News Column

Treasure Coast Newspapers, Stuart, Fla., Ginny Beagan column

November 20, 2013


Nov. 20--I had heard the rumors about the silly, smart Scottish host of "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson." They said his standup act was raunchy -- a bit unexpected because as nonsensical as he is, the CBS talk show host has earned a reputation for intelligent television.

So when he opened up his show at The Lyric Theatre in Stuart Tuesday night with his catch phrase, "It's a great day for America," and a few mild jokes, I thought maybe the rumors were exaggerated.

They were not. He was just warming up.

"You're going to be offended," Ferguson told the crowd of mostly baby boomers. "Each and every one of you."

The comedian was on stage for about an hour, and the sold out show was laced with profanity and adult humor.

"He's dirty," said 69-year-old Charlotte Roth of Rochester, N.Y. "But not ugly dirty."

Roth and her friends are fans of Ferguson who call themselves "The Robot Skeleton Army" -- a nod to Ferguson's sidekick on his TV show, Geoff. Catherine Terver, 40, flew in from France to see Ferguson, and Nancy Herman of Tampa has tickets to all six of his Florida performances.

Ferguson has been hosting the late night slot following David Letterman since 2005, and despite a dancing horse and other high jinks, he has won a Peabody Award and an Emmy nomination.

The Peabody for excellence in broadcasting was awarded in 2010 for Ferguson's interview with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and in his usual self-deprecating way, Ferguson had a puppet acknowledge the award on his show.

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, the comedian became an American citizen in 2008. He opens every show with his catch phrase and a slap to the side of the camera.

A recovering alcoholic now sober for decades, he was a drummer in a few British punk rock bands during the 1980s and sings the theme song to his own show. He made the switch to comedy in the 1990s and gained fame in the United States playing the role of the boss, Nigel Wick, on "The Drew Carey Show."

An accomplished author, Ferguson wrote and starred in three films: "The Big Tease," "Saving Grace" and "I'll Be There." He has written two books: a novel called "Between the Bridge and the River" and his memoir, "American on Purpose."

Ferguson joked Tuesday night he had reached the pinnacle of show business success playing The Lyric Theatre.

"They said, 'You'll never make it to Stuart,' but I did," Ferguson said.

The 51-year-old comedian, dressed in a sport coat, khaki pants and Converse sneakers, arrived about two minutes before show time and left just as quickly.


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