Comedy with longevity




Will Ferrell is a current leader in the field of comedy with longevity and two successful TV/film/web/ad production companies, Funny or Die and Gary Sanchez. His still

unfolding career is then a great comedy business model for the current market. Each week we will critically view or listen to, in chronological order, a Ferrell or Funny or Die

film, TV show/appearance, ad, webisode, and or podcast. You’ll become acquainted with TV/film title requirements, some industry terminology (primarily comedy terms particular to Ferrell but also a few animation/film/media business terms), and techniques

for entertainment research and documentation. You will use some of these skills in the terminology assignment (40% of grade) and all in the final paper (a Will Ferrell film/topic

of your choice for 60% of grade). Attendance is taken every class session, see rules

below. This is the only Will Ferrell college course in the world and this is the first online! The required text is Ron Russo’s Adult Swim and Comedy 4 (2019); it has a red cover

and is sold on campus at the Barnes and Noble KSU Bookstore in the Student Center,

on the Bb course Home page there is a link on the blue sidebar near the top, “Purchase Course Materials” for online purchase and they will mail it to you. Make sure you read the footnotes, too, in every reading. Weekly readings in small font.

By the end of this course, you should be able to do the following:

1) Identify, with supporting detail, a select group of glossary terms as seen in his work (film, TV shows and appearances, books, podcasts,…); mainly comedy terms, but also a few animation and film.

2) Demonstrate a deep knowledge of Will Ferrell’s catalog.

3) Be aware of product ads within a film or featuring a film star.

4) Be familiar with entertainment research methods and documentation for writing.

The course is divided into two blocks:

Block 1 Become familiar with film/comedy analysis (pause and/or rewatch scenes) and the 12 terms on page 7 of this syllabus.

Block 2 Wide-ranging analysis of your choice (from the textbook); and preparing for the final paper.



Block 1-Get familiar with film analysis and the 12 terms on page 6 of the syllabus

All BbCU Class #1 NBC.COM search “Will Ferrell SNL.” Talk show appearances: Little

Debbie (Toledo), etc. Read in textbook pages 9-12 “The Oblongs,” 60-64 TAEASGJ! and 39-41 “Harvey Birdman, Attorney At Law” (and make sure you read the footnotes, too, in every reading).

Read pages 7-8 “Home Movies,” 13-14
Read pages 57 “Rick and Morty,” 56 “Mongo Wrestling Alliance,”
Read pages 44-47 ATHF, 68 “Delocated,” 20-21 “King of the Hill,” and 65-67 “Check it Out! with Dr. Steve
Read pages 71-72 “Moral Orel,” 69-70

Class #2 Due today: Discussion Board – Introduce Yourself to the Class.

Elf (2003). Clips of Superstar (1999), The Suburbans (1999), & The Ladies Man (2000).

Cord and Tish. Read textbook pgs. 48-9 “Squidbillies,” 28-31 How I Draw, and My Advice and My Story, 15-17 “Family Guy,” 18-19 “Futurama” and 51-52 “The Jellies.”
Class #3 Kicking and Screaming (2005). Animation clips: “The Oblongs,” 2001-02; Curious George (2006); and The Lego Movie series.

“Eagleheart” and 24-26 “The Boondocks.”

Class #4 Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004) and a clip of Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie (2004). Read “12 Oz. Mouse” and The Animation Show. Class #5 Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013, R 2014) with Dodge Durango ads.


Class #6 Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006). Kurt Busch 5/’12. Tim and Eric. John C. Reilly’s Hollywood Walk of Fame poem. “Planes” and “Eggs” from

“Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule.”

54-55 “Metalocalypse,” 76 Live Stream Online Programming, and 77-78 Bumps, Ads, and Promos.

Class #7 (AWP) OCTOBER 13th A Night at the Roxbury (1998).

Class # 8 Step Brothers (2008). Clip of Stan and Ollie (2019). “Eastbound & Down,” 2009 and TV/Film/Web ads: K-Swiss and Old Milwaukee.

“Mission Hill,” and 36-38 “The Brak Show.”

Block 2-General analysis of your choice from the text, and preparation for the final paper

Class #9 (AWP) OCTOBER 27th Megamind (2010). ALSO on

TUESDAY October 27th the Terminology Assignment is due, submit it on Bb!
Class #10 RETURN AND REVIEW THE TERMS ASSIGNMENT. The Campaign (2012). “Between Two Ferns” and trailer for Between Two Ferns: The Movie. Clip of The Concert for New York City (2001). Will Ferrell: You’re Welcome America-A Final Night with George W. Bush (2009). Clips of “A Deadly Adoption,” 2015; or Zoolander (2001) and Zoolander 2 (2016); or “Land of the Lost,” 1974-77 & “Land of


the Lost,” 1991-2, and Land of the Lost (2009); or “Undeclared: Addicts,” 2001; Wedding Crashers (2005), The Internship (2013), and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001).

Read 58-59 “The Venture Bros.” and 34-35 “Space Ghost Coast to Coast.”

Class #12 The Other Guys (2010). Clips of The House (2018), Casa de mi Padre (2012), Everything Must Go (2011), Blades of Glory (2007), and We Hate Hurricanes

(2012). Read pages 42-43 “Sealab 2021” and 80-88 Research and Theory: Cartoonography.


Class #14 Get Hard (2015). Clips of Starsky & Hutch (2004). Holmes and Watson

(2018). Clips of Old School (2003), “The Spoils of Babylon,” 2014 and “The Spoils Before Dying,” 2015.

