There’s good news and good news. This fall, Netflix will turn Zach Galifianakis’ Hollywood parody talk show into a feature film, with Between Two Ferns: The Movie. As huge fans of awkward silences, celebrities being insulted, and Zach Galifianakis, we can’t wait to see it. The other good news is that this is also a perfect excuse for us to re-watch every episode of the series – again. Here are all twenty episodes of Between Two Ferns ranked from least-best to best-best.
A few installments either aren’t listed by Funny or Die as normal episodes or don’t qualify for obvious reasons, but they are still must-watches.
Happy Holidays Edition
A very calm Samuel L. Jackson, a very smug Tobey Maguire, and all 900 members of Arcade Fire make for a loaded lineup in a perfectly silly holiday special that isn’t listed as a normal episode despite being normal length. All that really matters, though, is that it makes us laugh.
James Franco and The Lonely Island
This is an amazing Lonely Island music video perfectly wrapped around a hilarious installment of Between Two Ferns (which directly ties into the video). This interview with James Franco would be in our top five if it were a normal episode, because the way Galifianakis goes after Franco is incredible and relentless.
Between Two Ferns: A Fairytale of New York
This Comedy Central special is the longest installment Between Two Ferns has done, with a series of interviews with some very famous people: Tina Fey, Richard Branson, and Jon Stewart. It’s hard to find the entire episode online, but even these brief clips are fantastic.
Now for the official episodes.
20. Sean Penn (Ep. 10)
When this is your “worst” episode, you’re doing something right. Zach’s fictional brother Seth does get Penn to threaten his life, but for the most part the notoriously humorless Penn is let off the hook. This is the most wasted potential of any episode, even if it’s still pretty decent.
19. Conan O’Brien and Andy Richter (Ep. 7)
With these three, you’d expect this to be an all-timer, but it’s just okay as Conan does most of the heavy lifting as one of the most “sincere” guests in show history. The more Conan “bombs,” the funnier it gets, and there’s a great cameo at the end.
18. Charlize Theron (Ep. 6)
This is one of the weirdest episodes thanks to Charlize Theron’s very bizarre performance. The whole thing is strange, and not in the normal way Between Two Ferns is, though it starts to pay off towards the end as Galifianakis’ confusion leads him to wrongly assume what is going on.
17. Bradley Cooper (Ep. 5)
Outside of one great segment here—a physical battle that comes at the end—The Hangover co-stars deliver a pretty underwhelming, mediocre episode. It’s not bad, but it’s just not good, and without the slap fight finish this might rank last. Don’t worry, though; Bradley Cooper returned for an all-time great episode.
16. Jon Hamm (Ep. 3)
This is a funny episode, with a very early Mad Men Jon Hamm, where nothing memorable happens. As soon as it ends you’ll forget what happened, except maybe for Galifianakis saying he’s allergic to ferns, one of the show’s best lines ever.
15. Jennifer Aniston and Tila Tequila (Ep. 12)
This dual interview, where Jennifer Aniston is less than an afterthought to a former reality star, is consistently enjoyable throughout even if there aren’t many big laughs to be found.
14. Justin Bieber (Ep. 16)
The good: Bieber lets Galifianakis go after him for some terrible things, like Bieber’s disastrous trip to Anne Frank’s house, and it makes for a funny interview. The bad: Galifianakis carries all of the comedy and it would be even better with Bieber more involved.
13. Brad Pitt (Ep. 18)
This is another episode that gets better and better as it goes along, thanks to a very game Brad Pitt who goes from stoic to insane. Galifianakis’ line about a “Ross and Rachel” relationship is also genuinely amazing. (A cameo from Louis C.K. isn’t as much fun now as it may have been once.)
12. Barack Obama (Ep. 17)
Yes, Between Two Ferns interviewed the sitting President of the United States in the actual White House and it didn’t make the top 10. Despite how amazing an accomplishment this was it’s still just a good-not-great episode. Obama is really funny and has a great sense of humor, letting Galifianakis make fun of him for lots of things, but this is also largely an ad for the ACA. On its own merits, this is a good spot for this installment, even if it might be the most must-see episode in show history.
