Should you approach Will Ferrell in public, if he’s out to dinner with his dad or walking through a downtown hotel, don’t expect to parry with the blowhard newscaster from “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” or the ludicrously driven speed demon from “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” or perhaps most notably, his version of drawling, bumbling George W. Bush.
“I know I am continually letting people down when they come up to me,” says Ferrell, 45. “They approach me with the sense of, ‘He’s going to do something funny.’ I don’t feel any pressure to have to do it. Sometimes you’re in a mood to be playful. Other times you have to be somewhere or you have your family. I have no problem with going, in a polite way, ‘I have to go.’ When someone yells out a line from a movie I’ve done, a lot of times I can’t remember what the line is.”
Adds fellow comedian Zach Galifianakis, 42, a man instantly recognizable by the facial hair he sported as socially awkward weirdo Alan in both “Hangover” films: “It’s an asymmetrical relationship. I am not the guy from ‘The Hangover,’ and people expect that. They think of you as a cartoon character.
“And they’re disappointed when you want to go about your business and urinate.”
Comedians are onlookers who cull their material from the mundane yet often absurd stuff they see happening around them. And for Ferrell — who, mostly because of his height, can’t hide in plain sight — and Galifianakis, fame is a strange beast. It’s the currency that lets them make films they want while inhibiting the very skills that made them funny in the first place.
“Attention is not what we’re used to,” Galifianakis says. “I want to observe. I had a really bad attitude about it a couple of years ago…
Read more: Detroit Free Press