Friday, April 28, 2006

Tomorrow's Just Your Future Yesterday

For the most part, late night talk shows have gone degenerated to garbage. David Letterman, who used to be absolutely brilliant, barely phones it in night after night; it's obvious that he's as bored as we are. Jay Leno has sacrificed comedy for biased political commentary and tedious skit humor. Conan O'Brien has replaced cleverness with schtick. And I know there are some other late-night mannequins on whose shows I've watched from time to time, but they're so cookie-cutter monotonous I don't even know the hosts' names.

I'd give up on late night television entirely if it weren't for Craig Ferguson. Clever, fresh, self-effacing, unpredictable, charming... he possesses many of the best qualities of Johnny Carson, delivered with a Scottish accent. His opening monologue is always good for numerous laughs, and his interviews are both interesting and informative. If you've never tried his show, you should watch it (or, if you don't feel like staying up until 12:37 a.m., when the show begins, you can Tivo it). If he doesn't hook you after two or three episodes, he's not going to hook you at all--his shows are so rock-solid and so steadily entertaining that by three nights you really feel like you know him.

If you miss late-night television's glory days, when television was actually worth staying up for, you need some Craig Ferguson in your viewing diet...

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree. I still think Letterman is the best among the "regular hour" US shows, but he does look bored. He probably is, he's too good for what he's doing. Leno is nothing, never was, can't even speak properly. Ferguson is refreshing and humanly unpredictable, funny and honest, Conan is just ok. Too bad Ferguson is on that late for you guys.

Joachim, Norway.

Trisha said...

Wow, I totally agree with you here! I am not one for talk shows (being a victim of watching my father's Johnny Carson box set too many times) due to the lack of entertainment. But Craig is amazing. And that Scottish brogue definatley makes his female audience adore him even more, so he can't lose now can he?

K. Grace said...

you can catch some of the full episodes of Ferguson on cbs.com! That's how I watch it since I don't have a tv. :)

Anonymous said...

I absolutely adore Craig Ferguson. Leno and Letterman and Conan are just dull compared to him. He's funny, original, and knows what is relevant. He's got the energy and spontaneity of my teenage daughter. He actually reminds me of her sometimes when he's dressed in his drag and whatnot.


(I'm joking about that last bit!)

- Nancy Howell, Kentucky

Anonymous said...

I agree with everyone who thinks that Craig F. has the best late night show. I also like the fact that we are both friends of Bill W.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I completely disagree.
It's true: Ferguson is full of energy and has fun doing what he does.
At the same time, his way of doing comedy is not particularly elaborate or sophisticated. He tries to produce what's called an "easy laugh". And he's very good at that. But at the same time, people who bet on easy laughs should not be praised as much as people who bet on sofisticated laughs.
If I had to choose among Ferguson, Letterman, Conan and Leno, I'd definetely choose Letterman. Conan is good but not excellent. Leno... bah. Letterman looks bleaker than in the past, but he's still clever and knows what he's doing.

(If I made grammatical mistakes... forgive me: english is not my first language).

Anonymous said...

I must disagree with the above Anonymous. I also find the term "sophisticated laughs" rather pretentious, no offense to the person who used it. But ignoring that, I actually think Letterman is the one going for the "easy laughs" -- always resorting to awkward pauses and self-deprecating humor instead of actually coming up with something material. He seems to have a set way, and he expects the audience to respond to his cues (which they do) even when he doesn't do anything original. Which doesn't mean he doesn't have his funny moments, but he's not particularly reliable for me.

I'm not sure what about Craig's performance makes you say he's going for easy laughs, or what it is about the other shows that makes you call them "elaborate". I wish you would have explained that. To me a laugh is a laugh, and a laugh in a lighthearted context, which is what Craig provides, is a laugh from the heart. That's just my take on it.