Wednesday, June 12, 2013

BANFF: Craig Ferguson on Deconstructing the Talk Show, the Late Night Wars and Whether He Wants a New Time Slot

Craig Ferguson

"Do I have ambitions for another time slot? You can ask me," Craig Ferguson tells me. "I dont care."

"Craig, do you have ambitions for another time slot?"

"I don't care."

The highlight of this year's Banff Media Festival had to have been my on-stage interview with Ferguson, the late-night host who has become a pro at deconstructing the entire genre. "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" is known for its spontaneous interviews, robot sidekick, stream of consciousness monologues and more. We talked about all of that, and more, in front of a crowd of perhaps 200 conference attendees (including the mayor of Banff).

Here's an excerpt from how the local media covered it:

BANFF, Alta. - The popular host of "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" brought his unique brand of often ribald humour to the Banff World Media Festival where he was receiving the Sir Peter Ustinov Comedy Award.

"My people built this country. I don't know if you know that. Oh, I'm lying? It's not true?" Craig Ferguson said Tuesday to laughter and applause.

"This is what I said when I drove into Banff. It's lovely here. This is what Scotland must have looked like when they first built it," said Ferguson, with a much more pronounced Scottish accent than he has on his show.

Ferguson, 51, has been hosting the show for nine years. He's been nominated for an Emmy and won a Peabody Award for his interview with Bishop Desmond Tutu, has written books and appeared in TV shows and movies.

There's the air of a bad boy about Ferguson, who often refers to himself as just another "late-night douche" in reference to the typically formulaic state of late-night talk shows.

His show is unscripted and it's tradition that he tears up the carefully typed notes and tosses them as each guest sits down.

"That's just a kind of protest. It's saying I'm not going to do what your publicist told you I was going to do. That's how it started as and what it's become is some stupid OCD thing, I suppose, but I just do it," said Ferguson, wearing a casual grey Catalina Island T-shirt, jeans and running shoes.

"They're not props. They're really done and they still do them and I rip them up."

Even the addition of his gay robot skeleton Geoff Peterson was meant to be a shot at the cheerleading responses of most late-night sidekicks.

"Geoff Peterson is emblematic of my failure as a late-night talk-show host because what I wanted to do, as a protest, have a robot that would give the sidekick pat answers. This is how robotic it is. It's ridiculous," he said.

More coverage from the Calgary Herald.

And here are several clips from the interview that have already made it on to YouTube:

1 comment:

David said...

Interesting post!!

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