11. Hillary Clinton (Ep. 19)
This hilarious interview with Hillary Clinton, which is far more vicious and hysterical than his one with Obama, was a lot funnier in September of 2016 when it debuted. Has time and the horrors of real life knocked it down a few spots since then? Unfortunately.
10. Michael Cera (Ep. 1)
The very first episode just cracks the top 10 thanks to a wildly inappropriate final segment that is also wildly funny. The sweet (non-This Is the End version) Michael Cera was a perfect foil for the mean Galifianakis, and it culminates in the most uncomfortable showdown in Between Two Ferns history.
9. Natalie Portman and Her Dog (Ep. 4)
This cringe-inducing interview, where Galifianakis asks far-too-personal questions and hits on Natalie Portman, is a perfect example of how the show parodies the worst of Hollywood, and still feels way too relevant in 2019. The first half isn’t great, but his V for Vendetta question is an all-timer.
8. Ben Stiller (Ep. 8)
This might be the most offensive episode, but it’s also one of the funniest. Stiller is amazing as a slightly confused guest who constantly tries to brush aside Galifianakis’ wholly inappropriate language and insults until he can’t handle it anymore.
7. Jimmy Kimmel (Ep. 2)
This sketch is funny from start to finish, including great bits about Kimmel dating Sarah Silverman and doing a sketch with Ben Affleck. The late show host was one of the better guests the show had. If you didn’t know any better, you would think Kimmel was genuinely unaware of what he had agreed to do, and it makes the whole interview hilarious.
6. Bruce Willis (Ep. 11)
For the first half, the host is the source of the comedy, as Bruce Willis refuses to engage. The second half, a suddenly way-too-talkative Willis carries the interview. Both are equally hilarious and this is one of the most rewatchable Between Two Ferns ever.
5. Jerry Seinfeld and Cardi B (Ep. 20)
The most recent episode (June 14, 2018) features maybe the most perfect guest for the show, Jerry Seinfeld, who refuses to engage in any of the typical Between Two Ferns foolishness. He’s not immune to it, though, especially after Cardi B shows up. Everyone here is great (including a surprise cameo), with some of the best questions and insults, all topped off by an amazing ending.
4. Will Ferrell (Ep. 13)
Most episodes feature one weirdo and one “normal” person trying to make sense of what is happening, but Will Ferrell matches Galifianakis’ strangeness the whole time and the result is one of the best episodes ever. (Much better than their movie The Campaign.) And just when you think it can’t get better, the ending takes it to another level.
3. Oscar Buzz Edition Part 2 (Ep. 15)
The second of two Oscar specials from 2013, this one starring Jessica Chastain, Sally Field, Emmanuel Lewis, and Bradley Cooper, is a strong installment that gets all the way up to number three because of Cooper’s second appearance on the show. Paying off past episodes, the two co-stars engage in one of the dumbest, funniest fights ever, and if the other segments were just as good this would easily be number one.
2. Oscar Buzz Edition Part 1 (Ep. 14)
The first of the Oscar specials, starring Jennifer Lawrence, Naomi Watts, Christoph Waltz, Anne Hathaway, and Amy Adams, proves bigger is better, as each segment lands. The highlight easily belongs to Amy Adams, who doesn’t just deliver the funniest line of the series, she delivers one of the funniest lines ever.
1. Steve Carrell (Ep. 9)
In its purest form, Between Two Ferns is about two funny people being funny, making fun of one another, and knocking down Hollywood celebrities. No episode does all of that while being consistently, uproariously funny from the very first moment to the last like Galifianakis’ sit-down with a prepared, combative Steve Carrell. The harder the two go after each other, the harder we laugh.
But until the movie comes to Netflix on September 20, we reserve the right to change our minds about this list. Just to be safe we should probably watch them all again. And again.
Featured Image: Funny or Die