In four years as host of The Late Late Show on CBS, Craig Ferguson already has established his own personal stamp on American late-night chat shows, right from the start each night with a cheeky prelude before the opening credits that may or may not involve hand puppetry from behind the camera, into a fully improvised monologue that allows Ferguson to let his thoughts loose and through a loosey goosey hour of sketches and interviews.
So what would Ferguson's first-ever stand-up comedy special in America look like? Ferguson (like Tonight Show veteran Jay Leno and Late Night rookie Jimmy Fallon, as well as The Daily Show's Jon Stewart) performs stand-up between weeks of tapings, but unlike Leno and Fallon or even Stewart, most Americans will probably get their first real good look at his comedy character in A Wee Bit O' Revolution, which premieres Sunday night as an hourlong special on Comedy Central (and comes out Tuesday as an 80-minute DVD with extras). Filmed at Boston's Wilbur Theatre in 2008, the same year that the Scotsman both became an American citizen and also delivered the keynote address at the White House Correspondents Dinner (in which Ferguson chose to chastise the media more than the man in charge), Ferguson opens by acknowledging the quandary of his situation, standing next to George W. Bush."He was really nice to me and friendly...which makes things a little awkward," Ferguson tells the audience. "He's the most unpopular president in the history of presidents, and that's the one I get my photograph taken with?!" How would he explain that photo to his 7-year-old son later in life? "Son, this was before the trial," Ferguson explains.
|Craig Ferguson - Loving America|
He talks about how his love for the United States began when he first traveled here in the 1970s at the age of 13, visiting his cousins and sharing a joint with them at a Blue Oyster Cult concert on Long Island. He also jokes freely about his years of drug and alcohol abuse, and going through rehab. "If you haven't been to rehab, check your HMO!" he advises. Sobered up, he came to Los Angeles in January 1995 with little money or support network, auditioned for a Hispanic role in the pilot for Suddenly Susan, and lucked into (as he says) his role as an Englishman on The Drew Carey Show. "I made some friends, and I made a little money, and I bought a car, and I met a girl, and we fell in love, and we got married, and we got divorced," he says. "It's the American dream!"
You also may hear Ferguson talk at length about fellow Scot Sean Connery, getting old, Tom Cruise, plastic surgery, jokes about his dick, and his Scottish/Jewish wedding to his second ex-wife. In real life, Ferguson has recently remarried. Here's hoping he gets a wee bit o' better luck in love this time around.
Earlier: My 2006 interview with Craig Ferguson, in which he talked about his past, his show and his connections to Jon Stewart and Dane Cook.