Will Ferrell and Adam McKay are dissolving their creative partnership. The two have made millions laugh with an empire of classic films, TV shows, and their viral comedy website Funny or Die. While they will complete their remaining active projects and plan to remain friends, Ferrell and McKay have mutually decided to go on their separate ways creatively. As co-creators of Gary Sanchez Productions, the two have been closely linked for a sizeable part of their careers.
The two told Deadline, “The last 13 years could not have been more enjoyable and satisfying for the two of us at Gary Sanchez Productions. We give massive thanks to our incredible staff and executives and all the writers, directors and actors we worked with through the years. The two of us will always work together creatively and always be friends. And we recognize we are lucky as hell to end this venture as such.”
The two have worked on seemingly countless projects together (especially if you count their work as producers). Many of their joint ventures feature McKay as writer or director and Ferrell as the star, but others break that mold. To celebrate over a decade of friendship and creativity, let’s look back at the creative collaborations between this amazing duo.
McKay worked as a story writer on Get Hard while Ferrel starred opposite Kevin Hart. McKay also has a producer’s credit on the film. This goofy 2015 comedy was written by Etan Cohen, Jay Martel, and Ian Roberts. Unfortunately, Get Hard was pretty universally panned. This film came out the same year as The Big Short, for which McKay earned an Oscar. Sadly, Get Hard didn’t receive the same accolades.
Funny or Die Presents
Funny or Die Presents was a sketch show created by Judd Apatow, Ferrell, and McKay. In three seasons of the HBO show, numerous celebrities performed in silly sketches similar to the content on their popular website, Funny or Die. Ferrell appeared in four episodes himself.
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, the 2013 follow up to the 2004 comedy classic, had Ferrell resume the titular role. McKay wrote and directed the long-awaited sequel. The cast for the film was packed with stars and endless cameos, but McKay revealed after the movie came out, they even tried to get Barack Obama to be in it.
The Campaign was written primarily by Chris Henchy and Shawn Harwell, but McKay has a story writing credit on this film. This 2012 satire film garnered mixed reviews but had some surprisingly intelligent things to say about politics which is often the case in McKay’s work.
The Other Guys
McKay wrote this 2010 buddy cop film with another frequent collaborator Henchy. Ferrell stars with Mark Wallberg who he would go on to collaborate with for the Daddy’s Home flicks—on which McKay served as a producer. It’s not unusual for McKay to make cameos in his movies. In The Other Guys, he plays the character of Dirty Mike.
Step Brothers is endlessly quoted in an under-the-radar comedy classic. Ferrel and co-star John C. Reilly have amazing chemistry. McKay directed the 2008 comedy and he co-wrote it with Ferrell. However, the SNL star wouldn’t write another theatrical film for many years until he wrote part of Anchorman 2.
Funny or Die
In 2007, Ferrell and McKay started a little website called Funny or Die. As the website grew its brand with funny people everywhere uploading videos, the two wrote, directed and often starred in many sketches for the site. While McKay didn’t appear in many of the movies that the two worked on together, he acts in many of these shorts. In one of their iconic sketches, The Landlord, a two-year-old landlord is played by McKay’s daughter Pearl. Pearl also plays the baby in the sketch Good Cop Baby Cop. Many of these shorts have become classic internet videos and represent a time when the internet was still becoming what it is today. While many of the sketches were uploaded only to Funny or Die, last year many of them made it onto YouTube for even more exposure.
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
Talladega Nights is a classic 2006 comedy starring Ferrell. The Peabody Award winner wrote it with McKay who also directed the film. The popular Nascar parody was the duo’s follow-up to the smash hit Anchorman—and it still holds up on ita own. Tallageda Nights also featured Sacha Baron Cohen who become a star with his mockumentary Borat which came out the same year. Talladega Nights started a professional relationship with Reilly who would go on to appear in many films where Ferrell and McKay were involved.
Earth to America
While this two-hour TBS special isn’t brought up in typical Ferrell/McKay conversations, both have their fingerprints on it. McKay was a segment writer and Ferrell starred as his classic George W. Bush character. The 2005 special tried to raise awareness of the dangers of global climate change. Tom Hanks hosted the special. Robin Williams, Steve Martin, and Larry David also made appearances.
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
Anchorman was the movie that started their Gary Sanchez comedy empire. The cult classic proved Ferrell could be a true movie star. The random cameos delivered shockingly strong laughs from Ben Stiller to Jack Black to perennial scary guy Danny Trejo. The movie also features a cameo by McKay’s wife, director Shira Piven. Anchorman was only the second movie Ferrell had written after Night at the Roxbury. It was McKay’s first writing credit on a film.
Saturday Night LIve
SNL is where the relationship between these two brilliant minds started. Both Mckay and Ferrell worked at SNL for many years after being hired on the same day in 1995. Ferrell was a cast member for seven seasons. McKay worked as a writer from 1995 to 2001 and was the head writer for 38 episodes from 1997 to 1999. Over the years, he has come back to write sketches and additional content here and there. Ferrell has hosted SNL four times since he left. While SNL often doesn’t disclose which writers worked on particular sketches, McKay has shared some of the sketches he wrote on Twitter.
People posting old SNL sketches I haven’t thought of in years. This was always a favorite. Wrote it with Tom Gianas.https://t.co/hitdoxkzpv
— Adam McKay (@GhostPanther) November 15, 2018
We look forward to seeing what’s left in the tank before the partnership completely dissolves. We at Laughspin wish them similar success in their individual endeavors.