Will Ferrell finished out his run on Saturday Night Live way back in 2002, but his last week on NBC’s long-running series made a huge impression on then newbie staff member Seth Meyers. Ferrell recently visited Late Night with Seth Meyers, where the night host recounted Will Ferrell’s very last SNL pitch. It’s really, really funny. Here’s what Meyers had to say:
We only overlapped for a year and it was your last show. At pitch, everyone goes around and says an idea. You brought in an old-timey typewriter, which you had never done before, and as people were pitching, you were typing as if it was your job. So people would be like, ‘I had this idea where it’s a wedding but the wrong wedding being held…’ and [you’d] just ding. It was so great.
The idea of just having the gall to totally create chaos during the pitch meeting is hilarious enough, but that’s only half the story. In fact, Meyers says that eventually showrunner Lorne Michaels actually got to Will Ferrell and asked him to pitch his final idea, to which he had this response:
Lorne went around the room, and you were usually in the first third, and he put you last. I just remember he said ‘Will,” and you just went [makes typing noises]. Then you read your own notes and said, ‘I think we’re good.’
I’ve always wished I could be a fly on the wall in the Saturday Night Live writing room to see how the seeds of ideas begin to come together and germinate into something meaningful and hopefully really funny. This story perfectly demonstrates why SNL should be a fun place to work, despite the long hours and the many challenges of creating a TV series. And while Will Ferrell’s response is just a wee bit disrespectful to his fellow cast and creative team members, that’s also why the joke really works. Plus, by the time Will Ferrell was prepping to leave Saturday Night Live, he was the highest paid cast member and the big man on campus. When you’re not the new guy (as Seth Meyers was), you can get away with typewriter jokes.
Seth Meyers is a pretty good storyteller, so if you’d like to hear the story in his own words, you can check it out, below.
Obviously Will Ferrell’s final days on the set of Saturday Night Live went a whole lot better than his audition, which he has described as “terrible.” Seven years and a few iconic impressions later, Will Ferrell moved on to more cinematic enterprises, making a career out of movies like Elf, Step Brothers and Anchorman. In the time since, he’s still managed to come back and appear in SNL a few times, nodding at his roots on the iconic series. Catch him right now in theaters in Zoolander 2.
Late Night with Seth Meyers airs on weeknights at 12:35 p.m. ET.