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Craig Ferguson, or, A Good Laugh Is Hard To Find

But not when I’m watching this zany man.

Mind you, I’ve only seen his show three times, and my father, a connoisseur of comedy, introduced me to the show.   He’s introduced me to much that is funny.  I remember “That Was the Week That Was;” coming home on a late weekend night to find him watching the Killer Bees on Second City Television; reading Perelman, Thurber, Benchley.  He used to call Jean Shephard when Jean was doing his radio show and chat with him while Jean played records.  I just read a slew of Gene Weingarten’s “Below the Beltway” columns my dad saved for me.  He “reads” me comics over the phone, clearly laying out the scene, and always attributing the writer. 

We were at Goonan Beach Week, and my father, the world’s most dedicated night owl  (he’s earned the right, as he turns 90 in September and has spent a lifetime perfecting what is not only an art, but a philosopy, polishing night owlism to glowing perfection) wanted to watch this show that featured “a robot as a sidekick.”  Well, all right.  We television amateurs set to and in a matter of mere hours of working with the five remote controls provided had found the show, set it up, turned on the captioning, and settled back, not knowing what to expect. 

Within a few moments I was literally rolling on the floor with laughter.  (This is because I was lying on a large pillow on the floor, but still.)  Ferguson has a weird, refreshing style, honest, direct, delivery, and hilarious lines.  

The first night he repeatedly compared his own self-described desultory, low-tech studio with his recent appearencewith Jay Leno.  The second night he opened with an obscene rabbit puppet (obscenities bleeped and the rabbit’s mouth covered by a tiny flag) talking about the new Winnie the Pooh movie, in which Ferguson plays Owl.  Splendidly, I’m sure.  All the time, there are running gags with Geoff the robot, who may be gay.  The last night I watched, Ferguson repeatedly interrupted himself to point and gesture at Geoff and chat loudly with him. exchanging what he called “the false bonhomie of late-night television.”  Then he talked about the time he was on Bill Maher’s “Politically Incorrect” with Jerry Falwell when Falwell was disparaging Teletubbies for promoting homosexuality.  Ferguson said that Falwell’s proof of the shows gay content was the Teletubby with the purple triangle bunny-bag headpiece, but Ferguson said that the gay character was clearly the one with the green penis on his head.   Flash of both pictures. 

Yes, you had to be there.  Sure, I don’t do justice to him.  He’s a postmodern genius, deconstructing late-night television, society, and himself in equal, disarming, hilarious measure.

I’m not embedding a clip, because you’d have to watch a thirty-second commercial and that doesn’t seem fair.  But don’t take my word for it.  Watch him yourself.  You’ll be hooked.

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