'Saturday Night Live': Will Ferrell Plays Characters Old and New in Hosting Return

Will Ferrell during the opening monologue in Studio 8H on Saturday Night Live on Jan. 27, 2018.
 Will Heath/NBC

Will Ferrell during the opening monologue in Studio 8H on Saturday Night Live on Jan. 27, 2018.

Will Ferrell returned to Saturday Night Live on Jan 27 to host for his fourth time, joined by musical guest Chris Stapleton.

In his fourth time hosting Saturday Night Live, Ferrell entered Studio 8H with a fake cut on his head to do his opening monologue. It was a musical number gone awry, a very eager Ferrell singing his way through a joyous tune after informing the audience he had hit his head on a steel beam and becoming increasingly loopier.

“What do you say we go on a trip around the studio?” he declared before realizing “I’m tired. I can’t walk. I can’t see.”

“Dude, you need to go to the hospital,” an audience member remarked. “Lorne Michaels, everyone!” Ferrell declared.

Cast members Cecily Strong and Kenan Thompson came to retrieve Ferrell, who then incorrectly introduced Matchbox 20 as the musical guest instead of Chris Stapleton. “You guys do too many song openings,” an exasperated Ferrell said, gasping for breath. He was then wheeled off on a gurney.

Ferrell was an SNL cast member from 1995 to 2002, and NBC released his original audition tape for the show earlier this week in anticipation of his return to hosting. The audition tape shows Ferrell doing his impressions of sportscaster Harry Caray and Senator Ted Kennedy, who he went on to impersonate over his tenure on the show.

While Ferrell has made many guest appearances on the show since his departure, it has been almost three years since his last appearance in 2015, when he reprised his well known impersonation of President George W. Bush in a cold open in which Ferrell’s Bush announced he was running for a third presidential term and ripped into the GOP nominees at the time.

Ferrell’s first sketch of the evening featured him as a fighter pilot whose call sign was “Clown Penis” and mostly just got as much mileage as possible out of making people say “clown penis” repeatedly. It’s not the first time “clown penis” has been the hook of an SNL sketch. A Chris Parnell-starring commercial spoof from 1999 also used “clown penis” as a punchline.

Ferrell also starred alongside Beck Bennett and Kyle Mooney in a spoof of reality series like Big Brother. Mooney, Bennett, and Ferrell played up very mundane situations as dramatic, playing on the ways editing and exaggerated testimonials ramp up the drama on reality shows.

Later, Kate McKinnon joined Ferrell in playing two octogenarians attempting to film a commercial for a roadside diner who are incapable of saying their very simple lines, resulting in very silly gibberish.

Farrell also played Gareth, a Southwest airlines flight attendant who kept interjecting the crew’s upbeat rap about plane safety with very forward and nihilistic warnings about the permanence of death.

During “Weekend Update,” Ferrell reprised his old recurring character Jacob Silj, a man incapable of modulating the volume of his voice.

In the final sketch of the night, Ferrell played Chucky Lee Byrd, an old-school singer whose jaunty tunes were all about loving underaged girls. McKinnon and Beck Bennett played two people uneasily promoting his album that included songs like “Crusing In My Windowless Van,” “Simple Girl From Across The Street” and “Our Love Is A Crime.”

This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.


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