Class #15 Eurovision (2020). A clip of “Welcome To Sweden,” 2014 and trailers for “The Shrink Next Door” on Apple TV+, Downhill (2020), Daddy’s Home (2015) and Daddy’s
Home 2 (2017). Tuesday DECEMBER 8TH *PRESENT Final research/analysis paper- you’ll talk about it only 60 to 90 seconds each (fun/interesting title and/or thesis, or just a research paper like class notes). Final 4 page research paper plus a bibliography page for a total of near 5 pages, double space/up to 14 font size.

The main topic can focus on a Ferrell film; TV show/episode, including appearances; webisode; podcast; print or digital article; live event; or combination thereof. Isolating a common Ferrell theme, i.e. a part of his comedy brand, can be the thesis, and it can be positive or negative. Comparing and contrasting his work to a historic precedent, a contemporary, or an offshoot is also a good model. Theoretical analysis is another avenue, or analysis of scientific data on gelotology as it applies to Ferrell. Approaches to animation (and film/TV) is on page 91 in the glossary of your textbook and includes the above ideas and several more that can help you put together a strong thesis and supporting argument. Have a statement of purpose in the first paragraph. Discuss whatever intrigues you, but you must support all of your positions with specific examples (evidence) from the works,” …for example, when…” (just like the character stream example with support details from the terms assignment on the following page of this syllabus). Demonstrate some proficiency with comedy terminology (DO use the term correctly in a sentence, DO NOT write out definitions within the body of the paper). Within your bibliography, see example on page 7 here, (which may include articles, interviews, books, podcasts, DVD commentaries/extras, official social media sites, and such) include the number of times you viewed a film/TV episode/webisode since class and if you watched a certain scene many more times include that number. Your own research and analysis, using methodology from class, will score the most points. Adept use of terminology with supporting examples, accurate names and details, and correct


media titles are the standard. Glossary term Approaches to animation is found on page 91 of the textbook – base your final paper on any mix of the items in these five categories that you feel fit your topic or thesis: A) through D), always adhering to TV titles of E). Further paper grading guidelines are covered in class. Note all papers must be G, PG, or PG13, even quotes with expletives need to include one or two replacement symbols, as in your textbook. Please ask questions in class, chat, as fellow classmates may have the same concerns.

Grading policy – If you do not miss more than 3 lectures (this number includes all excused absences) the following is the grade breakdown: the terminology assignment is 40 points (40%) and the research paper is 60 points (60%). If you miss 4 lectures 3 percentage points will be subtracted from your final grade total of 100%; if you miss 5 lectures 6 points will be subtracted; and if you miss 6 lectures 12 points will be subtracted. If you miss the first 3 lectures or 7 total you automatically fail the course. There are also percentage point penalties for repeated tardiness and leaving class early without permission. If you need to leave early, alert me in an email. If you registered late you may have an extra assignment-email professor. At the end of the course, if you’re within a quarter point of the next grade, it will go up if I’m familiar with your name via posts on our discussion board, and/or chat on Bb/AWP/NP. There is no extra credit. The “Raise Hand” icon, little person with hand up next to camera and microphone in BbCU, will be used for weekly attendance.

—–Terminology assignment – three to five pages, double space/up to 14 font size. Type out the following 12 definitions (word for word definitions from pages 89-94 of your textbook) and provide an example from either a film, TV appearance, or webisode

shown during the first eight class sessions. The examples can come from any character in the piece, not just Will. *Use your own examples-do not share with fellow classmates

or you may both have to redo the assignment along with a significant grade penalty.

character stream a long standing live-action film technique that occurs scores of times in most films. Character elements, such as dialogue, sets, traits, and costumes from earlier film/TV/web roles of an actor are fashioned into the scripts of their successive characters, especially if the preceding were successful. It creates a brand identity.

There are multiple character streams from Elf (2003) into Step Brothers (2008). Half brothers, Buddy and Michael, stream into step brothers, Brennan and Dale. Buddy and the latter pair exhibit age inappropriate behavior, for example, adult Buddy sits on a children’s pink pig stool in the corner of his dad’s office while reading a children’s book and raises his hand to ask a question; and adults Dale and Brennan are afraid to walk past an elementary school playground for fear of bullies. Both sets of brothers are at


first not friends but a physical altercation against an aggressor creates a bond, a snowball fight in Elf and a treehouse fight in Step Brothers. [good example]

The fathers are clearly mean to one or both of their sons while the mothers provide support. The same actress, Mary Steenburgen, plays the mother character in both films. [adding more support to the above paragraph is a better example]

Both Elf and Step Brothers include a scene where the brothers set up a Xmas tree in their living room. Buddy is in his elf attire while Dale wears a dark blue and white pullover sweater with a snowflake, holly, and reindeer design, “It was my mom’s, I took the shoulder pads out.” [covering all of the major points of the argument, including a dialogue quote, is the best example]

This example refers back to every element of the definition-dialogue, sets, traits, and costumes. Make sure your names and details are accurate. Lengthy examples need to be in the proper chronological sequence. The description includes who, what, where, why, and if pertinent add how long (time out the gag). Maximum description for maximum points! Titles from film (italics with year in regular text in parenthesis) and TV (the title in quotes, with the year and title in regular text, and a colon before episode title, or initialism/acronym), need to be written out in the correct format (see page 91).

Use these exact 12 Definitions from the 4th edition 8 from the Comedy Glossary: costume-one example includes A) makeup, B) clothes type, and C) props combined; national; physical characteristics; physical humor; regional; and all three speech: A) vocal,

B) tactics, and C) voice actor (pick out one term from within each single letter group, as each letter group has several choices).

3 from the Film Glossary: character stream; and from

Audio: indigenous music and narration/voice-over.

1 from the Animation Glossary: actor/character conflation.


Terms to know for the second half of the semester (NOT a part of the above terms assignment): Comedy- geezer humor, juvenile humor, political humor, and snowball effect; Animation-approaches to animation A) through E), and continuity break; and Film-long shot, and transitional devices.








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