“Welcome to Los Angeles, California, welcome to The Late Late Show; I am your host, TV’s Craig Ferguson.”
And with that begins the goofiest hour on television. (Well, not exactly – but we’ll get to that in a moment.) The Late Late Show is, compared to other late-night shows, different – it seems a lot more low-budget (as Craig always jokes about – how they only spend their money on graphics, how the lighting is so bad, &c.), a lot more nerdy, and a lot more…well…odd.
This, on the whole, is why I like The Late Late Show; its awkwardness. It only amplifies Craig’s genuine style – how his monologues are a meandering storytelling session, with little structure; how he is as equally intrigued as we, the viewers are about silly little graphics and gags; how he is exceptionally self-deprecating (must be a Scottish thing); and how his interviews are an actual conversation and not a thinly veiled plug.
I like that he does things that are generally below guys like Jay Leno (whose comedy has seemed more, and more, and more dated) like reading viewer e-mail (which I don’t believe is written by staff members – a lot of them seem far too bizarre to be fabricated). I like that, every once in a while, the show caters to nerds (I can’t think of another late-night show that would have a lineup of Jim Parsons of The Big Bang Theory and They Might Be Giants, or a “MythBusters Night”). I like that Craig can be silly, like with his sketches (I should mention that, except for Jimmy Fallon’s Seventh Floor West, Craig is the only late-night host to do sketches like “The Rather Late Programme” and his bit as J.K. Rowling – which he hasn’t done in a while, unfortunately), his sight gags (his “Do we have a picture of Paul McCartney?” being the best of all), and mini-monologue lip-synching, like this one from June (that literally had me whistling TMBG during the SAT’s)…
…yet also somber and respectful (albeit with a tinge of comedy), like when he dedicated an entire show to interviewing the Archbishop Desmond Tutu (skip to the 3:30 mark).
Finally, I enjoy how he embodies the American spirit – how proud he is, without being disingenuous, about coming to this nation, and becoming a naturalized citizen.
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson can be seen at 12:30 AM on the East Coast on CBS.