Late night, alcoholism, punching down

It’s bad news for insomniacs, you know, Craig Ferguson’s divorce from The Late Late Show. I’ve never watched any of the other – the normal – late shows, but if I had an attack of the wide-awakes then Craig Ferguson was just the ticket.

Slate says some of why (although much of my why is somewhat different):

Still, this is bad news for fans of late night television. It’s even bad news for haters of late night television: Ferguson was an irreverent genius, a consistent and consistently surprising comic who took the genre’s tiresome format and threw it out the window. He had no in-house band. He had no in-house announcer. His co-host was a robot. His monologues eschewed weak and easy one-liners, focusing instead on anecdotal digressions and slice-of-life observations. Above all, his Late Late Show was informed by a unique kindness, vulnerability, and sense of perspective. Never was that more evident than in one of his best openings, when he refused to skewer Britney Spears and other embattled celebrities given his own struggles with alcoholism and depression.

Ok so I watched the clip, all 12 minutes of it, which dates from February 20 2007, before I was aware of him. (He’s lost a lot of the accent since then.) It’s pretty damn good.



  1. leni says

    Wow, that was really very sweet. I don’t watch the show so I didn’t know that about him or his comedy. Makes me a little sad that he’s leaving even though I don’t watch the show.

  2. shari says

    I watched this last week, I really loved his show, and this clip is absolutely touching. I can’t wait to see what he does next, and I applaud his opposition to ‘punching down’.

  3. Ysidro says

    I sometimes get to watch his show due to occasional bouts of working overnight. I can’t explain how amazing this man has been at deconstructiong the late night talk show genre. What gets me the most is his ablity to adapt. He went from a traditional written-joke monologue to improv, was solo without a band until Grant Imahara built Geoff Peterson, and even then Geoff went for a long while with only a few preprogrammed phrases. You haven’t laughed until you’ve heard the back and forth between a man and a robot with a vocabulary smaller than many toddlers’. And then getting Josh Thompson to voice Geoff live! Using handpuppets on TV (once even doing a total puppet episode.) but being willing to drop the gag when it got stale. Keeping on an old gag in the form of a pantomime horse when it went over so well with the audience. Changing up how he ends interviews (pop quiz, harmonica, awkward pauses, “smell my finger” awkward pauses, week long trips to Scotland and Paris, etc etc etc.

    The man is amazing and I’m glad he has a job lined up, but I’m going to miss this show. How much? When I first heard he was leaving, my initial thought was “what will happen to Geoff Peterson!?” That’s right, I was concerned about what would happen to a gay robot skeleton sidekick. How many other people can make someone do that?

  4. says

    Yeah. I reeeeeeeeeeeeeeally like Craig Ferguson.

    I suppose it’s because I do that I’m not crushed that he’s quitting – because he was always saying he was getting bored with it, and that in a way kind of made me want him to do something else, because he’s too good to be bored with what he’s doing, if you see what I mean. But dang I bet I’ll have withdrawal after December – even though I don’t actually have insomnia all that often.

  5. Eric O says

    I rarely watch TV, let alone late night talk shows, but I definitely have a bit of a fondness for this guy. I remember when I first saw that Britney Spears monologue on YouTube and being impressed with his sincerity and thoughtfulness. It was also nice to see that someone can be funny without punching down, which has pretty much become my way of distinguishing between comics who I like and comics who annoy me.

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