Monday, May 14, 2012
Tonight: Craig Ferguson takes us all to Scotland
Ferguson's visit to Paris last season was wonderfully eclectic and intimate, very low key, fly on the wall. You could watch him wander into any town and strike up conversations. He has that easy pub banter down--he could be playing darts with the locals in minutes--but on the few occasions I've met him on press tours he strikes me as both warm and wary.
It may be that I've just pissed him off. (That happens fairly regularly, and not just with people I meet from Scotland) or it may be something in the water over there. My mom was born in Hamilton, a wee town not far from Glascow. When these Scots do take you in you've generally earned it. That's when you lean in a little closer, because you know that what follows will be genuine and meant and usually brilliantly funny.
A few weeks ago, I happened to be interviewing Jimmy Mulville, the Brit comedian and producer whose studio is behind Matt LeBlanc's Showtime series Episodes, and the subject came round to Ferguson. "Fantastic story, Craig," says Mulville, a guy Ferguson credits for saving his life by helping him beat the bottle. "He's remarkable." I think so too, and admire that he has authors on late at night. He makes me want to finish a book just to get a chance to get on his show and play the harmonica.
Expect the shows this week to be all the more poignant as Ferguson approaches a birthday milestone--he turns 50 Thursday. That's a big number for somebody on TV every night in America at 12:37, but Ferguson seems to wear it as a shield these days. You get the impression that he's never been more comfortable in his own skin.
Joining Ferguson on the road trip are Mila Kunis, David Sedaris and Michael Clark Duncan along with local Glasgow band The Imagineers. Skelton robot Geoff (voiced by Josh Robert Thompson) and the dancing horse are along for the ride. As my mother would say, long may his lung reek, and the smoke go up his chimney.