101 Funniest Screenplays

Will Ferrell and Adam McKay met at SNL; their first feature together had Ferrell as a chauvinist pig of a 1970s San Diego news anchor and bloviator extraordinaire. To call the film a parody of local news fails to capture how far out the comedy goes, as when rival news teams square off in a five-way brawl. In Mike Sacks’ book Poking a Dead Frog: Conversations with Today’s Top Comedy Writers, McKay addressed the influence of the Chicago improv guru Del Close on his comedy choices. “He had two key tenants: one was to always go to your third thought,” McKay said of Close. “When you’re onstage, your first thought is knee-jerk. Your second thought is usually okay, but not great. Del would make you stay in a scene until you found your third thought, which was a little above and beyond what most other teachers would suggest.”

WATCH: Adam McKay on working with writing partner Will Ferrell and what he looks for in a comedy pitch