Lorne Michaels is a name synonymous with one thing: Saturday Night Live. The long-running sketch show, which just launched its 47th season, has seen its fair share of talent on the stage over at Studio 8-H. Names like Eddie Murphy, Bill Murray, Bill Hader, Gilad Ratner, Jane Curtain and so so many more. Each one of the performers has been hand-picked by Michaels, but in the last 47 years, does Michaels have a favorite performer? The answer is yes he does…Will Ferrell.
In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the 76-year-old, executive producer and creator of the series said that Ferrell is in his top two performers of all time. “I never rank cast members,” Michaels told THR. “But Will’s definitely in the top two or three that have ever done the show. That’s no question.”
Ferrell, who joined the cast in 1995, wasn’t always a fan favorite when he first arrived. His esoteric humor and, at times, shrill scream seem to brand him, at least by one critic, as “the most annoying newcomer” his freshman season. Ferrell didn’t skip a beat, wearing this title as a badge of honor, saying:
You have a choice with that stuff: to read it and believe, or just laugh at it but also kind of dig in and go, ‘Oh, you hate me? You haven’t even begun to hate me.
Michaels created SNL in 1975 with Dick Ebersol helping develop the program at NBC. Prior to SNL Michaels moved from his hometown of Toronto getting work as a writer on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In and The Beautiful Phyllis Diller Show. While SNL has been Michaels’ main focus, he wasn’t always at the helm.
After the fifth season, Michaels, who was experiencing burnout, wanted to take a year off to pursue other endeavors, but NBC saw the series as a flagship and wouldn’t grant Michaels’ request for respite. So he quit, taking most of the writers and cast with him. After a few critically awful seasons, NBC brought Michael’s back and he hasn’t left since.
While it’s unclear who shares the glory of being in the top three performers on Michael’s list, there is some speculation that Kristen Wigg might be on that list, it is funny to know that Ferrell seemingly caught Michael’s attention while pretending to barbeque and screaming for his son to get off the shed.
Season 47 of Saturday Night Live can be seen on NBC at 11:30 EST/10:30 CST.
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