I’m going to say something that, based on what I’ve seen in the blogosphere, is not going to be popular: The Will Ferrell “Landlord” video is not THAT funny. It’s funny, but I bet Ferrell himself would be surprised at being held up as a comic genius for this piece when his body of work includes Celebrity Jeopardy, Old School, The “Dear Lord Baby Jesus” scene in Talladega Nights [see clip below], etc.
I have a few theories [not mutually exclusive] on why it has caught on like wildfire:
We are experiencing a serious comedy drought. What do I base this on? Cut-rate "college humor" comics [name withheld as it violates my policy of slamming people who have not personally wronged me]; SNL [since Ferrell left]; Chappell’s leave-of-absence; etc. The public is thirsty for anything even remotely amusing.
Being Will Ferrell matters. This guy has a track-record of success, and our default assumption is that anything he does will be funny. If this video were made by "Cut-Rate College Humor Comic" would it even come close in terms of popularity?
The vast majority of original content on sites like Youtube just isn’t great unless you are seeking something very specific [e.g. kitesurfing in San Fran]. Some of it is good. But not yet great.
The mainstream media needs to attach a known personality to the user-generated-content story. Ferrell is just the guy [even though he's not your average "user"].
I think what we should celebrate is not the actual content, but rather the intent. Ferrell has put himself out there like few celebs are willing to, and for that I applaud him! Don't get me wrong, I enjoy "The Landlord," I'm just pretty sure his best is yet to come.
Scene From Talladega Nights: