Joyce award for Ferrell who will catch up on his reading

Thu, Jan 24, 2008, 00:00

Comedian Will Ferrell was presented with the James Joyce award by UCD's Literary and Historical Society (L&H) last night, and, as far as the actor was concerned, it was about time.

"As you all know, I'm kind of a big deal, and this is a big deal," said the 40-year-old star of comedies like Anchorman, Dodgeball and Talladega Nights.

The standing-room-only audience of more than 1,000 UCD students were in complete agreement, giving him several standing ovations and cheering wildly at his Irish rugby team kit.

The award from the 153-year-old society was in recognition for "excelling in his field", said L&H spokesman David Jones. Joyce was a former L&H member, he said.

Ferrell noted that previous recipients include former UN weapons inspector Hans Blix and the Rev Jesse Jackson, among others.

"Noam Chomsky. Porn star Ciccolina. George Michael from Wham. Posh and Sporty Spice. Such fantastic company," he said.

He had done some preparation for the Irish trip. "As I perused my leatherbound volumes of Ulysses, Finnegans Wake, Dubliners, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, standing in my mahogany library, a lot of feelings ran across my head, like, 'damn, I should have read these books'."

Nevertheless, Ferrell felt that many parallels existed between himself and the author.

"James Joyce spent a lot of his life living outside of Ireland. I too have spent a lot of time living outside of Ireland," he said.

Ferrell had spent the past 10 days or so driving around Ireland with his father and brother, who were at last night's presentation.

They had thoroughly enjoyed their time here, he said. "I love the people, the stories, the history. I love the taste of Guinness on the back of your throat, when it repeats on you the next morning.

"I love sitting in a cosy pub talking with a local, whose accent is so thick it sounds like he's gargling phlegm."