Will Ferrell is set to host Saturday Night Live on Jan. 27, and he teamed up with musical guest Chris Stapleton for a last-minute promo.
The new teaser features the two men standing on the iconic set of SNL cracking a couple of off-the-cuff jokes. Ferrell, one of the show's most successful former cast members, rattles off the title of a fictitious morning radio show.
"I think it's on NBC," says Stapleton.
"You're right," Ferrell says with a straight face.
The promo cuts to another take, with Ferrell launching into a bit about wine preferences between the two men.
This kind of fast-paced improvisational comedy is what Ferrell's career is built on. Ferrell cut his teeth with The Groundlings, an improv and sketch comedy group famous for producing Hollywood icons since the early 1970s. The rigorous program prepared Ferrell for the infamously exhausting production schedule of SNL.
Ferrell joined SNL during a downward trend in ratings and helped build the show back up. He was hired after producers saw him perform with The Groundlings. He did some of the most lasting and universally loved skits in the show's history, including the cowbell sketch and Celebrity Jeopardy. Other promos for this week's show seem to promise to revisit those premises.
Yet most of the work Ferrell is best known for came after SNL, and was built on the same experience. On the set of his movies, his co-stars reportedly improvised quite often. There were rumors that his movie Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, hardly resembled the script by the time it was finished.
To his credit, Chris Stapleton kept his cool throughout the short promo ad. The singer-songwriter isn't much of an improv type — he's known for meticulously crafted lyrics and thoughtful country tunes. Yet he handled his time on screen with the gregarious Will Ferrell like a pro, not even balking when Ferrell referred to him as "a rosé guy."
This week is the 14th episode in SNL's 43rd season. The show remains the most-watched live telecast on Saturday nights consistently, especially during politically charged times.
Photo Credit: NBC/ Rosalind O'Connor