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Ferrell's no stranger to the internet, but this guy is decidedly the more old-school of the two men we're examining today. It's a side-effect of timing: as we noted above, Ferrell was first became a big thing around the time of dial-up modems. The man has his mode, and that mode is movie star. (Not too shabby, really.) That's not to say his contributions to your online procrastination haven't been good — he appeared in an installment of the reliably slurry “Drunk History” series as Abraham Lincoln, for instance, and turned this match-up inside itself on Galifianakis's “Between Two Ferns.” Most of his output for the web, though, has been clips made in service of upcoming movies, which we would argue doesn't quite capture the spirit of internet comedy. His one big exception, though? “The Landlord,” in which a flustered and frightened Farrell is given a vulgar verbal smackdown by a princess-dress wearing toddler.
Galifianakis has produced and guested in a slew of hilarious viral videos; the man is perhaps the most game celebrity when it comes to web shorts. If Ferrell used a lot of guest appearances in other films to bolster his headliners, then the Galifianakis method relies on massive YouTube view counts.
But really, his biggest success on the web is “Between Two Ferns,” perhaps the most screamingly hilarious and awkward interview series known to man. Can we just put a bunch of videos from “Between Two Ferns” here and call it a day? [No — Ed.] Galifianakis peppers the beautiful people (like Bruce Willis, Natalie Portman, Charlize Theron, and Sean Penn) with inappropriate questions, uncomfortable silences, and a look that suggests both innocence and a psychotic disorder. Galifianakis' "Between Two Ferns" persona is the perfect foil for his guests, whether they're fellow comedians or just very willing traditional actors — somehow, all different sorts of reactions work when placed next to him. And if we've learned anything from SNL, it's that such a thing is never a given.
The Verdict: Will Ferrell
There will be some people who will make this decision completely due to their subjective tastes in comedy, and that's fine. While Ferrell and Galifianakis are probably closer in style than, say, either of them and that awful man with the offensive ventriloquist dummies, some people who are really into comedy will still see a gulf between the two. But we cannot let the whims of one side or the other sway our choice, and the fact is that Ferrell simply came out on top here too many times to lose. Sorry, Zack — keep searching for your Anchorman. (Or not. You seem pretty happy on the internet.)