If you’re like us, you’re probably looking forward to catching up with Ron Burgundy and the rest of the Channel Four News team in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. Though technically, it’s the third film in the Anchorman series. There’s actually a little-seen “lost” sequel that predates Anchorman 2 by nearly a decade.
Released as a DVD extra in 2004, Wake Up Ron Burgundy is a “spiritual sequel” to Anchorman created from deleted scenes and alternate takes. Of course, the improv-heavy comedies from the Adam McKay/Judd Apatow factory are notorious for leaving tons of stuff on the cutting room floor. But Anchorman dumped an entire plot line involving a team of wannabe revolutionaries called The Alarm Clock who rob banks and kidnap Veronica. So McKay added new narration and stitched all the footage together into a narrative that is actually pretty good. If nothing else, it serves as a fun companion piece to Anchorman, sort of a “what if?”movie that features some of today’s biggest comedy stars in early roles. Here’s why you should give Wake Up Ron Burgundy a look before seeing Anchorman 2.
It’s basically a sequel.
The plot of Wake Up Ron Burgundy picks up right where Anchorman leaves off, with Ron co-anchoring the news with his lady love Veronica Corningstone. Ron and the news team still like to party, but now they face a new threat in the form of The Alarm Clock, a Weather Underground-esque group of bank robbers who can’t quite figure out what they’re rebelling against.
While some scenes are alternate versions of ones you loved in the first film, the movie flows far better than you might expect. Sure, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense that Ron and the news team would haze Veronica a second time, but comedy sequels are notorious for rehashing scenes and gags that worked the first time out. Wake Up Ron Burgundy feels like the kind of quickie sequel we would’ve gotten had Ferrell and McKay jumped right into Anchorman 2 instead of waiting nearly a decade to bring the characters back. Basically, it’s the Wayne’s World 2 of the Anchorman series — you get a lot of what you’ve seen before, but with some memorable additions.
The Alarm Clock is filled with familiar faces.
Besides Maya Rudolph — who hilariously channels Pam Grier as a would-be revolutionary named Kanshasha X — The Alarm Clock counts Chuck D (Malcolm Y), Tara Subkoff (Mouse), and Kevin Corrigan (Paul) among its members. The scene where the members argue over what their message is is enough to make us want an Alarm Clock spin-off movie.
Amy Poehler has a great cameo
Poehler, an SNL cast member at the time, turns up as a bank teller who questions the point of the random masks worn by the Alarm Clock members. (“Do you hate Lincoln?”) Since the Alarm Clock plot was dropped, Poehler was unfortunately left on the cutting room floor.
Justin Long plays Fred Willard’s son
One running joke in Anchorman involves producer Ed Harken (Fred Willard) dealing with increasingly distressing phone calls about his teenage son’s troubling behavior. In Wake Up Ron Burgundy, we get to see the son, who is played by Justin Long in a fun cameo.
Mr. Rosso from Freaks and Geeks plays a creepy fan.
Dave “Gruber” Allen, who played the hippie dippie guidance counselor on Freaks and Geeks, turns up as a skeevy guy who interrupts Ron and Veronica’s dinner to ask about their bedroom skills and offer up his boudoir photography services. (Eagle-eyed viewers will spot Dave Allen as a diner in the restaurant scene in the theatrical cut of Anchorman.)
Chad Everett as Jess Moondragon
Yes, we get to meet Ron Burgundy’s mentor in Wake Up Ron Burgundy. Watch him describe the filthy things he’d do to Mother Nature in the clip above.
The line “I’m having a fondue party. In my pants.”
Laura Kightlinger is briefly seen in Anchorman as Donna, the news team’s tape girl. She gets an entire scene in Wake Up Ron Burgundy, where she awkwardly flirts with Veronica and utters the above hilarious pick-up line.
“Rip the Lid Off It”
Ron tries to get more serious with his hard-hitting segment “Rip the Lid Off It.” (Of course he steals Veronica’s lead in the process.) Still, Ron is a natural at the “running up to a subject and shoving a microphone in their face” style of reporting.
More Brick Tamland
While most of the strongest Brick moments ended up in Anchorman, the news team’s dumbest member still has some good lines in Wake Up Ron Burgundy. (Brick after a party: “I ate a whole bunch of fiberglass insulation. It wasn’t cotton candy like that guy said.”) There’s also a scene where he eats a used coffee filter filled with cigarette butts, which you should watch above.
You haven’t heard every joke a million times.
As much as we love Anchorman, watching it now is admittedly a bit underwhelming considering that every joke has been rehashed verbatim by friends, annoying coworkers, on Reddit threads, in every meme, etc. Just think — now you have a whole new movie filled with quotes to run into the ground once you get tired of Anchorman 2.
You can watch Wake Up Ron Burgundy on the Anchorman “Rich Mahogany Edition” Blu-ray or right here until it inevitably gets yanked.