The Between Two Ferns movie, while being a pretty solid elaboration on Zach Galifianakis’ excellent Funny Or Die interview series, doesn’t always devote enough screen time toward the celebrity guests who play into its intentionally mean-spirited talk show format best. For the most part, this works out all right, since the film’s framing—a road trip movie where Galifianakis and the show’s crew travel America shooting a quota of interviews at a maniacal Will Ferrell’s behest—is funny enough to make up for it. In certain cases, though, like when Paul Rudd sits down to expertly riff with the host, cutting the scene short is painful—even if it does allow time for a special performance by Phoebe Bridgers and members of The National and The Walkmen.
Luckily, Netflix, realizing that leaving any unused footage from the movie’s Rudd/Galifianakis exchange unseen is a horrible waste, has released a longer cut of the interview featured in the movie.
Some of the best parts—like Rudd explaining he’s not “a practicing Jew” because he’s already “perfected it”—will be familiar to those who have already watched the movie, but there’s a lot of great new material, too.
Right out the gate, Galifianakis asks about “that thing you were complaining about the MeToo movement before we started rolling” and Rudd sputters a denial, looking like he’s trying not to laugh before being asked to address rumors that he’s going to “quit acting and just disappear.” They naturally trade jokes back and forth, Rudd admitting “I fucked my way to the top” and Galifianakis replying: “You fucked your way to the C-list. I mean, most people try to go a couple letters up.” Rudd is asked if he has advice for aspiring actors who “want to become comedy-adjacent”—“Yeah,” Rudd replies, “get to know Will Ferrell.”
It’s Between Two Ferns at its best, the guest not only fully grasping how to work within the joke format, but also leaning into it with enthusiasm. The concept, it seems, reaches its full potential when Galifianakis has a “comedy-adjacent” actor like Rudd to bounce off of, which makes it a good thing we can now watch more of that interview.
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