One of Bob Dylan’s greatest songs, “Blind Willie McTell,” was recorded in 1983 during the sessions for Infidels, but it wasn’t released until eight years later as part of The Bootleg Series. “Most likely it was a demo, probably showing the musicians how it should go,” Dylan once explained when asked why he left it off the album. “It was never developed fully, I never got around to completing it. There wouldn’t have been any other reason for leaving it off the record.”
“Gus Chiggins, Old Prospector” is Will Ferrell’s “Blind Willie McTell.”
Ferrell has starred in numerous classic SNL sketches, like “Space, The Infinite Frontier” and every “Celebrity Jeopardy,” but one of his funniest moments didn’t even make it to air. “Gus Chiggins, Old Prospector” (which, if I remember correctly, was featured on his SNL best-of collection on DVD) is about an old prospector named — you guessed it — Gus Chiggins who’s deploying to Afghanistan with a troop of American soldiers. But that flimsy premise is really just an excuse for Ferrell to say things like, “Oh peaches” and, “I’ve been called dirty, lazy, smelly, shifty, cooky, spooky, and Chinese. But one thing I ain’t never been called is dumb.” No one, not even just Jimmy Fallon, can keep it together.
“Gus Chiggins, Old Prospector” holds special significance to Seth Meyers. “This was my third week at SNL,” he tweeted. “It was a month after 9/11 and the week someone sent anthrax to NBC. Everyone was scared and losing their minds. But for these six minutes I didn’t think of anything but how f*cking lucky I was to be in this sketch.” And now we’re lucky that it’s finally on YouTube.
SNL also uploaded a video of the current cast sharing their favorite Ferrell memories.