Lorne Michaels Doesn’t Rank ‘SNL’ Cast Members, But Will Ferrell Is ‘Definitely’ In His ‘Top Two Or Three’

Will Ferrell is one of the best comedic actors of his time, and according to his former boss he was so good on Saturday Night Live that his work makes Lorne Michaels break his own rules about ranking all-time castmembers. Ferrell has since moved on to a lucrative career in Hollywood, but his stint on NBC’s late night mainstay is legendary at this point.

And though he’s returned as a frequent host in the years since, Michaels says Ferrell’s work while he was working in Studio 8H is among the best he’s ever seen. Which is a big deal because, well, he’s hired them all. Asked about Ferrell as part of a Hollywood Reporter feature, the SNL creator and showrunner described the superstar as the most annoying newcomer” when he joined the cast in 1995. But that soon became a moniker he wore with pride on his way to being, in Michael’s opinion, one of the best in show history.

From the outside, whatever contingency planning was going on should have come to an end in 1995, when Lorne Michaels hired him on Saturday Night Live — even if one prominent critic had called Ferrell “the most annoying newcomer,” which he wore like a badge of honor. In fact, Ferrell had the descriptor mounted on a nameplate and hung on his office door. “You have a choice with that stuff: to read it and believe it,” he says, “or to just laugh at it but also kind of dig in and go, ‘Oh, you hate me? You haven’t even begun to hate me.’ And that’s my competitive side, that, ‘Oh, just wait, I’m going to go at it even harder.’” (For the record, Michaels never wavered on his pick: “I never rank, but Will’s definitely in the top two or three that have ever done the show,” he says. “There’s no question.”)

It’s certainly high praise considering the long list of legends who appeared in the show’s golden years, let alone the heavy hitters who joined Ferrell in the show’s late 90s resurgence. But it’s one of the many high compliments Ferrell gets in the piece, which is certainly worth a full read just to see very famous people all saying very nice things about Will Ferrell.

[via The Hollywood Reporter]