You’d be thrilled if you had tickets to a late night talk show where Ryan Reynolds was set to be the main guest. The same is true of Will Ferrell. On the flip side, you’d be incredibly disappointed if either of them cancelled. Which is exactly what happened to two different audiences last night. Each performer no-showed, but only because they were too busy filling in for the other. Ferrell headed to Jimmy Kimmel Live while Reynolds went to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. And they did such a good job they even answered all the questions meant for the other.
Will Ferrell and his amazing Star Wars pants pushing Reynolds’ movie Red Notice on Netflix is so much funnier than this “spontaneous’ swap has any right to be. As is him answering Jimmy Kimmel’s questions about Blake Lively, Reynolds’ personal life, and Canadian politics. Because while this is clearly a bit. Ferrell has always been one of the best at sincerely selling a ridiculous premise as though it’s real. That’s Will Ferrell’s wheelhouse.
Jimmy Fallon, though, is, uh, less good at that. He acts surprised at every single thing that happens on his meticulously scripted show. Fortunately, Reynolds was able to make the whole thing work by adding some uncharacteristic edge to his normally pleasant demeanor. And like Ferrell, he also refused to talk about himself. He wouldn’t promote Red Notice. He pushed Ferrell’s upcoming Apple TV+ series The Shrink Next Door. Which, for the record, is nothing like Ant-Man.
Why the swap? For one the two just filmed a movie together, Spirited. More importantly though this was a clever way to get us to notice both of their current projects. If they each made their scheduled appearance we probably wouldn’t have written about either. (Though Ferrell’s pants alone might have tempted us.)
How much mileage you get out of this switcheroo probably depends on how much you like the four people involved. But at minimum neither audience went home disappointed.