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February 21, 2007 10:57 AM   Subscribe

Craig Ferguson of The Late Late Show gives Britney Spears some advice. (12:30m YouTube. It's a monologue. And it's not really about Britney all that much.)
posted by Cyrano (131 comments total) 53 users marked this as a favorite

 
That's a classy guy.
posted by desjardins at 11:03 AM on February 21, 2007


i like how the audience keeps laughing at obvious not-jokes.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 11:05 AM on February 21, 2007


I hope somebody can fill in the details on how exactly Ferguson landed this gig. I love his show, but I rarely watch it.
posted by phaedon at 11:11 AM on February 21, 2007


Not-that-funny comedian "not really" talking about an uninteresting "celebrity" for 12.5 minutes? Is there a summary available?
posted by DU at 11:14 AM on February 21, 2007


It's a monologue about his being 15 years sober.
And it's actually quite funny.
Britney is mentioned only tangentially as a starting point.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:18 AM on February 21, 2007


Not-that-funny comedian "not really" talking about an uninteresting "celebrity" for 12.5 minutes? Is there a summary available?

Remember, he's also Scottish.
posted by thanotopsis at 11:20 AM on February 21, 2007


Is there a summary available?

Craig Ferguson speaks at length, fairly earnestly, about the context and fallout of his own alcoholism. It's actually a fairly charming thing he's done here—and, ironically, something he wouldn't be able to get away with if he was in a better timeslot.
posted by cortex at 11:20 AM on February 21, 2007


Craig's eulogy for his father was linked here before.
posted by kid ichorous at 11:22 AM on February 21, 2007


I hope somebody can fill in the details on how exactly Ferguson landed this gig. I love his show, but I rarely watch it.

There's a fairly lengthy bit on Wikipedia about it but basically after Craig Kilborn left they had a number of guest hosts and he was by far the best so he got the job.
posted by Silentgoldfish at 11:23 AM on February 21, 2007


Yeah I caught this Monday, it really move me to the edge of my seat. His monologues are the best of any of the late night hosts (Letterman is better for interviews, Conan's skits are his strength), Youtube seems to have benefited him as it let me know I was missing out something so I tune into him more. Even when the jokes aren't that funny his delivery is impeccable.

For a moment when he said that he wasn't going to tell any Britney jokes "...and here's why..." I thought he was going to use that as a sneaky way to launch into a series of Britney jokes but instead what he did say was quite poignant.
posted by bobo123 at 11:24 AM on February 21, 2007


i like how the audience keeps laughing at obvious not-jokes.

What sheep. The audience is primed before the show to laugh.

He was even talking about how he was 15 years sober last weekend and they were waiting for the punchline (I was waiting to hear applause).


David Letterman's people actually screen people who write-in for tickets- to make sure they are rabid uberfans- to ensure huge laughs when Dave so much as scratches his forehead (and reads those tired top-ten lists).
posted by wfc123 at 11:26 AM on February 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


He's so articulate.
posted by gottabefunky at 11:29 AM on February 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


How come in this country when someone quits drinking their speech degrades and they end up President while in England fifteen years of sobriety and you end up being the articulate host of a late night TV show.

It's too bad we can't switch the two of them around.
posted by DragonBoy at 11:47 AM on February 21, 2007


Not-that-funny comedian "not really" talking about an uninteresting "celebrity" for 12.5 minutes? Is there a summary available?
posted by DU


Don't you just hate it when you have no idea what's going on?
posted by NationalKato at 11:50 AM on February 21, 2007 [3 favorites]


It was startling to see someone speak so articulately and honestly about something so personal to them on mainstream television.
posted by drezdn at 11:52 AM on February 21, 2007


David Letterman's people actually screen people who write-in for tickets- to make sure they are rabid uberfans-

I was an audience member with write-in tickets about a year ago and this does not coincide with my experience.
posted by event at 11:54 AM on February 21, 2007


I think Fergeson is the only real heir to the Carson throne: His intro monolgues are funny, while Letterman's ain't; He does comedy sketches and characters, which almost nobody else does; he's a good interviewer, which Conan ain't. On top of that, he wrote and sings his own theme song.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:55 AM on February 21, 2007


I don't watch any of the late-night PR junkets talkshows, but I've seen Craig Ferguson's show before and he's always come across as very genuine and sincere.
posted by ninjew at 12:00 PM on February 21, 2007


Ferguson is very under rated. His interview skills are excellent. He describes his show as "I have a talk show on after midnight on CBS. This isn't fame. This isn't a TV Show. This is a job."

