For his latest appearance, Ferrell entered Studio 8H with a fake cut on his head to do his opening monologue. It was a musical number gone awry, with a very eager Ferrell singing his way through a joyous tune after informing the audience he had hit his head on a steel beam and becoming increasingly loopier.
“What do you say we go on a trip around the studio?” he declared before realizing “I’m tired. I can’t walk. I can’t see.”
“Dude, you need to go to the hospital,” an audience member remarked. “Lorne Michaels, everyone!” Ferrell declared.
Castmembers Cecily Strong and Kenan Thompson came to retrieve Ferrell, who then incorrectly introduced Matchbox 20 as the musical guest instead of Chris Stapleton. “You guys do too many song openings,” an exasperated Ferrell said, gasping for breath. He was then wheeled off on a gurney.
Ferrell was an SNL castmember from 1995 to 2002, and NBC released his original audition tape for the show earlier this week in anticipation of his return to hosting. The audition features Ferrell doing his impressions of sportscaster Harry Caray and Sen. Ted Kennedy, whom he went on to impersonate over his tenure on the show.
While Ferrell has made many guest appearances on the show since his departure, it has been almost three years since his last appearance in 2015, when he reprised his well-known impersonation of President George W. Bush in a cold open in which Ferrell’s Bush announced he was running for a third presidential term and ripped into the GOP nominees at the time. Ferrell once again played George W. Bush in this week’s cold open.
Ferrell’s first sketch of the evening featured him as a fighter pilot whose call sign was “Clown Penis” and mostly just got as much mileage as possible out of making people say “clown penis” repeatedly. It’s not the first time “clown penis” has been the hook of an SNL sketch. A Chris Parnell-starring commercial spoof from 1999 also used “clown penis” as a punchline.
Ferrell also starred alongside castmembers Beck Bennett and Kyle Mooney in a spoof of reality series like Big Brother. Mooney, Bennett, and Ferrell played up very mundane situations as dramatic, playing on the ways editing and exaggerated testimonials ramp up the drama on reality shows.
Later, castmember Kate McKinnon joined Ferrell in playing two octogenarians attempting to film a commercial for a roadside diner who are incapable of saying their very simple lines, resulting in very silly gibberish.
Farrell also played Gareth, a Southwest Airlines flight attendant who kept interjecting very forward and nihilistic warnings about the permanence of death into the crew’s upbeat rap about plane safety.
During the “Weekend Update” segment, Ferrell reprised his old recurring character Jacob Silj, a man incapable of modulating the volume of his voice.
In the final sketch of the night, Ferrell played Chucky Lee Byrd, an old-school singer whose jaunty tunes were all about loving underaged girls. McKinnon and Bennett played two people uneasily promoting his album that included songs like “Cruising In My Windowless Van,” “Simple Girl From Across the Street” and “Our Love Is a Crime.”
Ferrell also took on the ongoing wave of sexual misconduct claims via a fake ad for a deodorant aimed at sexual harassers and a sketch in which he and various castmembers awkwardly discussed the controversial sexual misconduct allegation against Aziz Ansari.