Where does Will Ferrell rank among comedic greats?

Will Ferrell attends the "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues" premiere on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013 in New York.

I woke up the other morning, and Will Ferrell was standing at the end of my bed.

I tried to get in the shower, but he was there, too. He was also at my breakfast table and in my car when I went to leave for work.

OK, maybe not. But it sure feels like one can’t turn around without Ferrell — or rather, Ron Burgundy — standing there.

Of course, Ferrell/Burgundy has spent the past few months in our lives — starring in car commercials, doing in-character guest shots on various news programs and appearing on the cover of Rolling Stone. He’s all over the Internet. It’s to the point where some of us already have Burgundy burnout, and “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” didn’t even open until this past Wednesday.

“Anchorman” was released nearly 10 years ago, when none of its stars had really broken out on their own on the big screen. Since then, Ferrell, Paul Rudd and Steve Carell have all become successful, over-the-title comedic actors. They get paid better than a decade ago — Hollywood Reporter puts Ferrell’s asking price at $20 million per movie, meaning “Anchorman 2? had better do well for the studio to recoup the increased salaries. Thus, they’re throwing money into the promotional machine like an engineer shoveling coal on a runaway train.

The other reason is simple: Ferrell has joined the elite class of American comedic leading men, and people want to see him. Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, Bill Murray, Adam Sandler (yes, even after “Little Nicky” and a few other stink bombs — the guy practically prints studio money), Jim Carrey, Robin Williams and Chris Rock have all been at the top of their profession.

Now Ferrell is the top dog. And he deserves it — he’s a funny guy.

“What makes him so perfect as an American symbol is how like America the characters he plays are: They’re overbearing and macho and totally oblivious to their own idiocy,” Rolling Stone’s Erik Hedegaard wrote in 2012.

When Ferrell’s career slows and movie lovers make their beloved lists of best comedic actors ever, where will he end up?

I would argue that he won’t be Top 5. His characters, while hilarious, are usually one-dimensional. In a word: idiots. Martin could play an idiot (“The Jerk”), but he could also play smart (“Planes, Trains and Automobiles”), sophisticated (“Shopgirl”), loathsome (“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”) and sensitive (“Roxanne”). Same with Williams, who can do serious roles (“Good Will Hunting”) like very few comedians can. Murphy is on the list simply because he was the funniest human with the quickest brain of any comedian for about a decade, and that came through, even in films with semi-dramatic slants, such as “48 Hours.”

Murray is the smirking class clown, the smartest guy in the room who always has the perfect quip. Carrey is a master of physical comedy and is totally unpredictable. He can go from zero to 200 miles an hour in about three seconds.

“Plenty of comedians have built careers on playing idiots, from Sacha Baron Cohen to Zach Galifianakis,” Robbie Collin, of the British publication The Telegraph, recently wrote. “What makes Ferrell’s idiots unique is that their idiocy seldom holds them back. For them, success is something to be blundered into, then milked for all its worth.”

Ferrell is hilarious. He’s clever. He nails his characters. No one plays an unknowing fool like Ferrell. I nearly laughed my face off during various parts of “Step Brothers,” “Elf,” “Talladega Nights” and “The Other Guys.” Even his best-known impression of former President George W. Bush is seeped in over-the-top dumbness.

Ferrell is in the king of comedy, for now. Whether he becomes one of the all-time greats, though, depends on how long we find the fool funny and, when that gets old, whether he can find some new ways to make us laugh. I hope it happens.

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