrationnote ), Kenneth Starr, Neil Diamond, Robert Goulet, and Janet Reno. And no, not Chad Smith.
With his creative partner/former SNL writer Adam McKay he runs a production company Gary Sanchez Productions note as well as the popular website Funny or Die. On January 7, 2016, Will Ferrell was announced as a new minority partner of Major League Soccer expansion club Los Angeles FC.
- Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997) - Mustafa
- Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999) - Mustafa
- A Night at the Roxbury (1998; adapted from his SNL routine with Chris Kattan) - Steve Butabi
- Dick (1999) - Bob Woodward
- Zoolander (2001) - Mugatu
- Zoolander 2 (2016) - Mugatu
- Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001) - Federal Wildlife Marshall Willenholly
- Old School (2003) Frank "The Tank" Richard
- Elf (2003) Buddy
- Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004) - Ron Burgundy
- Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie (2004) - Ron Burgundy
- Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013) - Ron Burgundy
- Wedding Crashers (2005) - Chazz Reinhold
- Kicking & Screaming (2005) - Phil Weston
- The Producers (2005) - Franz Liebkind
- Bewitched (2005) - Jack Wyatt
- Stranger Than Fiction (2006) - Harold Crick
- Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006) - Ricky Bobby
- Curious George (2006) - Ted
- Blades of Glory (2007) - Chazz Michael Michaels
- Semi-Pro (2008) - Jackie Moon
- Step Brothers (2008) - Brennan Huff
- Land of the Lost (2009) - Rick Marshall
- The Other Guys (2010) - Allen Gamble
- Everything Must Go (2010) - Nick Hasley
- Megamind (2010) - Megamind
- Casa de mi Padre (2012) - Armando Alvarez
- The Campaign (2012) - Cam Brady
- The LEGO Movie (2014) - President/Lord Business and "The Man Upstairs"/Finn's dad in the real world
- Get Hard (2015) - James King
- Daddy's Home (2015) - Brad Whittaker
- Daddy's Home 2 (2017) - Brad Whittaker
- Holmes & Watson (2018) - Sherlock Holmes
- Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (2020) - as Lars Erickssong
- Saturday Night Live - (1995-2002 with a brief return in 2015 for the 40th anniversary special)
- The Oblongs (2001-2002) - Bob Oblong
- The Office (US) - (2011) - Deangelo Vickers
- The Spoils of Babylon (2014) - Eric Jonrosh
- Welcome to Sweden (2014) - Himself
- The Spoils Before Dying (2015) - Eric Jonrosh
- A Deadly Adoption (2015) - Robert Benson
- You're Welcome, America: A Final Night With George W. Bush (2009) - George W. Bush. Later filmed as a TV special.
- The Ron Burgundy Podcast (2019)
You stay classy, TV Tropes:
- Break the Haughty: Often plays characters who appear tough or have an air of maturity, only to break down in over-the-top anguish when things don't go their way. Ron Burgundy, Jackie Moon, Brennan Huff, Ricky Bobby and Chazz Michal Michaels are only a few examples.
- Bromantic Comedy: One of the many actors who popularized in this kind of movie in the 2000s.
- The Comically Serious: When he's not Chewing the Scenery, he's saying the most ridiculous lines or performing in the most absurd situations imaginable with stone-serious conviction. Highlights include his impression of both Alex Trebek and James Lipton on Saturday Night Live, the former of whom would remain in a constant state of Tranquil Fury amidst his outrageous celebrity guests while the latter would wear a perpetual face of awe without the slightest facial twitch (an in one instance, stayed completely still for several seconds as the audience howled).
- Hidden Depths: Considering the basic personality that is displayed in most of his movies, Stranger Than Fiction is often thought of as exposing this for him.
- Inelegant Blubbering: A common trait of his manchild characters. "I'M IN A GLASS CASE OF EMOTION!!"
- Jerkass: His typical characters are, at best, woefully immature and, at worst, willfully immature.
- The Lad-ette: His portrayal of Janet Reno is summed up with his catchphrase.Janet Reno: (in his deepest voice) "It's time to eat it, Reno style."
- Large Ham: His main forte.
- Manchild: His most common role, to the point that many of them have some sort of Freudian Excuse: for example, Buddy was raised by Christmas elves and, therefore, doesn't know how to function as a human adult while Brennan Huff is a man who still lives with his mother despite pushing 40. Most of his other character of this nature, however, are just too egotistical not to be immature.
- Minor Injury Overreaction: When most of your characters are hammy adult-children prone to Inelegant Blubbering, this is typically the cause. The "HELP ME, JESUS!" bit from Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby is perhaps the most obvious example, as his character runs around screaming that he's burning alive after a minor car accident with minimal damage to the vehicle itself.
- Naked People Are Funny: He seems to enjoy this trope.
- An SNL sketch (on the season 27 episode hosted by Seann William Scott) was framed entirely around Ferrell in a flag emblazoned g-string... which accidentally snapped apart on-camera (thankfully, he had padding on underneath). He later appeared on Conan wearing a similar outfit, with expected results.
- Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby sees him running around in tighty-whitey briefs, while Old School famously has a scene where his character goes streaking, with a clear view of his naked ass.
- Only Sane Man: If he's not playing idiot man-children or egotistical jerks, he's usually playing these. Alex Trebek from SNL's Celebrity Jeopardy skits is a prime example, as he tries to keep the game running while dealing with idiots and jerks with a perpetual demeanor of Tranquil Fury.
- Poe's Law: A Deadly Adoption, which he starred in with Kristen Wiig. It may or may not have been a parody of the Lifetime Movie of the Week.
- Promoted Fanboy: His Sweedish-born wife turned him onto the Eurovision Song Contest early in their relationship, and he became such a huge fan that he eventually co-wrote and starred in a movie based on it.
- Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: He's described by Kevin Smith as "the king of the unfinished thought"—a lot of his performances are characterized by deliberately awkward, stilted lines to indicate that the character isn't quite all there.
- Running Gag: The waterskiing squirrel, from Anchorman to Megamind.
- Screams Like a Little Girl: Does this for many of his roles. And by many, we mean most.
- '70s Hair: His default hairstyle is a curly blonde "white afro." He grew it out for Semi-Pro, though he has a much slicker look for the Anchorman films, both of which are justified in that they're set in the '70s.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: A lot of his characters end up getting hurt or humiliated in numerous ways, but that's usually their own fault.