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Ricky Bobby and Cal Naughton Jr. on Larry King Live

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With all the new remake films making their debuts in theaters and earning [false] praise or wretched reviews, there’s still one I’m happy to report is standing strong and avoided a remake [fail]: Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. We, Jalopnik, celebrated the film’s sweet 16 birthday with a little tribute (and I had a tiny existential crisis for the rest of the day). In the following weeks, I’ve come across a few gems related to the comedy or coinciding with it, including the one we’re talking about today.

During the promotional press rounds and obligations for Talladega Nights, Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, were brought on as guests for the famed Larry King Live on CNN. But the actors were not there as themselves. No, they appeared as Ricky Bobby and his best friend, Cal Naughton, Jr. Already, it’s a strange setup, and it proceeds to get better from there.

Ricky Bobby and Cal Naughton Jr on Larry King

King goes on to ask Bobby (Farrell) about the challenge he issues to drivers in Talladega Nights, and proceeds to play a response from Dale Earnhardt Jr., taken at the film’s premiere, where he calls Bobby a “fruitcake” and that everyone saw his mental breakdown coming. Earnhardt Jr. calls in to the show later to roast Bobby. King also takes a call from the King, Richard Petty.

I can’t tell if it’s entirely scripted, but it appears to be a great 45 minutes of improvisation from the comedy duo, asking about what they’d do in politics, and a terrible joke between Iraq and an IROC, all wrapped around teaser scenes from the film for the actual promotion. It’s brilliant.

Although I never want to see this film ever remade, I’d love to see an older Bobby and Naughton Jr. take back to the track, or do retirement racing in IMSA or something.


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