This monologue was from the heart and, if you noticed, also s subtle thesis from which he is announcing that he is now doubling his efforts to go after powerful people rather than the low fruit.
posted by tkchrist at 12:00 PM on February 21, 2007 [6 favorites]


Not-that-funny comedian "not really" talking about an uninteresting "celebrity" for 12.5 minutes? Is there a summary available?

Soooooo.... You didn't actually watch it at all, did you? Because your description doesn't match the video at all.
posted by bshort at 12:00 PM on February 21, 2007


I think Fergeson is the only real heir to the Carson throne

Oh please no one can replace Carson Daly
posted by poppo at 12:03 PM on February 21, 2007 [7 favorites]


Craig Ferguson is hands down the best person on late night TV. I love his show -- it's driving my wife nuts, but I want to stay up late to catch his show every night now.

This monologue was very good. It made me a bit uncomfortable, simply because it was so personal. I was afraid that it was going to get Craig in trouble. Yeah, it made me laugh a few times, but its primary intent was not humor at all. The intent of the monologue was to talk about sobriety and alcoholism.

I've heard people talk about their AA birthdays before -- that one was very, very good. That it happened on national TV was pretty surprising to me. Usually that kind of frank discussion only happens in AA meetings. I don't think I've ever seen it in an advertising-revenue-funded TV slot.

Here's to hoping Ferguson has a long future ahead of him on late night TV, should he desire it. And that he stays sober.
posted by teece at 12:05 PM on February 21, 2007


Soooooo.... You didn't actually watch it at all, did you? Because your description doesn't match the video at all.

Um....no, I didn't. That's kind of the point. Here's a hint: My description matches the description the poster gave it exactly.
posted by DU at 12:09 PM on February 21, 2007


How come in this country when someone quits drinking their speech degrades and they end up President while in England fifteen years of sobriety and you end up being the articulate host of a late night TV show.

Ferguson stopped at 29. Bush continued on through another decade of benders before supposedly stopping at age 40.

20 years is a long time to stay fucked up.
posted by four panels at 12:11 PM on February 21, 2007


Um....no, I didn't. That's kind of the point. Here's a hint: My description matches the description the poster gave it exactly.

No it doesn't. It helps if you read the actual post.
posted by bshort at 12:24 PM on February 21, 2007


That was incredible.
posted by gwint at 12:25 PM on February 21, 2007


He was even talking about how he was 15 years sober last weekend and they were waiting for the punchline (I was waiting to hear applause).

Ain't that the truth. The format is so strict that the audience laughs because it's their job, not because something funny is going on.

I kept thinking of Michael Richards' recent "apology." What made it so painfully awkward wasn't what Richards was saying (although he was clearly bent out of shape, and nowhere near is articulate as Ferguson); it was that the live audience responded so dumbly.

Television could be such a great forum for national debate and discussion. Would a Walter Cronkite or an Edward R. Murrow even be hired today?

Why not forgo Deal or no Deal one night a week for an intelligent discussion of healthcare or foreign policy? The airwaves are public domain, and serving public interests was supposed to be part of the arrangement, wasn't it?

Don't think for a minute that I don't love my Deal or no Deal.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:27 PM on February 21, 2007


How come in this country .. they end up President while in England ..

Would that be President of South Canada, or North Mexico?
posted by matthewr at 12:29 PM on February 21, 2007


and serving public interests was supposed to be part of the arrangement, wasn't it?

This is where you have to question what the public interest is. Do they want a sobering discussion or do they want to laugh at a shaved-head celebrity?
posted by NationalKato at 12:30 PM on February 21, 2007


Would that be President of South Canada, or North Mexico?

Yes.
posted by DragonBoy at 12:35 PM on February 21, 2007


I've been working on a little theory about why American media culture has become so obsessed with Schadenfreude of late. From the whole Anna Nicole Smith fiasco, to Britney Spears to that poor astronaut woman who lost her shit, it seems like the news and entertainment media are primed to jump all over the latest public meltdown and to churn it into Comedy Gold™ for a couple news cycles. You can look at it as a gradual devolution that got started around the time of the national obsession with O.J. Simpson, or as a sad outgrowth of the media's need to cater to an increasingly fickle and amoral audience, but I think there's something more complicated going on.

