Adam McKay

Seriously Funny

With glammed-up pit bulls and pigs, Walmart moms locked in epic battle with latte-loving elitists, mooseburger jokes, and the odd Paris Hilton cameo, the national stage is beginning to resemble less a pivotal election year than a blockbuster summer comedy.

Accordingly we spoke with Adam McKay, the creative genius behind Anchorman, Talladega Nights and Step Brothers, former head writer of Saturday Night Live, and co-Founder of, the award-winning comedy website, to discuss what’s so funny—and so serious—about modern politics.

The Paris Hilton response video to Senator John McCain’s was one of the most-viewed videos on your site, What inspired the idea?
I was just driving around my car, listening to Air America, and they were talking about Paris in McCain’s ad. And I thought, how ridiculous that this is the most important election in years and he’s talking about Paris! So I thought it would be fun to bite him in the ass with a statement back. She was good. I was floored, she was so good. We got like seven million hits in like two days.

Any response from the McCain camp?
They tried to make a joke, like, “Well, we like Paris’ energy plan better than Obama’s … it reminds us of our ‘All of the Above Plan.’” Trying to make a joke. ‘All of the Above’… that’s not a plan!In many ways, this upcoming election has become all about celebrities. From the second TV hit, with Nixon and his five o’clock shadow, it’s been about image, image, image—and now we’re at this level where all the TV outlets are owned by four corporations, and it’s all image and story and repetition, and knowing how to play the tabloid game. The Palin move was a stroke of genius, a complete understanding of how feeble our media is.

Do you foresee Funny or Die hosting even more political satire as we near the election?
Just like SNL, the best seasons are election years. I’m excited about the internet. There’s no network or approval, it’s just us goofing around.

You’re a frequent contributor to The Huffington Post. What drives your interest in politics?
The idea that someone is “into politics” is a bizarre concept. It used to be part of life—you go to the dentist, you mow the lawn, you know if your government is killing people for no reason…it was your job as a person on the planet! Now it’s, “Oh, you’re talking politics.” It’s been marginalized.

Your comedy films don’t seem overtly political. Do you see them as a break from all of this divisiveness?
Actually in Talladega Nights we were pretty much poking fun at the red states the whole time. Having that character (Will Ferrell’s brilliantly dim nascar racer Ricky Bobby) kiss a gay Frenchman was one of my favorite moments ever.

So broad comedies can make a serious statement?
You have a crowd of 400 people, all laughing, all watching, all engaged in it. Whatever power that’s trying to get people to disassociate does not want this. So there is something subversive in it. But in the end we just love comedy. We love doing it.

Finally…will there be an Anchorman sequel?
My guess is maybe… Will (Ferrell) and I have so many other ideas, it’s like, why go back? But we’d love to do it. We’ll see. Heather Wagner

-Heather Wagner

Reading done by Lena, who has no idea this palm belongs to Adam McKay

1. He is both physical and tactile, but his spiritual and intellectual belief systems will cause him to de-emphasize that part of himself.

2. He is an excellent word crafter and storyteller, but his appeal will be for a very specific and select audience rather than the general public.

3. A great deal of courage (and gonzo and sometimes foolhardiness), which appears to run in his family.

4. Extremely intelligent and very good at abstract thought… His thoughts become so intense that he burns out on thinking and has to go do something physical for a period of time.

5. He can fall down, pick himself up (after more or less time) and keep going or start over. He is remarkably resilient.

6. A strong constitution which leads to a long life. There will be time to do many things.

7. Will begin many more projects than he will be able to complete. This is right and proper for him—there is no way of knowing in the beginning which ones will ripen and bear fruit.

8. This person has a multitude of abilities, ideas and intentions. From time to time, he will pick one of these and become very good at it and then pick another when that one is done.

9. Fond of stories of travel, both in the hearing and in the telling. He will travel quite far—not because of a love of the travel itself, but in order to live and acquire some stories to tell.