Elf Secretly Replaced Will Ferrell With A Legendary Actor For 1 Disgusting 12-Second Buddy Scene


  • Will Ferrell’s iconic performance as Buddy in Elf was supplemented by another actor for a 12-minute scene.
  • Voice actor Maurice LaMarche provided the burp sound for Buddy’s soda-drinking scene in Elf.
  • LaMarche continues to receive residual checks for his brief contribution to Elf, thanks to the movie’s annual popularity during the Christmas season.



While Elf is remembered for Will Ferrell’s beloved performance as Buddy, he was actually swapped out for a movie and TV legend in one of the holiday classic’s most memorable scenes. The 2003 comedy Elf was already trending on streaming platforms days after Halloween in 2023, proving how universally embraced the silly yet heartwarming Christmas adventure remains after 20 years. It chronicles the journey of Buddy the Elf, a human adopted by Santa’s elves, who heads to New York City to reunite with his birth father, with a deep focus on family and the power of Christmas spirit throughout.

Elf is largely carried by the comedic talents of Will Ferrell, with many of the movie’s most iconic lines being improvised by Ferrell in the moment. Despite a $29 million offer for a sequel, Will Ferrell turned down the opportunity to make Elf 2, and the studio opted not to move forward with another film rather than replace him as Buddy. As it turns out, one of Elf‘s more famous gags features a secret replacement for the Saturday Night Live legend. While Ferrell still appeared on the screen, his voice was replaced in favor of a truly iconic voice actor, who is responsible for some of the most famous and distinct voices in American animation.


The Original Actor Choice To Play Buddy The Elf Would Have Been Wildly Different

Elf has become one of the most popular holiday movies of all time, but it was originally written with another very different comedy actor in mind.

Buddy’s 12-Second Burp In Elf Is Actually Performed By Voice Actor Maurice LaMarche

LaMarche has voiced many notable animated characters, but his live action work is limited.

Buddy drinking coke in Elf

When eating dinner with his father, step-mother, and half-brother, Buddy drinks an entire two-liter bottle of soda, and follows it with a long, loud belch. While Ferrell visually performed the burp, the sound actually came from voice actor Maurice LaMarche. Over the course of his career, LaMarche has lent his voice to many famous animated characters, including Inspector Gadget in the original Inspector Gadget show, Toucan Sam from the Froot Loops commercials, The Brain from both Animaniacs and its spinoff Pinky and the Brain, Kif from Futurama, Egon Spengler from The Real Ghostbusters, and even Pepé Le Pew in Space Jam.

Rather than allow Ferrell to use his own voice or fake it with sound engineering, the producers of Elf actively sought out LaMarche to perform the burp. During the course of his work on Animaniacs, LaMarche had gained a reputation for his burps, and has even given demonstrations of how to execute the perfect burp. While LaMarche was not largely credited for his role in Elf, he undoubtedly made a lasting impact on the movie.

LaMarche Revealed He Has Made Thousands Of Dollars In Residuals For Being “Buddy’s Burp” In Elf

The movie’s annual popularity has kept the residual checks coming.

While LaMarche spent only one day in the studio recording his famous Elf burp, that work turned out to be extremely profitable. The burp only lasts for 12 seconds, but as LaMarche revealed on The Ship-It Show, he has continued to collect residual checks from Elf as the years have gone on. As LaMarche notes in the interview, residual checks diminish as time wears on, but he was stunned to see his first check from the movie, which was for thousands of dollars.


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Every year, LaMarche continues to receive residual checks, as many actors do. While most movies tend to fade away over time, resulting in diminishing residuals, Elf has a spike in popularity every year around Christmas, which means a new crop of people purchase the movie. That keeps the residual checks coming, and given how Elf has become a staple of the Christmas season on both streaming platforms and on television, LaMarche’s famous burp will continue to find new audiences.

Source: The Ship-It Show

  • Elf

    Release Date:

    Jon Favreau

    Will Ferrell, Zooey Deschanel, James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, Edward Asner, Bob Newhart, Daniel Tay


    97 minutes

    Family, Comedy, Fantasy

    David Berenbaum

    Will Ferrell stars as Buddy the Elf in Elf, a 2003 Christmas comedy film directed by Jon Favreau. When Buddy, a not-so-short elf, learns that he isn’t an elf but a human raised at the North Pole, he learns from Santa that his biological father is on the naughty list. However, with a little help from Buddy, he could change that. Buddy decides to journey to New York City in search of his father to change his fortune and bring Christmas cheer to the various unhappy citizens of New York City.

    $33 million

    New Line Cinema

    New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. Pictures


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