I mean, it's sad, right? This woman is having a very public, very nasty breakdown. America's pedophilic obsession is begging, publicly not to be touched any more. If this were your neighbor, your co-worker, your friend, you'd be mortified. You'd either look away in shame, or find some way to help them. But because these people have put themselves in the public eye and because they've earned money by allowing themselves to be the blank slates upon which we project our desires and our envy, when they fall, we revel in their degradation.

But (and here's the "theory" part), that's the point, right? They are our blank slates. When they look beautiful or heroic, we feel ourselves elevated along with them. Our desire to be them and the media which represent their achievements combine to create something more than vicarious enjoyment. We partake of their glory because our televisions and our computers permit ourselves to imagine that we are them. Maybe not materially, but certainly categorically.

Sure, you'll say, thus it has ever been. Oscar Wilde or Marilyn Monroe...hell, Marie Antoinette or Julius Caesar were all blank slates and suffered for it. But I think there is this bizarre public obsession these days with personal moral rectitude without any proportion or relation to reality. In politics, in sexuality, certainly in religion and its criticism, all over the place, the dignity of the human struggle against one's flaws has been superseded by a valorization of the self. Look at the war in Iraq. There are literally no voices saying, "We were afraid. We attacked this country because we were greedy and fearful in equal measure. We committed a terrible mistake and now we have to make it right." Literally nobody is saying that. And that's just one example among many. Today is different because we are different. For whatever reason, we have lost touch with the essential smallness and the quiet nobility of our fragile lives.

So when our blank slates begin to reflect back a bit of humanity, because we have made this choice to identify ourselves with them categorically, we are faced with the next choice: do we continue to identify with them, to empathize with them, and try in whatever way we can to help them? Or do we mock and ostracize them? In the current, brittlely savage cultural moment we choose the latter because we cannot tolerate our own awkwardness. We undo the threat to our own sense of ourselves by casting them forth in an almost ritualized way.

That's a long, roundabout way of saying that seeing Craig Ferguson publicly identify with this woman in a very human way and struggle to offer advice without judgment was a real shock. In a healthier culture, this would be the norm. That it is notable for its rarity is a fact sadder still than whatever Britney Spears is struggling through.
posted by felix betachat at 12:35 PM on February 21, 2007 [88 favorites]


If you watch the linked video of the eulogy he did for his father, you see the same sort of "should we be laughing" reaction from the audience, especially at the beginning. As it goes along, when the natural laughs do come, they are very much in relief to lighten up the sincere mood Ferguson creates.

If the audience had been told what to expect, they would have behaved differently, I'm sure. Instead, they thought they were going to see a taping of a "funny" show and were primed for laughing. I think it's a bit unfair to chide the audience members for being caught off guard.

Ferguson, like Olbermann, needs a REAL time slot.
posted by briank at 12:36 PM on February 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


.


Is that what the world would be like if people actually gave a shit?
posted by MapGuy at 12:36 PM on February 21, 2007


Poster's description: Craig Ferguson of The Late Late Show gives Britney Spears some advice. (12:30m YouTube. It's a monologue. And it's not really about Britney all that much.)

My description: Not-that-funny comedian "not really" talking about an uninteresting "celebrity" for 12.5 minutes?

Craig Ferguson -> Not-that-funny comedian: Maybe subjective, but he had a one-note character on a single (that I'm aware of) sitcom and is now seen by the maybe 12 people who watch CBS after midnight. He's not in the stellar range by any measure.

not really about -> "Not really" talking about: Pretty much word for word.

Britney -> uninteresting "celebrity": I guess I could be wrong on this--maybe you find Britney breathtakingly relevant.

12:30m -> 12.5 minutes: I think my math holds up here.

PS: IHBT
posted by DU at 12:38 PM on February 21, 2007


DU, one might ask exactly why you opened a thread about a not-that-funny comedian and a "celebrity" [sic]. I, for one, enjoy watching an eloquent monologue. Especially a fifteen-years-sober alcoholic apologizing for making fun of people, and suggesting that comedy could be used to strengthen rather than beat down.

