Will Ferrell will adapt “Tiger Mike” into a movie

No, he probably won’t, but oh how I wish he would. In Anchorman, Ferrell immortalized the conceited 1970s newscaster Ron Burgundy, a completely unexpected delight.

Today, instead of making a more than likely underwhelming sequel, Ferrell should play Edward “Tiger Mike” Davis, the legendary CEO of the Houston-based Tiger Oil Company, which declared bankruptcy in 1980.

Tiger Mike may have been the greatest bad manager in the history of the workplace, and he’s written more punchlines than Ferrell would ever need. His unparalleled memos, Platonic forms of incompetent managerial correspondence, would give most human resources and internal communications professionals an aneurysm. They establish him as a jaw-dropping boor who nonetheless manages to elicit your sympathy.

“When you are on the road or out doing my business, that is exactly what I expect you to do 100%,” Tiger Mike writes in a typical memo, dated January 13, 1978. “I do not want any fabricated expense accounts, drinking or carousing around on my money. Telephone calls for business purposes only will be accepted — not personal.”

So far, so good, until:

“This will apply to all geologists, geophysicists, and whoever the hell it may concern who works for me.”

“If you don’t like it, you can do the same thing the ones in the first memo got told — pick up your check!…” he continues, concluding “Do not speak to me when you see me. If I want to to speak to you, I will do so. I want to save my throat. I don’t want to ruin it by saying hello to all of you sons-of-bitches.”

Often, it’s not so much the expectations Tiger Mike has of his employees as the way he communicates them.

From day to day, he voices impotent fury punctuated by a range of demands and even occasional appeals to common decency. Meanwhile, it seems, his employees steal his cigars, candy and medicine, use his private bathroom, charge personal phone calls to the office, and drink on the job. And instead of managing them, he condescends to them in a series of ever angrier and more ineffectual memos, as his company careens off to hell.

As any reader will recognize, Tiger Mike’s tone-deafness alone almost guarantees that his memos will have the opposite of their intended effects, and you can only laugh as you imagine how his employees reacted to them.

“I have noticed that the rugs throughout this office are very dirty from people spilling things on them,” he writes on June 1, 1978. “I will have them cleaned (which will cost me $1,000.00); and, in future, if people cannot carry their coffee without spilling it on my rugs, we will do away with the coffee pots entirely just as we did away with the food.”

I would gladly pay twice what a movie ticket now costs to see Will Ferrell own that role.

Sporting a moustache of mythical proportions, he kills it in Anchorman, subjecting Christina Applegate — a great foil, and one of the only ones who doesn’t bust out laughing beside him — to all sorts of misogyny and boorish pick-ups.

Tiger Mike provides more material than Ron Burgundy ever did. How could Ferrell not hit it out of the park with this stuff?

One Response to “Will Ferrell will adapt “Tiger Mike” into a movie”

  1. Josh March 19, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

    Ah, the immortal Tiger Oil memoranda! Time spent reading them is never wasted. And what a relief to hear someone speak candidly to employees from a position of superiority, without the smallest bow to custom or courtesy. He speaks as a man who earned his position and expects others to do the same. A misanthrope perhaps, but, seeing the results of our age of entitlement and self-esteem, can we so quickly say he is wrong?


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