In the runup to Saturday Night Live‘s epic 40th Anniversary special, we’ve seen surprising announcements, an immense (though incomplete) marathon, and a fan vote to select the best sketch from the ’70s, the ’80s, the ’90s, and now the 2000s. And though it was up against stiff competition like “Debbie Downer”, “Lazy Sunday”, and “Dick in a Box”, the end result feels like it was fated to be, because what the world needs, is just a little more cowbell.
Written by Donnell Campbell and Will Ferrell, “More Cowbell” is among SNL‘s silliest and most everlasting sketches, featuring Ferrell’s bare-muffined-midriff as he whacks the sh*t out of a cowbell to the annoyance of his Blue Oyster Cult bandmates and the delight of Christopher Walken, who has a fever that only more cowbell can fix.
I can’t even imagine the impetus for this sketch. One doesn’t hear “Don’t Fear the Reaper” and think, “What’s the story with the cowbell?” — or at least they didn’t used to. And Walken’s inclusion just makes it feel like the perfect storm. I couldn’t imagine anyone else shouting about “golden diapers” and his need for “more cowbell!”
Ferrell resurrected his Gene Frenkle character to join Queen’s of the Stone Age on stage for a rendition of “Little Sister” during season 30. Is it possible that we’ll see him one more time during the 40th Anniversary Special? It almost seems certain, doesn’t it?