But if that's not your thing, the cool thing about MeFi is that you don't have to read every thread.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:38 PM on February 21, 2007


DragonBoy writes "How come in this country when someone quits drinking their speech degrades and they end up President while in England fifteen years of sobriety and you end up being the articulate host of a late night TV show."

Dude. He's Scottish. That's like England's Canada.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:40 PM on February 21, 2007 [6 favorites]


That was a good monologue, well delivered, and genuine.

Strange though. I've only seen him a minute or two at a time. I've never thought he was funny. They'll show a promo for his show with a clip from his monologue, and it's some stupid, very tired cliché joke about Tom Cruise being gay. (Some immacualte conception tie-in around Xmas last year if I remember correctly, for example.) That's my impression of his act. "You go man, stick it to Tom Cruise!!"

After seeing this clip, I may give his show another chance. In Chicago we get his show at 11:30, so it's actually possible to have a job and also see it. I watch Conan if I'm up that late.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 12:50 PM on February 21, 2007


I thought it was stunning. Heartfelt, honest, logical, occasionally funny, and relentlessly unsanctimonious. Took a brilliant touch to pull all that off in a TV monologue. Well done, lad.

I remember seeing Ferguson on late night for the first time and thinking, "How'd this guy get a show? I give it two weeks." Now? Best monologue on late-night TV, and possibly the best interviews, because they're loose and honest and not entirely about set-piece bits ("So I hear you got a new dog . . .") or gross shillery.
posted by gompa at 12:52 PM on February 21, 2007


The full version of his eulogy for his father can be found here.
posted by blendor at 12:55 PM on February 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Just by way of example, I caught Ferguson interviewing The RZA about a month ago. He didn't condescend, he didn't mock, he didn't use the "weird" guest as straight man, and he didn't pretend to be anything other than a middle-aged Scotsman chatting with a man who's led an interesting life far from his direct experience and produced some excellent music along the way.

It was funny, fascinating, and completely human. Not another guy on late night with that kind of touch.
posted by gompa at 12:58 PM on February 21, 2007


This type of monologue was the type of thing that made people love Richard Pryor. He would gut himself, paw through the entrails, hold up interesting bits for communal inspection, with an honesty that was almost terrifying to watch from the safety of an audience. It made audiences feel their own humanity and vulnerability, and when he pointed out the funny part people would leap for the safety of the laugh, but still remembered that feeling.

Now, I don't think Ferguson is a Pryor, but what he did reminded me of the fundamental thing that made Pryor great. Good post.
posted by dglynn at 1:02 PM on February 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Man. Thanks, blendor. Ferguson's got the gift of gab.
posted by phaedon at 1:08 PM on February 21, 2007


Last week Ferguson was on Bill Maher's show on HBO. I thought Craig was pretty funny and articulate there as well. Check it on repeat if you can.
posted by daHIFI at 1:10 PM on February 21, 2007


yeah, Ferguson is so fucking witty and cool that the only time that somebody (Bill Maher) cracked a not-even-that-tasteless joke he cut him off and closed the segment there, he's just so witty.

but then, that a mercilessly unfunny man like Ferguson is considered witty is a sad testament to the desperation of the average TV viewer, I guess. or maybe it's the accent -- anybody from the UK must be considered witty just because they sound funny.


From the whole Anna Nicole Smith fiasco, to Britney Spears to that poor astronaut woman who lost her shit, it seems like the news and entertainment media are primed to jump all over the latest public meltdown and to churn it into Comedy Gold™ for a couple news cycles.

it's just like the assholes who spend much of their MetaTalk time eagerly waiting for a flameout -- one feels a bit sorry for them -- and for the life they must lead -- but I guess that it's the winter's fault. as soon as much of North America thaws in the spring, things will get better and people will go back to actually having a little bit more of a life.
posted by matteo at 1:10 PM on February 21, 2007


this is good stuff.

more comedians need to learn to stop going after the easy targets. it's cheap, unfunny, and bad comedy.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:16 PM on February 21, 2007


I was all set to snark about a pop-celeb one-link youtube FPP but that monologue was refreshingly humanistic.
posted by CynicalKnight at 1:17 PM on February 21, 2007


I've been working on a little theory about why American media culture has become so obsessed with Schadenfreude of late. From the whole Anna Nicole Smith fiasco, to Britney Spears to that poor astronaut woman who lost her shit

Your theory while interesting is incorrect.

