Even when he’s stripped of the polyester suit, bushy mustache, and ’70s news desk, it’s always hilarious to hear Will Ferrell shout, “Great Odin’s raven!” Ferrell and the rest of the Anchorman cast gathered at Santa Monica, California’s Broad Stage on Thursday night for a live reading of the 2004 comedy’s script, a benefit for the nonprofit writing and tutoring center 826LA.
Ferrell’s Ron Burgundy was joined by the rest of his Channel 4 News Team — Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), Champ Kind (David Koechner), and Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) — along with lady love Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate). Jack Black, Chris Parnell, Danny Trejo, Fred Willard, and Fred Armisen even showed up for their minor roles, with Maya Rudolph voicing any non-Veronica ladies (including the role of the Mama Bear in her captioned conversation with Baxter the dog). Director/writer Adam McKay read all the stage cues aloud, while narrator Bill Kurtis lent his golden pipes to the event.
Conan O’Brien hosted the festivities and filled in for Vince Vaughn’s rival newsman during the live reading. “Only in L.A. do they do charity readings of screenplays,” O’Brien said, joking that the next benefit would be a script reading of Bio-Dome 2. As the night’s MC, he laid out some ground rules for the evening: “If you have hard candy, unwrap it now — and stick it up your ass.” When the crowd reacted to his profanity, O’Brien said, “There are no kids here. Who would bring children to a benefit for children?”