One of the most successful Saturday Night Live alumni since Adam Sandler, John William "Will" Ferrell (born July 16, 1967) 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 Star, Neil Diamond, Robert Goulet, and Janet Reno. And no, Chad Smith is not part of this list.
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.
- 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
- Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1997, 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
- 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 and Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie (2004) Ron Burgundy
- Wedding Crashers (2005) Chazz Reinhold
- Kicking & Screaming (2005) Phil Weston
- The Producers (2005) Franz Liebkind
- 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
- Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013) Ron Burgundy
- 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
- Zoolander 2 (2016) Mugatu
- Daddy's Home 2 (2017) Brad Whittaker
- Holmes & Watson (2018) Sherlock Holmes
- Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (2020)'' (2020) as Lars Erickssong
- The Ron Burgundy Podcast (2019), in which he reprises his role from Anchorman
Tropes exhibited by Will Ferrell:
- Break the Haughty: A regular motif in Anchorman and several other films of his like Step Brothers, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Blades of Glory and Semi-Pro.
- Bromantic Comedy: Almost the king of this trope.
- 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: He does this in almost every movie he's in. This also counts as Manly Tears when appropriate.
- Jerkass: He typically plays these.
- 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: He plays these very typically, to the point that it's his main forte.
- Manchild: He plays these in Elf and Step Brothers.
- Minor Injury Overreaction: This is his second best known act, after the aforementioned man-child trope.
- Naked People Are Funny: He ran around in tighty-whiteys on at least two occasions, and once completely butt-naked.
- 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.
- Only Sane Man: He rarely plays these, but he can step up as one. Alex Trebek from SNL's Celebrity Jeopardy skits is a prime example—he tries to keep the game running while dealing with idiots and jerks.
- 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: After being a fan of the Eurovision Song Contest for decades when his (Swedish) wife introduced him to it, it was announced in March 2019 that he would be co-writing and starring 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: He does this soooo much in most of his films.
- '70s Hair: In Anchorman and Semi-Pro. In general, he likes to grow his hair like this particularly for those roles.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: A lot of his characters end up getting hurt or humiliated in numerous ways, but that's usually their own fault.