It is becuase of the Iraq War. We need a serious freakshow to distract us from that.

Think about it. During the depression we unwashed and ruined masses watched Fred Astaire dance in a tux and kick over glasses of Champagne.

Now we have this series of crass pornographic freak shows. We are watching our gods self destruct.

Think about what Freud - no, Jung - would make of that!
posted by tkchrist at 1:31 PM on February 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Please matteo, shut up. I'm begging you, you screeching eyeball stupid shitbox clownshoes.
posted by vronsky at 1:39 PM on February 21, 2007 [34 favorites]


Bing Hitler is alive, well, and hosting an American talk show? Weird.
posted by jack_mo at 1:44 PM on February 21, 2007


Eyeball?
posted by matthewr at 1:45 PM on February 21, 2007


Yes?
posted by eyeballkid at 1:55 PM on February 21, 2007 [6 favorites]


Eyeball makes the sentence.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:56 PM on February 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Re: The Letterman show screening for tickets, they did screen when I called for tickets back in 2002. They asked pretty specific questions about the show that many casual fans of the show would not know.

During the audience prep they asked us, very straightforwardly, to laugh at every joke.
posted by aerotive at 2:00 PM on February 21, 2007


I've never watched Craig at all, ever and I was a bit iffy about watching it because I didn't want to cringe, but the glowing reports made me curious.

I didn't cringe at all. That's skill. I think when he's funny in this, it's really funny. Sure, the audience expects a laugh at the beginning, and there's almost a Pavlovian response to Britney's name, but for the most part, the audience laughs when he gives them something to laugh at (who's urine?).

Also, I love Felix's theory. Nobody likes to admit they're scared, so when we see people in situations we're scared of, we end up ostracizing them for being the future we're afraid of. I'm gonna take that and hold it up to real life, see if it matches up for a while.
posted by Brainy at 2:03 PM on February 21, 2007


After I watching this I reached several conclusions:

I'm DVRing Ferguson's show every night starting tonight. I hate getting to the party late.

Professionalism is possible for everyone.

Cheap shots are not comedy. The laughs you get from them are just pure anxiety.

Even if you dye your hair and have a couple of tit jobs and a couple of kids you're still a person.

We'd all be huge stars if we could just be completely honest for 12 minutes at a crack.

Art is Complete Honesty.

I actually do have it in me to favorite someone else.
posted by SinisterPurpose at 2:04 PM on February 21, 2007 [5 favorites]


Brittney is our cultural Robespierre; may she be swallowed alive in the culture that she created.

I haven't followed the late night line-up since the period of Letterman v. Leno. I've always liked Conan for his edginess but this video has given me a great deal of respect for Ferguson, who I have never seen in action before now.

And that was a super-awesome comment felix, thanks.
posted by peeedro at 2:12 PM on February 21, 2007


I love his show -- it's driving my wife nuts, but I want to stay up late to catch his show every night now.
Discovering Ferguson's show is what it finally took for me to get a DVR.
posted by Opposite George at 2:17 PM on February 21, 2007


DU, let me see if I have this straight:

You're complaining about a video clip that you didn't watch because it's not about a celebrity you don't like.
posted by hydrophonic at 2:29 PM on February 21, 2007 [9 favorites]


Metafilter: screeching eyeball stupid shitbox clownshoes.


lol, incongruity
posted by CynicalKnight at 2:32 PM on February 21, 2007


Sure, you'll say, thus it has ever been.

well, that's how the national enquirer has stayed in business for decades ... you'll know something unique is going on when we STOP doing it
posted by pyramid termite at 2:46 PM on February 21, 2007


He may be funny, but his show consistently books the worst guests of any late night talk show. Every time I flip past the channel, he's chatting up a different lame ass TV star -- the chick from Judging Amy, the dad from 7th Heaven, Danny Bonaduce, etc. Do Conan's people force their guests to sign an exclusivity agreement, or what?
posted by gigawhat? at 2:50 PM on February 21, 2007


Craig Ferguson?

