04/10/2012 07:33 am ET Updated Jun 10, 2012

Annals of the Overrated: Will Ferrell

My heart sank recently when I heard that Will Ferrell and Adam McKay were going to bring back Ron Burgundy in an Anchorman 2 project.

It's not just that it's an unnecessary sequel (which it is). But it also threatens to tarnish what little reputation Ferrell still has.

Although that reputation apparently is a generational thing. Ferrell is a favorite among Gen Y and Millennial types, who were kids and teens when Ferrell was a Saturday Night Live favorite, which led to his real movie breakthrough in 2003 with Elf and Old School. (The less said about 1998's A Night at the Roxbury, the better.)

Look, I recognize that comedy is extremely subjective; what makes me laugh may not amuse you and vice versa. It's also a personal thing, a factor of class, politics, religion and other classifications, as well as individual funny bones.

Sure, you can make generalizations about comedy, i.e., that women are less amused by slapstick than men. Years ago, Jay Leno (pre-Tonight Show) had a routine about the things that divide men and women -- and, at the top of the list, he listed the Three Stooges.

I had this brought home to me recently, when I was teaching a writing workshop for elementary-school kids and showed them a Laurel & Hardy short. None of them had ever seen L&H previously; the boys were howling and the girls mostly looked horrified. These were 9-to-11-year-olds.

But back to Will Ferrell, who has been commercially successful but artistically lazy almost from the start.

This commentary continues on my website.