On Monday, December 15, Craig Ferguson was interviewed at the Paley Center in Beverly Hills by Oscar-winning screenwriter/comedy actor, Jim Rash. The event was called “We Bid Adieu to The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson“. Friday night will be his final episode.
The interview started after a highlight reel shown to the attendees. Of course, Jim hit on the topic of Craig deciding to exit his stint as host of “The Late Late Show”. Ferguson explained that he felt very strongly it was time to go. He alluded to how furious he was when David Bowie stopped being the character, Ziggy Stardust. Then he got giggly and clarified that he was not comparing himself to Bowie but, “I don’t know what else to do with the f#$%ing horse (Secretariat). I think I’m done…I’ve reached all of the corners of this box and I have to change boxes.”
Craig related that there were two turning points that occurred during his years of hosting. One was when he was conducting his Peabody-winning interview with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. On air he told Ferguson, “I think you’re crazy”, but during the commercial break, Tutu elaborated, “You are the type of crazy we need.” Craig said, “I felt weirdly released by that.” His interview style became more improvisational and less reliant on the pre-interview that is done with guests before the show.
The other turning point happened when Britney Spears was very publicly suffering a nervous breakdown. Instead of doing jokes about it, Craig had a monologue in which he spoke seriously about not wanting to make fun of those celebrities going through depression. His monologues became more free-form after that and he did not shy away from addressing when there was an actual crisis happening in the world.
Jim asked Craig about the phenomenon that is his robot skeleton sidekick, Geoff Peterson. According to Craig, the initial plan was to have an “adolescent foot stomp against the idea of having a sidekick.” What actually happened was Josh Robert Thompson went on to voice Geoff, and numerous celebrity impressions, early on and the opposite of what was intended occurred. Geoff became a great sidekick and Ferguson gave Josh’s improvisational and comedic ability a ton of deserved credit for what the show became.
Before the audience Q & A, Rash opened an envelope with questions written by his “Community” co-star, Joel McHale. The first silly one asked how many different ways Craig has had sex with Geoff the robot and do the guys in the horse costume ever join in. Craig’s answered, “4 and yes.” Another question pertained to the future host of “The Late Late Show”, James Corden. Ferguson talked with Corden after he was named as his successor on the phone when he got the job and eased his nervousness by telling him that the bar has been set very low. He called James lovely and very nice. Corden takes over as host in March of next year.