‘Eastbound & Down’ Creator and Actor Ben Best Dead at 46

by John Jamison
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Anyone who’s gone down the blooper reel rabbit hole on YouTube will instantly recognize the comedic gold that was “Eastbound & Down.” From 2009 to 2013, actor Danny McBride played washed-up big-league pitcher Kenny Powers to a tee. Tragically, McBride’s collaborator and co-creator of the hit HBO series, Ben Best, passed away on Sunday.

Best’s 47th birthday would have been Monday. Tragically, his production company announced his death on Instagram earlier today.

“It’s with heavy hearts we say goodbye to our good buddy Ben Best. We lost him the day before he would have turned 47. A hell of a friend and a creative force. He inspired us and made us laugh. Charming and hilarious. Gone way too soon. We love and miss you,” the Rough House Pictures account captioned the photo.

While not quite as recognizable as his college buddy Danny McBride, Ben Best had a successful career to his name. He appeared as an actor in movies like “Superbad,” “Land of the Lost,” and “Observe and Report.” But his acting is the least of it. Best is credited with writing two feature-length films.

The first was the one that put him and Danny McBride on the map. In 2006, they independently released “The Foot Fist Way.” In 2011, his other feature film, “Your Highness,” starring James Franco and Natalie Portman alongside McBride, hit the big screen.

From there, he moved on to “Eastbound & Down.” He is credited as a co-creator of the show, wrote at least three episodes, and was listed as an executive producer for nine.

Will Ferrell Calls Ashley Schaeffer From ‘Eastbound & Down’ One of the ‘Crazier’ Characters He’s Ever Played

And that’s saying a lot. Comedic legend Will Ferrell comes from a “Saturday Night Live” background. With the sheer number of sketches and characters a show like that demands, he’s seen his fair share of crazy characters.

But when Dazed asked Ferrell who the wildest character he ever played was, the “Anchorman” actor cited none other than someone Ben Best helped to cook up. For those unfamiliar with “Eastbound & Down,” Will Ferrell played an antagonist named Ashley Schaeffer.

He appeared in five episodes during the series’ run. The result was a hilarious character, yes. But it also made for one of the most legendary blooper reels of all time.

“Ashley Schaeffer is one of the crazier characters I’ve done by far. There’s a point where my wife was watching (Eastbound & Down) with me, saying that ‘that might be the most disgusting person you’ve ever played,’ and it just made me laugh. It’s all luck, in a way. I’m just doing it, going insane, and then when I hear back from people who say, ‘That was hilarious,’ I’m like, ‘Oh, okay, good,’ without any consciousness of thinking, ‘This is really going to work,'” said Ferrell in 2012.

Outsider.com