Ferrell and McHale get real in Hammer Museum short


Ferrell and McHale have an art day.

Hmm, do I even call this 6-minute video from Hecho en 72, “Reel Ad of the Week?” Or at 6-minutes long, should it be “Branded film of the Week?” “Branded short-form video Ad of the Week?”

I am as befuddled as A-list comedians Will Ferrell and Joel McHale are in this very, very funny video directed by outgoing Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg for LA’s Hammer Museum.

Upon many a trip to a contemporary museum, I’ve often wondered myself how some things get elevated to the level of “art.” Titled, “Stories of Almost Everyone,” the video focuses on UCLA’s new exhibition on view at the Hammer until May 6. Acknowledging that many works in the show can be challenging to some audiences, Hirshberg convinced the museum to release this lighthearted film exploring a range of reactions to conceptual art.

Um, “conceptual art” here means a pile of the museum’s mail that grows each day at 4:20 by Mungo Thomson, a pair of socks scattered on the floor and a two-carat diamond ring created from the cremated remains of Pritzker Prize-winning architect Luis Barragan.

Here, Ferrell and McHale take on that “everyman” role as they play two art enthusiasts who take a tour through the show with reluctant Hammer curator Aram Moshayedi. Ferrell and McHale go on the journey from confusion, to bemusement, to joy as they discover the stories behind the seemingly everyday objects which make up the show. The score was driving me nuts (admittedly which is easy to do) because I knew I recognized it and then realized it is from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I half expected Danny Devito to walk in. Anyway, take a look at the very LOL video below:

Director Hirshberg

Hirshberg, who left Deutsch/LA for Activision, is no stranger to directing, having previously helmed spots as well as Bon Jovi’s “Have a Nice Day” music video. He’s also a longtime supporter of the Hammer and says he got the idea for the film with the museum’s director Annie Philbin at a dinner party. Both Ferrell and McHale are also museum supporters, so the pair, naturally, were pulled into the project too. All three used their talents pro bono, which is nice given how much we really need the joys of art right now.

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When asked what it was like to work with the two comedic giants, Hirshberg told Reel Chicago, “The most important element was the concept itself and the fact The Hammer was willing to not take itself too seriously–something rarely seen in the art world. Knowing we had that latitude was everything. Will and Joel are obviously two of the funniest people on Earth, so I just wanted to try and make them forget the cameras were there and make sure we were ready to capture the funny no matter which direction it came from.”

He added, “We had written a script, but honestly, it stayed in my back pocket most of the day. Will and Joel’s natural reactions were generally far funnier. We kept the cameras rolling all of the time, and some of the best bits actually came between takes. It was a real jigsaw puzzle in the edit bay. But there were a lot of great moments to choose from.”

“Stories of Almost Everyone” is on view at the Hammer Museum until May 6, 2018. Visit here for more information about the exhibition and the museum.

Client: The Hammer Museum

Production Company: HECHO EN 72
   Director: Eric Hirshberg
   Writer: Josh Fell
   Editor: Grant Lewis

Have a spot or campaign you think is “RAW?” Contact Colin Costello at colin@reelchicago.com.