Frank the Tank! Frank the Tank! Frank the Tank!
The chant rose up inside the stifling gymnasium at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth on Wednesday afternoon, a nod to Will Ferrells character in the movie Old School. The crowd of uniformed men and women were stoked, because Ferrell, and his funnyman cohort Zach Galifianakis were in the house.
Fort Worth was just one stop on an 11-city Whistle Stop promotional tour for their new comedy, The Campaign; the tour's had them doing everything from serving coffee in Seattle to overseeing a game of tug-of-war at the base in Fort Worth.
In the movie, which hits theaters Aug. 10, Ferrell plays Cam Brady, a longtime North Carolina congressman whos running unopposed for his fifth term, until hes challenged by the unexperienced Marty Huggins (Galifianakis). From the trailer, which features the buzz-worthy scene of Cam Brady inadvertently punching a baby (see video embed below), Ferrells character seems a bit like a hybrid of his George W. Bush and Ron Burgundy from Anchorman.
After some red carpet shenanigans that (naturally) included baby kissing, the pair took to the stage to oversee a game of tug-of-war between Team Brady and Team Huggins.
Nothing says excitement in a hot room of people like tug-of-war, Ferrell cracked. Thanks to some microphone issues and mammoth walls of people, it was tough to see which team won, but that wasn't really the point.
There were serious thanks to the men and women in the room. Thank you for your service to the country, and everything you do, and your time apart from your families, Ferrell said, adding that there would be a special screening of The Campaign for base personnel, on Aug. 4.
Said Galifianakis: However, admission is $75 a head.
They thanked people for turning out to see them, and joked that theyd reward everyone with hot chocolate, space heaters and parkas.
Scanning the crowd, Ferrell noted: Someone has a sign that says: My baby punches back.
Earlier, on the red carpet, I got the chance to ask the guys a few goofy questions, although Ferrell seemed to be obsessed with my now old-school Flip video camera, repeatedly calling it a Flip phone.
Is that a Flip phone? Didnt they go out of business?
Thats one of the last remaining ones.
You just bought stock in Flip phones, Galifianakis said.
Thats why Im having heart palpitations right now, Ferrell said, because I put 50 percent of my worth in Flip phones.
And Blockbuster video, Galifianakis helpfully added .
Finally letting go of my poor Flip cam, we hurtled into a quick Q&A:
Youre here to oversee a game of tug-of-war. Do you think thats an apt metaphor for Congress?
Will Ferrell: Very much so. Thats all theyre doing, with no real results.
With your candidates being from North Carolina, would either one of them hire Rielle Hunter as a videographer? [That would be John Edwards' former mistress]
WF: Well, mine would, for sure. My character is very much a philandering type of professional politician who would love any sort of beautiful woman.
Zach Galifianakis: My character wouldnt know what a videographer is.
Name three government agencies your characters would eliminate if elected.
WF: Uh, Secretary of Beef. I would probably get rid of the Secretary of Night ... Night Employees, and then, I dont know if you need a Secretary of Housing. I dont know what they do.
ZG: The Secretary of Cul-de-Sacs. Who, when you think about it, do very, very little. Thats the main one. I think if you got rid of that, wed save a lot of money.
After the event, I caught up with Navy petty officers Tracey Brandon and Genifer Smith.
Were very glad they were able to come and spend time and show their appreciation for us, Brandon said, because its not often that we get to see that especially here in the states. They do so more overseas, so it was nice. Its not like were right around the corner from Hollywood, they had to come out of their way to get down here.