Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Craig Ferguson rocks!

In the past month or so, fans of late night tv talk shows have had to suffer through the NBC fiasco, also known as the Jay vs. Conan war….or the Jeff Zucker “I’m an idiot” sweepstakes. As head of NBC, Zucker basically ruined one of tv’s most prestigious franchises by backing Conan O’Brien into a corner and, essentially, forcing him out in order to bring Jay Leno back to "The Tonight Show," after Jay’s variety show failed in prime-time. Will we ever know if it was Zucker’s budget-tightening or Jay’s refusal to leave - or a combination of the two - that caused the dust-up?

All I know is that the guys at CBS were on top of their game throughout the debacle: David Letterman was literally on fire, savouring every moment, 18 years after losing "The Tonight Show" sweepstakes when NBC picked Leno to be Johnny Carson’s successor… and, fellow host (and Letterman employee) Craig Ferguson kicked some serious ass, too, as always.

After a long stint on "The Drew Carey show" (as Drew’s boss, Mr. Wick), Ferguson landed the gig as the host of "The Late, Late Show" on CBS in January, 2005, months after Craig Kilborn’s departure.

Craig’s rambling monologues are filled with sidebars into crazy, funny territory, while always returning to a central theme; the manic nature of his routines remind me of both Robin Williams and David Lee Roth at their comedic best.

Craig has a rock n roll history: a native of Glasgow, Scotland, he was the drummer in a band called "Exposure" for a time back in the '70s; he then shifted gears into high-speed when he joined “The Bastards From Hell,” a punk band later renamed "Dreamboys" – before successfully trying his hand at comedy.

A drummer and a guitarist, Craig sings the opening theme to his CBS show.

Craig Ferguson - The Late, Late Show opening theme

A segment of every show is devoted to Craig reading viewer email; in the early years, Ferguson featured an insanely funny series of theme songs to introduce the topic. One of the many cool things about them was that they covered such a wide range of musical genres – everything from reggae to Vegas cheese to country - my favourite was always the Ramones-inspired punk theme, complete with the band’s famous “gabba-gabba-hey” chant. Back in 2008, someone collected a bunch of these and posted a montage online..check it out…

** a word of caution: the volume levels tend to jump up and down from one jingle to the next, so you may want to keep a finger on your volume level when you play this:

Craig Ferguson – email jingles compilation
(watch out for audio levels!)

Unfortunately, the email jingles disappeared and haven’t been returned to action.

After categorically refusing to take part in the Twitter world for a long, long time, Craig joined the system last week, and seems to be having a blast. His Twitter handle is “craigyferg”, and he’s up to almost 100,000 followers in his first week. Ferguson refers to his followers as a "robot-skeleton army” destined to take over the world from their “hollowed-out volcano.”

Well, wouldn’t you know it: an inspired new jingle has been put into action and it’s another winner. This one has an '80s techno vibe to it:

Craig Ferguson – Twitter jingle

So, I say welcome back to world of jingles, Craig…and please, do me a favour and throw on that punk rock email intro one more time for old times sake!

For more crazy fun, tune into the show…and/or visit "The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson" website here.