“It’s a great day in America,” bellows Craig Ferguson every weeknight five minutes after David Letterman’s show fades out.
Ferguson — talk-show host, hyper-Scotsman, stand-up comedian and naturalized American citizen — has been credited by many media commentators as being more innovative and substantial than his late-night counterparts, and the ratings have been catching up. Ferguson agrees, to a point.
For 10 years, Ferguson was best-known as Drew Carey's termination-happy TV boss Nigel Wick. That show was canceled in 2004, and he landed the late-late night gig the following year, where he commenced intuitively adapting the traditional late-night format to his particular comic style. Among other things, this has led the terminally self-aware, self-deprecating Ferguson to regularly make jokes at his own expense (i.e. his comparatively low salary and a studio audience that showed up only to receive free fried chicken).
Ferguson's unique, personable brand of talk has earned him slowly increasing acclaim. For instance, a 2007 monologue began with his reluctance to make fun of the Britney Spears meltdown and then turned into a lengthy discussion of his own alcoholism, a period in his life that climaxed on Christmas Day in 1991 when Ferguson came within an inch of taking his own life. The natural, incidental humor that accompanied the brutal personal details only reinforced its feeling of authenticity.
He performs at the Taft Theatre. Read Aaron Epple's interview with Ferguson and get event details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.