Over the past eight years, we’ve seen that there are essentially two types of George W. Bush impressions: Those that are skillfully layered (e.g. Josh Brolin’s in W.) and those that venture deep into caricature (e.g. James Adomian in Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. Side note: Check out the range in Adomian’s filmography). Of the two, I’d say that Will Ferrell’s George W. Bush probably verges more towards the latter than the former, although I’d be lying if I said his Bush had never wrung a few hearty laughs out of me.

Apparently, Ferrell thinks his Bush impression has potential as well. Ferrell will soon star in “You’re Welcome America,” a 75-minute one-man show which will feature Ferrell playing George W. Bush reminiscing about and defending his administration. Ferrell described his motivation for wanting to bring back one of his best-known impressions for one last run:

There are people who are going to be, ‘Enough already, leave him alone.’ Or, ‘I don’t care if it’s funny, I don’t want to even think about that guy anymore.’ Or — and I hope this is the case — people who think, ‘This is cathartic, this is good.’” At first I thought, I don’t know about a Broadway show. I don’t want to be just known as the guy who did Bush. But then I thought, what am I talking about? This is a great way to hang that character up, not even so much as a political statement, but to send him off into the sunset.

Of course, the primary concern with such an endeavor is that it’s faced with the same challenge that many SNL films have tried (and failed) to overcome: How do you stretch a 10-minute sketch into a hour-plus-long performance? Apparently play director Adam McKay (Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Step Brothers) was cognizant of the potential issues:

“We very quickly discovered we could do a three-hour show with this character — the more you dig into who he is, where he comes from, it’s really shocking and extremely interesting at the same time…We can’t help but fail in portraying the scope of how much of a disaster the last eight years have been.”

Previews for the show will begin this Tuesday at the Cort Theater and the show’s run will last until March 15, but don’t worry if you don’t live in NYC: HBO is producing the show and will air a live performance at some point in the future. For more details, check out The New York Times article about the play, which features interviews with Ferrell and McKay. If you’re planning on going, please shoot me an e-mail and let me know what you thought of the show.

Discuss: Would you pay to see a 75-minute George W. Bush impression by Will Ferrell?

Source: The New York Times

You can reach David Chen by e-mail at davechensemail(at)gmail.com. 

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