Will Ferrell received the 14th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on Sunday. Ferrell was named a one-of-a-kind performer or by former SNL co-star Molly Shannon. “He’s really observant and sweet. He really sees people,” she said of Will. Another SNL member, Andy Samberg said “There are the players that play, and there are the superstars. He’s clearly one of those people … He’s a thinking man’s comic.”
“He’s brought the theater of the absurd to the masses … He’s a real artist. … A strange (guy), in a great way,” Jack Black said. Other friends and colleagues, including John C. Reilly, Paul Rudd and Matthew Broderick were on hand to celebrate Ferrell in a toast/roast of his career to date.
“It’s almost too much to handle,” a velvet-jacket-clad Ferrell said. “When you look at the past recipients … this is one of the awards that truly honors the art form (of humor).” The actor said he’s been fortunate to have a varied career. “I’ve gotten to do a multitude of things, and I’ve been given many opportunities.”Still, there’s one thing on his to-do list. “I’m still hoping to start my own Kabuki dinner theater, because everyone loves Kabuki and everyone loves dinner theater. It’s a market waiting to be tapped into.”
Black kicked the evening off with a rocking rendition of Queen’s We Will Rock You, the words appropriately changed to “Will will rock you.” “That was my idea. I wrote that,” said a huffing and puffing Black when the music stopped. “I mean it, too. Will will rock you, and I’ve been saying it for years. “Ed Asner, who co-starred as Santa in Elf, called Ferrell the “sweetest guy … In a way, he is the elf he played in the movie.” Asner introduced one of his favorite scenes from Elf: Buddy’s first moments in New York.
Ferrell thanked “the wonderful people who spoke or performed tonight on my behalf.” He said that if others ever need someone to speak on their behalf, he is “probably unavailable.”He also thanked his wife, Viveca, for the wonderful life they have together, “except sometimes, you get a little lippy. You’ve got a big mouth, and you like to run it,” he joked.
Will Ferrell: The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize will air next Monday on PBS.
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