Craig Ferguson (Late, Late Show CBS) takes some time off now and again to do stand-up around the country because he likes to do it and it breaks up his Late show routine. I have mentioned before that I think he’s possibly the funniest guy on the planet right now. He has an honest, fast moving, unscripted humor that flows consistently. He likes performing before live audiences and it shows.
He came to the Carnage Library here, a rather small venue not holding very many people. Every seat is a good seat. My problem was negotiating all this with a wheelchair. There was a “wheelchair row” off to the left of the stage but I had better seats, so we had to bludgeon our away around to the other side for our seats about four back from the stage. I had to do several pirouettes but we finally made it to the seats. The couple beside me said this is the third time they’ve seen him in three years and most of those there were Craig veterans as well.
First guy out was the voice of “Geoff” the mechanical skeleton robot that Craig trades quips off routinely. CBS didn’t give him enough money to afford a “sidekick” or much else but a desk, so Craig created living animations to play off. The guy that voices Geoff is really a celebrity voice mime and he’s pretty good. He’s also quick and funny, the perfect foil for Craig. Check out some of their interactions on youtube.
Following this, and a bit of a surprise to the veterans, “Secretariat” the stuffed horse (two guys in a brown cloth horse outfit) came trotting out on stage followed by Craig. They did their little dance together and It was hysterical. The crowd went nuts. Secretariat is a staple on the Late, Late show and plays off Craig as well. The play-offs between Craig and these artificial creatures interact incredibly and always funny. This has never been done before. Craig’s interactions with his guests are never scripted, always completely fresh.
Craig came off as genuinely affectionate with the small audience. You could tell it in his eyes. Basically, his humor consisted of extemporaneous, fast paced storytelling. He paces back and forth along the stage and spins tales pulling it all up as he goes along. The lady sitting next to me says he always starts out telling the audience the best joke ever told, then digresses to the rest of his routine for the next hour and fifteen minutes or so, then to bring up the end, he finally tells the best joke ever told, a joke I will tell you now:
“Two very competitive guys were playing golf and deeply into the game when a funeral procession happened by. One of the golfers stopped in the middle of a putt, took off his cap and stood solemnly as the procession passed. The other golfer was amazed: “Wow, what could possibly prompt you to do this?”. The other golf went back to his putt after the procession passed and remarked: “Well, I was married to her for 35 years”.
Ferguson is a master of grabbing seemingly insignificant daily occurrences and making them funny. Never scripted, no teleprompter or held up signs. He’s alway fresh and always interesting. His last Late, Late show will be December 19 I think and we will lose one of the funniest men on the planet. He admits he has no particular plans for the future.
I would strongly suggest you see his show on CBS after David Letterman 12:30 am. Most TV setups now allow taping. Just tape a couple of shows and watch them earlier. Really one of a kind, his likes probably never to be seen again.