I am embarking on a potentially disastrous course.
A sensitive mission.
And before I even start, let me wring my hands in apology.
Curiosity is the eighth deadly sin.
But speaking bluntly is Craig Ferguson gay? Or not gay. Or bi-sexual?
Am I missing the point? Is Craig cutting edge? Terminally hip?
Or is he formerly gay-- back in his druggy and alcohol-fueled youth in the mean streets of Glasgow. His substance addictions ended after he woke up sometime in the 1980's with a sore ass (presumably from drugs??!??) in a Ti Juana alley.
Craig Ferguson, are you "bi-curious". That's the way you've teasingly described your sexuality and that of others such as David Beckham.
(Most recently Craig astonishingly called Tom Cruise "a virgin"--actually it's the first I heard that--but it computes.
Then Craig did one of his dazzling,split-second kaleidoscopic reversal-- sincerely shaking his head no, then sincerely nodding yes, and then teasingly shaking his head no, and ending up by totally sincerely nodding yes.)
I will now try to sort out clues about Craig's sexual preferences.
The seductive Scotsman loves to say,:"Last week I was in Orlando....Florida." (Here Craig fakes incredulity at audience guffaws.)
He continues, "Hey, I'm not gay, but if I was, isn't Orlando Bloom gooooahrgeous?" Meanwhile Craig's busy pulling a new series of kaleidoscopic, goofy and sincere faces.
The amazing thing is--in repose his face is handsome and dignified--on a continuum with Gregory Peck. He completes the image by wearing a white shirt, black suit, and tie.
But unlike Peck who was frozen-faced, Craig's visage is transformed in a matter of seconds by all manner of goofy and profoundly intelligent expressions.
He instantly becomes many hilarious people and animals and even the Munch painting of a scream.
While Pamela Anderson combs his hair with her long fingernails, Craig breaks me up by mumbling earnestly, "Do that again. Do that again. I'll give you money."
Craig's jokes can be cruelly homophobic.
Craig adores a video of himself attired in a Playboy waitress outfit--one-piece woman's black bathing suit, bunny tail. and matronly high heels. He curses as he's refused admission to a Playboy party in Miami. (The bunny suit reveals a flat, lumpy ass, as is wittily noted by Craig.)
Craig proudly alludes (yet again) to his "large sausage", and explains, "After all I'm Scottish.".
Let me step back a moment.
How did I become a Craig Ferguson fan?
As a writer, I was immediately soothed by Craig's ear for language. (Indeed he's recently published a very respectable, picaresque novel.)
Watching Craig, I was soon laughing aloud. The transforming facial expressions. The off-color, off-the-cuff jokes.
I suddenly remembered two good films (written by, produced and starring
Craig Ferguson.) In "The Big Tease" he's a gay Glasgow hairdresser who goes to Hollywood in search of glory at a hairstyling contest. (Is this CLUE?!!#6?)
Then there are his gleeful lowbrow interests--Las Vegas magicians for one.
Craig is brainy observer--and maniacly fast on his feet.
An autodidact who quit high school he quotes Bishop Berkeley to explain he's no atheist.
I like his exotic Scottish accent and his tres sophisticated pov --the accent's staccato, with classy British intonations, so it's not a 100% genuine brogue, but it's "lovely"--to borrow Craig's word.
(He recounts how he accosted Stephen Spielberg, introduced himself and said,
"Hello lovely." Spielberg said, "Nobody's ever called me that." But Craig soon became bored, the way he sometimes feels at a Spielberg movie.)
I like how Craig sweet-talks the camera (even pats it affectionately after commercial breaks).
Ultimately I was hooked by how ruthlessly and perceptively Craig jokes about himself.
Things I know about Craig Ferguson:
* Craig is sober for almost two decades, but there's a look in his eye when he
recalls the wild days.
* Craig's memorized the first line of Catch-22 .
* Recently he got his first tattoo in Miami.
* He took his mother (and does a good-natured, falsetto impression of her) to the Emmy's where he lost to Barry Manillow and still shakes his fist and shouts, "Curses on you Manillow.". A showbiz acquaintance sitting near Craig took one look at Craig's elderly mum, and asked Craig, "Can't you do better?"
* Craig likes his motorcycle.
* Craig loves hot young black women--and once dated a daughter of Diana Ross.
