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Watch: Will Ferrell and Chad Smith’s drum-off, the most important moment in music history

on May 23, 2014, 12:37am

After years of the two being confused for one another, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ own Chad Smith and actor Will Ferrell finally set the record straight with a drum battle of epic proportions on last night’s The Tonight Show. The real-life doppelgängers — who coincidentally also have a similar taste in style — faced off in a “traditional drum-off” with “traditional rules”. Each Will Smith got four different solos to prove their worth. And the winner is…

Spoiler: Will Ferrell — though in a very meta twist, Chad Smith played all Will Ferrell’s parts for Will Ferrell. Not only that, but for Ferrell’s final “solo”, he was accompanied by Smith’s Red Hot Chili Peppers bandmates for Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper”, a callback to Ferrell’s classic SNL sketch.

Prior to the drum off, Ferrell and Smith sat down with Jimmy Fallon to discuss their rivalry. Replay the performance and interview below.

fallon will ferrell

Ferrell laid the groundwork for a drum battle against Smith during a Reddit AMA last February. “It has been acknowledged many times that myself and Chad Smith, drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, share a resemblance to each other,” Ferrell wrote. “A lot of people think that it’s me playing for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. But that would be an insult to Chad Smith. The truth of the matter is there is no Will Ferrell. Only Chad Smith.”

(Read: It’s official: drummers are smarter than you)

In response, Smith issued a public challenge to Ferrell: “Stop impersonating me. In fact, I need you… drum battle. Me and you. I’ve seen your skills; you don’t got ‘em. Let’s go. Golden cowbell. Winner. Boom!” Ferrell accepted on the condition they raise $300,000 for the charities Cancer for College and Little Kids Rock, which was quickly accomplished following an online fundraiser.


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Nathan Dirck
May 24, 2014 at 2:46 pm

He looks even more like the drummer for the VInes.

Brian Clawson
May 23, 2014 at 11:44 am

This was awesome! Chad is an amazing drummer – and Will Farrell definitely does his part to keep up! The “cowbell” addition was classic! I am sharing this with my Big Idea Mastermind team!

Chris Harvey
May 23, 2014 at 8:28 am

Er…Chad isn’t drumming for Will (well except at the end when RHCP is playing). You can even see in the video that’s not true.

Adam Lubicz
May 23, 2014 at 10:18 am

Quest Love is drumming for Ferrell

May 23, 2014 at 2:03 pm

That might be possible (I can’t rewatch the video right now and don’t recall) but to say Chad did is definitely not correct.

Still love Conan
May 23, 2014 at 7:06 am

Remember when most viewers, fans and Entertainers hated Jay Leno and gave support to Conan? Well…Conan is now stuck on a crummy basic cable channel I do NOT see anything close to the support from Hollywood and the music industry towards Conan than the STRONG support Fallon gets. This just proves that people wanted to publicly hate Leno, with fake outrage, and give false support to Conan. They were and are scum.

I enjoy Fallon and this performance was great. It’s such a shame that support for Conan, years ago, was fake and he doesn’t get the level of support that Fallon has received since taking over The Tonight Show.

May 23, 2014 at 7:52 pm

The reason Conan no longer gets as much support is his show simply isn’t as good as it was on NBC. I’d pretty much attribute this to his loss of writers and lower show budget. I was and still am a supporter of his because I believe he’s a talented host, but he as one man can only go so far with a limited budget. Fallon has come incredibly far since he first started when he seemed awkward and didn’t quite have the feel for hosting. His show is great and it’s really a tribute to the work he and his staff have put into improving the show

Still love Conan
May 24, 2014 at 7:11 am

I agree with all your points with regards to both Conan and Fallon. The fact that his show, and the network that it is on, does not have the same strength as it did when he was on NBC, is exactly why I point my figurative finger at the entertainment business for it’s fake support of Conan and it manufactured hate towards Leno, and in a way, NBC.

If there was a time for that so-called “support” towards Conan, shouldn’t it be when things are not going as well? I would say that now, well…and has been for awhile, is when Conan could use that same type of help and support, from the entertainment business, to deliver content for his viewers.

I really like Fallon. His show produces some great content and has cool guests. I just find it to be a shame that the so-called support doesn’t manifest itself into something that would actually help with Conan’s program. The good thing, for me, is that it proves that the whole Conan/Leno:Support/Hate was really just an action for attention and had no real weight behind it. Most entertainers are scum and frauds.


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