Will Ferrell spent seven years on NBC’s Saturday Night Live. During that time, he churned out a ton of original characters as well as impressions, including George W. Bush and Alex Trebek. Ferrell is widely considered among the top-notch tier of SNL cast members, and it’s easy to see why. However, that doesn’t mean there’s not a character or two that Ferrell regrets presenting on the late night sketch series. During a recent episode of Watch What Happens Live, Ferrell revealed he absolutely hated spoofing former CNN CEO Ted Turner. Here’s what he had to say:
Oh, this will make no sense, but they wanted me to play Ted Turner, the former owner of CNN. And I had no take on him whatsoever. And people were trying to convince me, ‘No, you’re good, you do a good Ted Turner. And they just put a cowboy hat on me and I’m like, ‘Hi, I’m Ted Turner. And uh…’ and it was horrible.
After Ferrell relates the story of what he feels to be his worst SNL impression, fellow guest Maya Rudolph told him that all that matters is that Ted Turner liked the impression. She was totally joking around during the Watch What Happens Live episode, but it’s fun to see Ferrell misinterpret her joke as a serious comment for a half second.
You can give Ferrell’s version of the CNN founder and superstation pioneer a watch, below. There are other big names in business who are parodied in the video, but you can’t miss Ferrell’s Turner, who pops up partway though and then attempts to do the “Live from New York” bit that is always a part of the cold opening.
While Ferrell may not love his impression, the good news is he’s not as connected culturally with Ted Turner as that of Saturday Night Live’s other former cast member Will Forte who has played Ted Turner with real verve on Conan for the last several years. That version’s even wilder and more over-the-top, but at least you can argue that Forte had an angle on the character, one that Ferrell apparently feels he didn’t have.
I’m not going to say that Ferrell’s Ted Turner is the weakest SNL impression we’ve ever seen, but maybe that’s simply due to Will Ferrell’s superior ability to crush out on Saturday Night Live during his tenure. What’s important is that Ferrell himself thought the impression was on the weak side, and he clearly still feels that way nearly two decades later.
If you didn’t catch last nights Watch What Happens Live, you can hop over to the next page to catch the full segment…