Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

More art museums should invite Joel McHale and Will Ferrell to make fun of them

Los Angeles’ Hammer Museum is currently hosting the Stories Of Almost Everyone exhibition. Described as a collection meant to ask questions about “the willingness to believe the stories that are conveyed by works of contemporary art,” Hammer’s engaging with a pretty complex topic. Deciding how best to communicate the intricacies of the show must have been tough, but, fortunately, the museum has found a conceptually sound method: filming Will Ferrell and Joel McHale visiting, and talking shit, about what they see.

The video of this momentous collaboration is just about exactly what you’d expect. Faced with pieces ranging from “pillows that have only been slept on by acrobats” (Ferrell: “Yeah ... this is really good”) and a pile of redirected museum mail to a mess of worn-out shoes (McHale: “How long was install for this one?”), the pair offer skeptical commentary that, while funny, is pretty much in the spirit of the show itself.

Curator Aram Moshayedi is a good sport, shepherding the two as they crack wise, barely conceal sighs and giggles, and just generally make fun of the work he’s put on display. (That all of this is set to the same set of cheery, presumably royalty-free tracks most recognizable from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia lends an extra layer to the clip. At any moment, you expect the entire gallery to burst into flames or collapse into rubble.)


For too long contemporary art and art criticism has been charged with being insular, detached from the concerns of the everyday person. The Hammer Museum shows a different path forward, offering us a bemused Ferrell and McHale as a new mold of critic—the celebrity comedian whose jokes end up offering a subtle commentary on the work they’re goofing on.

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.

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