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Will Ferrell, Steve Carell Sing for Charity at 'Anchorman' Live Reading

Anchorman Live Reading Carell - P 2013
Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images

Hosted by Conan O'Brien, the lively fundraiser for non-profit 826LA also featured fun musical performances with Jack Black and Maya Rudolph.

Will Ferrell and the cast of the upcoming Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues reunited for a live reading of their 2004 hit on Thursday night, complete with an a cappella performance of "Afternoon Delight" from the original Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.

“We haven’t rehearsed it. and it’s been nine years since we’ve sung it together, so I’m very curious to see how it turns out,” Steve Carell told The Hollywood Reporter of the memorable ballad at the fundraiser held at Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center's Eli and Edythe Broad Stage. Paul Rudd added, "I don’t think any of us remember our harmonies and our parts."

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David Koechner, however, had no doubts about his vocals. "My part is lower," he said. "Theirs is higher, which would be more recognizable, so I can just blend and not worry about it."

Christina Applegate, Fred Armisen and producer Judd Apatow joined the foursome news team for the cold reading, coordinated by director and co-writer Adam McKay and hosted by Conan O'Brien, who also read the role of rival newscaster Wes Mantooth, played in the film by Vince Vaughn. “I play the role of the albino porn star Wint Savage,” O’Brien joked. The event raised over $300,000 for 826LA, a non-profit that helps students improve their creative writing skills through workshops and tutoring, and even helps publish their work. 

Anchorman 2 checks back in with top anchor Ron Burgundy (Ferrell),  Brian Fantana (Rudd), Champ Kind (Koechner) and Brick Tamland (Carrell) as they take on the 24-hour news cycle. From Burgundy reporting the story of a waterskiing squirrel to Fantana (Rudd) choosing Sex Panther perfume over London Gentleman and Black Beard’s Delight.

But before fans get to enjoy those new moments, the audience Thursday was treated to one-liners from the original, including:

Ron Burgundy: "I believe diversity is an old wooden ship that was used during the Civil War era."

Brick Tamland: "Years later, a doctor will tell me I have an IQ of 48. I enjoy a good pair of slacks, and I’m what some people call mentally retarded."

Champ Kind: "I will take your mother Dorothy Mantooth out for a nice seafood dinner and never call her again!"

Other musical numbers of the evening included Jack Black with an original song that expressed his true feelings for the second franchise, as he repeated, “I’m not in the f—ing movie.” O’Brien and Armisen also celebrated the franchise's 1970s aesthethic with an acoustic version of the Eddie Money's “Baby Hold On,” and were later joined by Black and Maya Rudolph for “The Boys Are Back in Town” by Thin Lizzy.

The reading was introduced by American news anchor Bill Kurtis, who described Ferrell's Burgundy by quoting the first film: "He has suits that can make Frank Sinatra look like a hobo; he can make a wolverine purr."

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McKay told THR that the storyline of Anchorman 2 includes more depth, making it several times more "epic" than the original. He also shared a memory on set.

“[I was] standing on a pier on a little island off the coast of Georgia, with Will in the water and a large mechanical shark, and a crowd of 4,000 people or whatever it was, around the pier, screaming Will’s name," McKay recollected. “In the middle of it, somebody tells me those are shark-infested waters and it’s one of the biggest breeding grounds for sharks on the East Coast. I’m like, 'Oh crap, time to wrap it up!'"

The cold reading left the audience in stitches, while the actors' smooth "Afternoon Delight" performance was filled with improvised skills and received with praise -- a precursor to the big-screen film filled with silly one-liners and inappropriate remarks that audiences will once again tune in for.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues hits U.S. theaters on Dec. 20.