Will Ferrell on His South Coast Repertory Acting Class and Pay-to-Play Standup at Golden Bear
"I would start by singing the theme song to Star Trek. The whole [in falsetto:] aaaaaaaaa-aaaahhhhh, aaa-aaa-aaa ahh-ahhhhh .... But I'd sing the whole thing. Aaaaaaaaa-aaaahhhhh, aaa-aaa-aaa ahh ahhhhh. That would usually get applause or some reaction. And then [I'd say] I was originally the singer and I don't have any testicles."
Paramount Pictures Corp. Stayin' classy
-Will Ferrell, to WTF podcaster Marc Maron, on our Holiday Film Issue 2013 cover boy's first performance on stage at the Golden Bear in Huntington Beach.
Earlier, we brought you Ferrell talking with Maron about his Righteous Brothers' bandleader father, watching Irvine Improv open-mic performers from the back of the club and life in his "Park Watts Apartments."
The best way to consume the interview is not by reading the transcript below but by listening to the entire podcast at WTF with Marc Maron: Episode 450 - Will Ferrell.
The following snippet from that time-capsule worthy interview began with Ferrell explaining to Maron that while he wanted to be in front of the camera while pursuing a broadcasting degree at USC, he had no desire to go out and actually report stories. So he also studied acting.
MARC MARON: In LA? In town?
WILL FERRELL: In ... down in Orange County ... South Coast Repertory theater, which is a big rep theater, and my mom gave me a nine week scene study class as a Christmas present. And so I took the class and ...
So you took this class and you're like 19 years old?
And who's in that class?
Housewives [both laugh] and local Orange County actors and ...
So you're doing scenes with a woman ...
... and she's like hit the wall at home ...
... and she's trying to make her life relevant again?
And yet I loved it. It was fascinating. And then I was trying ... and I enrolled in a standup comedy workshop.
Oh, who taught that?
Hmm, usually I know the failed comic who embarks on that.
You would never know this guy.
So this was the, as my mom terms it, the graduate school portion of my life because she said you can live at home for free as long as you are moving forward doing these things, so very progressive ...
Pursuing the dream.
Yeah, or something.
What was your brother doing?
He was in school. He was three years behind me.
So Steve Klasky comedy workshops at Irvine Valley College, which took place in a junior high classroom where there was a mic and Peavey amp.
Plugged into the guitar amp directly?
Exactly. And once again, the first class 30 people were in the class and everyone had to get up on the mic and introduce themselves. The second class it was down to 20. By the third class, there were just eight of us. And you're just doing your act into a microphone, and he's not really equipped to critique you in any way.
[Giggling] What did he do?
He's a comic himself but the thing I noticed in a course description is it ended in a performance at the Golden Bear down in Huntington Beach.
I was like, OK, this will force me to get up on stage.
Not even in a comedy club but the Golden Bear.