The iconic Will Ferrell is well known for his performances on the hit TV show Saturday Night Live, and his skit from 2004 that blended yoga with modern-day competition remains a global favorite. In the sketch, Will appears as two dueling instructors who compete to outdo each other in absurd poses and outrageous declarations as they attempt to win over their students. From ridiculous stretches with unlikely names to desperate attempts at demonstrating superiority, this hilarious sketch will leave you laughing until tears stream down your face!
History of the Sketch
The Will Ferrell yoga sketch first aired on Saturday Night Live, or SNL, during the February 12, 2000 episode. It starred Will Ferrell, Chris Kattan, Jan Hooks and Tracy Morgan, with appearances by Molly Shannon and Todd Thomas.
The segment portrays a yoga class taken by Ferrell and Kattan, who proceed to disrupt the class and crack jokes about their instructors (Hooks and Morgan). One of the more memorable moments from the high-energy sketch was when Kattan’s character decided to stay in one pose for an extended period of time to finish it off.
When the sketch originally aired it caused a huge reaction online and eventually became known as one of SNL’s most memorable and beloved sketches. This led to Ferrell reprising the role of Kattan’s yoga instructor numerous times throughout his SNL career.
The Will Ferrell SNL Yoga Sketch is an iconic sketch that aired on Saturday Night Live in 2003. In the sketch, Will Ferrell plays a yoga instructor with an overly zealous attitude and unique methods of teaching. His catch phrase throughout the sketch is “Let’s get Weird!” which he uses to bring out the weirdest poses from his students. He also introduces them to different imaginary animals such as “the candlewax panther” before calling their poses. Every time one of his students perform a new pose correctly he responds with one of his quirky catch phrases: “Name that Pose!” Additionally, although not necessarily related to the core of this sketch it also contains a catch phrase: “I’m here all day.” which summarises his enthusiasm and zeal for teaching yoga despite it being midday and way past opening hours. Overall, this sketch is renowned for its ridiculousness, memorable catch phrases and the zealous role played by Will Ferrell.
Roles of the Characters
Will Ferrell played Yogi Vitajex. He is an ambitious, yet outrageous yoga instructor whose ambition for his students to become perfect transcends the physical boundaries of science and nature. Yogi’s overzealous approach to teaching yoga is meant to shock and amuse the audience. His fast-paced presentation and use of unusual props are designed to create both confusion and laughter.
Molly Shannon played Barbara Soupresso, a studious student of Yogi’s class whose enthusiasm easily becomes aggravation with Yogi’s eccentric methods. She is constantly striving to keep up with Yogi’s intense methodologies but her sense of humor keeps her within the realities of the sketch’s concept. Barbara’s confusion only serves as assistance to amplify Yogi’s bizarre teachings, thus creating plenty of comedic moments during their interactions due her attempts at trying to understand what he is talking about while fitting into each new pose he presents.
Chris Parnell is portrayed as Jay Ridikolous, a more laid back student who enjoys finding faults in his teacher’s lectures— something that irritates Yogi but also generates many humorous dialogues between the two characters. Jay’s arrogant behavior adds even more hilarity to their exchanges, especially when he teases Yogi for not physically being able to complete some poses himself and then suggests some more suitable ones for him which of course cause even bigger shocks from Barbara Soupresso— generating great responses from the audience due either her shock or Jay’s snappy comebacks to Yogi’s retorts towards him regarding how he should talk about and respect his teacher.
The Will Ferrell SNL Yoga Sketch had an enormous positive cultural impact, becoming an instant classic for comedy fans all around the world. The sketch, which debuted on the show in 2001, follows Will Ferrell’s character Cass Gair as he attempts to teach yoga classes to a bored group of students. He triumphantly blows away the students with his self-centered and often ridiculous poses, while uttering his iconic catchphrase “I can go deeper!” As predicted, soon after its airing the sketch became an internet sensation with hundreds of parodies and compilations hitting YouTube and Vine accounts. Popular memes included airbrushed images of big cats accompanied by Gair’s catchphrase. There were even memed versions featuring popular cartoon characters such as Homer Simpson or SpongeBob SquarePants. Other popular parodies featured modern hip-hop icons such as Usher and Lil Wayne performing their own version of Gair’s poses. Even today the video is still widely shared across all social media platforms, transcending the test of time with its memorable jokes that continue to bring joy to many comedy fans worldwide.
Takeaways and Lessons
In the Will Ferrell SNL Yoga sketch, viewers can take away a couple of positive life lessons. First and foremost, it reinforces the fact that we should always be mindful of our body language in any setting. Will Ferrell’s yoga instructor, Yer Vang Duong, keeps very close eye contact with the class to ensure that all postures are being done correctly, and effortlessly. This serves as a reminder for us to pay attention to how we conduct ourselves in public.
The sketch also emphasizes the importance of discovering one’s own inner peace and not worrying too much about what other people think. As Yer Vang Duong advises his students in the sketch: “Be peaceful, inwardly focused”. We should strive to be at peace with ourselves first and foremost, rather than seeking approval from others or focusing on any external material effects that come along with activities such as yoga.
The Will Ferrell SNL Yoga Sketch will always be remembered as the one where he showed us that even after the most relaxed of yoga sessions, you can still be silly and break out into an epic dance move. Namaste!
I am passionate about yoga and this is my blog. I have been practicing yoga for over 10 years and teaching for 5. Yoga has transformed my life in so many ways and I love being able to share that with others. My hope is that through this blog, I can help people learn more about yoga, connect with other yogis, and find inspiration to live a healthier, happier life.