Wasn't that the brother on Clarissa Explains It All?
posted by Target Practice at 2:51 PM on February 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Britney Spears tried to create a happy little shelter to raise her family, and it fell apart on her. This woman doesn't feel safe anywhere, and probably feels like she doesn't have a friend in the world. The best thing the public can do for her is look the other way.
posted by Mister_A at 3:04 PM on February 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


DU, I'm with you. The post made this sound like more of the same old tabloid crapola we've had a surfeit of lately. I'm glad I checked back once some comments had accumulated, because it is an astonishingly wonderful monologue (and what a shame it is that it should be so astonishing that someone on television expressed themselves in such a simple and human way).
posted by Horace Rumpole at 3:25 PM on February 21, 2007


The best thing the public can do for her is look the other way.
posted by Mister_A


Until she puts out another album. Then all eyes on her!
posted by justgary at 3:27 PM on February 21, 2007


Thanks for the post, Cyrano! I've been a fan of Craig Ferguson's ever since I saw the show with Fiona Apple. She did a great performance and then he invited her on stage and started chatting. She was obviously uncomfortable and shy/nervous at first; there was lots of hand-wringing and weird body language. But he just started charming her and they ended up having a great, relaxed, really interesting conversation. Apple is someone who I am usually prepared to cringe at when she's doing anything other than singing/playing onstage, and I'm a big fan. This was refreshing and I think Ferguson gets all the credit.

I haven't seen it since it aired and don't have time to re-watch, but here's the segment if anyone's interested.

@ TargetPractice: His first name was Ferguson
posted by juliplease at 3:31 PM on February 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Craig has a great show, and this was a prime example of how good it is. If you don't get it, go back to watching Leno.
posted by GavinR at 3:35 PM on February 21, 2007


Good for him, that was really well done. Here's hoping he keeps his word and doesn't go after those he's said he won't.
posted by teem at 3:53 PM on February 21, 2007


Ferguson's the best "chat show*" host working today; the most personally honest since Jack Paar, but more relatable (And gigawhat?, I'm sure Conan's people work to keep the good guests to themselves). I've been DVRing his show for the monologue for over a year but I haven't turned on my TV in over three months (which is not good for somebody who gets paid for writing about TV... fortunately, my last piece was all about shows that had already gone off the air). And I don't cheat by watching shows online. This was by far the longest clip I've watched since then. Partly a semi-damaged attention span requiring small doses of anything (except when I start writing like this, then look up at the clock and think 'it took an HOUR to do that?') and the Web is so much better at letting me surf around things I'm not interested in or don't want to deal with (I recommend that DU try it sometime). Only because it was Ferguson did I watch it, and it's gotten me thinking about my own issues (not alcohol-involved at all; my father's problems scared me away from that; although alcoholism would be a lot simpler and more directly addressable). Anyway, thanks Cyrano for the link, and my apologies to any MeFites who waded through this steaming pile of comment looking for a point or a punchline.

*UK terminology, much better fits the TV format.
posted by wendell at 3:53 PM on February 21, 2007


He's quite the elegant speaker. I remember the bit he did when his father died. Too bad I've very rarely watched the show.
posted by zardoz at 3:55 PM on February 21, 2007


Never heard of the guy, but I really enjoyed that monologue. It had just the blend of serious-but-not-smarmy with humour that floats my boat.
posted by Bugbread at 4:02 PM on February 21, 2007


thanks for the link...
posted by HuronBob at 4:03 PM on February 21, 2007


Thanks, Cyrano, for posting this.
It moved me and reminded me of just how rare and powerful true compassion is.

It made me proud to be human.

And I followed the links to Craig's eulogy for his dad and I sorta lost it a bit when he talked about his dad's comforting hand on his head.

I think I'll go read some William Saroyan now. Ferguson seems to have a lot in common with him.
posted by mer2113 at 4:06 PM on February 21, 2007


I'm not complaining about anything. I'm saying: Can I get a summary of what this is about, because I'm *sure* nobody would be lame enough to post a 12.5 minute monologue from a so-so comedian about a has-been nobody.
posted by DU at 4:06 PM on February 21, 2007


Can I get a summary of what this is about, because I'm *sure* nobody would be lame enough to post a 12.5 minute monologue from a so-so comedian about a has-been nobody.

Ferguson uses Britney's public breakdown as a tangent to talk about his own alcoholism, and also about how he's going to (re)focus his energies in his monologues to not kick people when they're down, but to pick on those with actual power.

It's all class and I approve, but then, I really like Craig Ferguson.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:15 PM on February 21, 2007


DU: man who walk into ass-end of conversation get mouth-full of shit.