* He puked during a flying lesson.
* He masturbates. "I googled myself this afternoon" and he inflects his voice and his face so we know he's really saying he masturbated. But then he pulls more kaleidoscope faces each contradicting the previous one.
* Craig hates marriage. He devoutly says his recently divorced wife is lovely "for legal reasons".
* Craig sided with Rosie O'Donnell in her fight with "predator" Donald Trump.
* Craig worries about his white pubic hairs ("the snow down below") He likes his pepper and salt hair on his head ("the snow on the roof") He doesn't get professional haircuts--cuts his own hair.
* Craig is not a happy camper, despite his elation at "contributing to the zeitgeist" on CBS. Once he called himself "a sleazy lounge entertainer." He later told a guest, "I'm a piece of crap at the center of the Universe."
* Craig has bad intestinal problems and his bathroom is worse than a war zone, "Something terrible happens in there." ("I'm a bit farty," he says his crisp brogue lost in a temporary and impregnable BBC accent.)
* During his first weeks on the CBS late show, Craig stiffly recited a scripted monologue. Then someone (maybe Peter Lassally who produced Johnny Carson and came out of retirement to curate Craig) pushed Craig out on stage and said lose the script.
These days his thoughtful,meandering monologues (pretty much unscripted) are reason enough
for millions of people to lose sleep. (The show starts at 12:30 on CBS, produced by and following David Letterman.)
"Take off your pants," begins Craig. "Relax," he continues accompanying his words with goofy kaleidoscopic faces.
"Rub your body with oils. Take out the curlers and spread your long blond hair on the pillow."
He grins, "You too ladies."
"It's a great day for America" Craig sings out, "but not a great day for Lindsay Lohann."
The young actress said someone else put cocaine in her pants.
"I know. It happened to me too" says Craig earnestly.
Goofy faces mock his words. He explains that this is why he never wears pants. He dances sideways wiggling his hands like a clown with buck teeth and no pants on.
Because he's uneasy joking about Lindsay Lohann's drug troubles, Craig reproaches her (presumably somewhere in the home audience) in a Mary Poppins accent. "Lindsay, :Lindsay, Lindsay. Oh, Lindsay, Lindsay Lindsay."
If his mind zigzags to recondite subjects, Craig interrupts himself angrily, "I know what you're thinking--just another late-night, talk-show host going on about the Reformation."
Sometimes to my delight, Craig becomes a household pet .
He subtly transforms his face and his voice--his hands are paws. Craig is a snarling demented cat, clawing a foe. Instantly undercutting his silliness with an eyebrow wiggle, he warns us seriously, "If you die, your cat will eat you." .
He also becomes a fornicating dog --eyelids almost closed, head bobbing. ("I don't mind if they hump my leg," says Craig angrily, "but at least show an interest in me as a person.") His jokes reverberate--in this case, of course,oh he's also parodying a woman complaining about a man.
He also becomes wild animals.
He coos deep in his gullet and flirtatiously addresses us after a commercial break "welcome back my filthy pigeons."
One Monday he transforms his face and shoulders into an impassive deadly sea lion that overturned Craig's kayak over the weekend. (He remembers thinking as he floundered in the water-- oh great, if I survive this, it's my next monologue. If I die, it's somebody else's monologue.)
He concludes by tying up monologue strands of low life gossip, current events and hilarious intimacies.
Craig is getting really good at interviewing guests. .
He's his best drawing out fellow citizens of the British Isles, such as Peter O'Toole and Emma Thompson and Eddie Izzard and Sir Ben Kingsley..
Or maybe he's best at enjoying young actresses: "I think I'm falling a bit in love with you," he mumbled once. What fun to watch Craig having such fun on the job.
Look, he's probably a lonely guy who seems to prefer the tv camera to real people, so we can all be seduced--night after night after night.
Seduced but not abandoned.
Just click the power button on your remote. You're safe.
Let me return one last time to the subject of my inquiry.
I fear I must abort my mission. The quest is beyond me.
And, according to one man who managed to make sex boring, the earnest Alfred Kinsey, we're all a mix of sexual natures.
In fact, Craig himself has probably answered my question..
Sometimes he shrugs after an hilarious sexual confession. "Hey I'm European."
But I'm still watching his every moue and move