Then he showed a clip from “A Mighty Wind.” In it, Willard’s manager character, a blond, moussed guy in a trombone-print shirt, interrupts a group of plucky folk singers rehearsing a sea shanty for a show. “I’ve got an idea, a very literate reference,” he tells them. “I don’t know if you’re familiar with a book about a pirate captain—his name is Moby-Dick. He was chasing some big whale, and he had a catchphrase he’d always yell out: ‘Thar she blows!’ So I thought if you could do that . . .” He goes on to suggest that they try a bit where they get drenched in water, several times, mid-performance—“Even the ladies!”—and, at the end of the song, they’ll turn their guitars over, “and water splashes out. Kerplunk!Just a thought.” He looks overjoyed by his helpful beneficence. Before they shot the scene, Guest said, his only instruction to Willard had been, “They’re rehearsing . . . and you interrupt them.”

No One Had Instincts Like Fred Willard
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