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The Charm of Will Forte

While the plot to the hit comedy show The Last Man on Earth becomes more complex than the title suggests as the show progresses, fans of this post-apocalyptic story know that there are probably few comedians on the planet that can pull it off better than Will Forte. As the show’s star, writer and creator, Forte is truly the heart and soul of the program, and fans of the show can see the talent this man has, particularly in the first episode of the series, where it was up to Forte and Forte alone to deliver the laughs. What does make Will Forte such an effective performer and creative force? One only has to look at the man’s creative background to see:


SNL pedigree


Anyone who has followed Saturday Night Live knows that Will Forte is among the best that ever graced their stage. On SNL, Forte displayed his range by portraying both outlandish characters effectively and still having the ability to be the effective “straight man” (meaning the “normal” person in the sketch, or one the reacts to the odd events around him humourlessly). He is one of the actors on the show that has managed to create a character so popular, that a full length movie was produced to feature that character. That character was MacGruber, now among part of SNL history along with the likes of Coneheads and Wayne’s World and others. What makes the case of MacGruber, a MacGyver rip off, is that the sketch was usually only a few seconds to a minute long. It is a testament to Forte’s talent that he can make the most out of such a limited time.


That 70’s writer


Before even joining the cast of SNL, Will Forte started off as a writer. In fact, he broke into the business with his writing, and his credits include a stint in David Letterman’s show. He also got a writing job for another hit comedy show Third Rock from The Sun, and really hit his creative stride when he became a writer and producer for the popular sitcom That 70’s Show. Having worked creatively behind the scenes with such iconic hallmarks in comedy can only boost the man’s cred as a comedic juggernaut.


Improv roots


Even before he became a full-fledged TV writer, Forte started off his journey into comedy with improvisational classes. Improv theatre is one of the foremost ways a comedian can improve and hone his or her skills, and Forte went to one of the best places to learn and practice: The Groundlings. This is an improve and sketch comedy troupe whose alumni includes a who’s who of comedic performers such as Phil Hartman, Will Ferrell, Taran Killan, Jon Lovitz , Kristen Wiig and several others. If you surround yourself with the best, eventually, you will be one of the best as well. Forte is a prime example of this.

Watching The Last Man on Earth is like watching an artist crafting a masterpiece. Knowing the level of genius at work in every episode, it becomes more than just watching comedy, it becomes a legitimate appreciation for the craft in general.