Watch the video or go away.
posted by peeedro at 4:29 PM on February 21, 2007 [3 favorites]


Sticherbeast's summary is good.

He also criticizes rehab culture and says that alcoholics need to be willing to cope with their alcoholism for the rest of their lives; a 28-day "cure" is not enough. He encourages Britney, and anyone else who has a problem, to find a support group or other supportive network of friends.

Watch it when you're at home tonight, DU. Let's be friends again.
posted by roll truck roll at 4:30 PM on February 21, 2007


I'm not complaining about anything. I'm saying: Can I get a summary of what this is about, because I'm *sure* nobody would be lame enough to post a 12.5 minute monologue from a so-so comedian about a has-been nobody.

Are you retarded?
posted by delmoi at 4:35 PM on February 21, 2007


He encourages Britney, and anyone else who has a problem, to find a support group or other supportive network of friends.

Who knows if she'll be able to find it. It seems most of the people in her life are too busy talking to the press about her to be there for her. And who knows if it's really hit her that she needs help yet (as of this afternoon, she checked out of her 2nd rehab; although who can blame her, since the papos got pics of her on-site mere hours after she checked in). I feel bad for her (although I'm jealous of her hot new 'do, as I go through the ackward stages of growing mine out).

Wish we got more "long" stories like this from our entertainers. The one-liner monologues get old.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:56 PM on February 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh FFS, I give up.
posted by DU at 5:06 PM on February 21, 2007


We are watching our gods self destruct.

My favourite sentence ever. It's just...ripe.
posted by Sparx at 5:08 PM on February 21, 2007


How come in this country when someone quits drinking their speech degrades and they end up President while in England fifteen years of sobriety and you end up being the articulate host of a late night TV show?

there is a vast difference between quitting drinking and getting sober. you've just quite eloquently, if unknowingly, explained that difference.
posted by quonsar at 5:10 PM on February 21, 2007 [14 favorites]


Wait... so, what exactly is the purpose of nitpicking the way the post was worded & posting over & over about how it sounded so totally uninteresting to you?

If this post sounds uninteresting, why not just go to the next post? Or on the flip side... you could take a leap of faith. When you read what people are saying here (which describes the video pretty well and is mostly saying that it was good) then perhaps you can decide to give the topic of this post a chance (despite the wording of the invitation) and watch it. And then you can comment on what you just saw, and what you think/feel about it. And from that, on-topic conversation ensues. Woo hoo.
posted by miss lynnster at 5:20 PM on February 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


That was fantastic. Ferguson understands, as the best comedians do, that real humor derives from pain. He doesn't exploit it, he ... well, he almost deconstructs it, to be pedantic. When he got to the end and called Britney a single mother of two, at 25, a baby, I lost it. It's the one thing that I can hardly imagine anyone saying, and yet you hear it and you know it's true. Really, who would dare make Britney Spears a sympathetic figure, in this day and age? If irony is dead, how is it possible have we forgotten tragedy?
posted by dhartung at 5:42 PM on February 21, 2007 [8 favorites]


I found it interesting and relevant. Thanks, cyrano.
posted by honeydew at 5:57 PM on February 21, 2007


I find DU's dust-up funny because it was just before I hit post that I added "of the Late Late Show" because I thought I was being too vauge.

DU, here's how my thought process went: I read about this monologue during my morning e-news rounds yesterday. I Tivo the show (although I mainly just watch the opening segment, FFW through anyone I don't find interesting and then give the music act at least 30 seconds.) But something higher up on my Tivo list trumped it, so I missed it. So then off to YouTube goes me. I was expecting him to make a brief comment about how he wasn't doing any more Britney jokes and then go on to the jokes. But I was surprised. I wanted to give everyone else who might be interested in the clip the same opportunity. I wasn't even sure about using the alcoholism tag. I wanted it to be a little leap of faith. If you didn't want to take it, or took it and didn't enjoy it (which is fine, but still asking for a summary 5+ hours after I posted it and after already been given at least one makes me think the former,) that's cool. No hard feelings.

posted by Cyrano at 6:00 PM on February 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Regarding the audience being exhorted to laugh at any and all things: Link to NYT article about the comedy/chat show experience from the audience member's perspective -- page 2 is where the "warm-up man" is described. Sounds like Conan and Colbert are the shows to see in-person (at least on the East Coast -- I don't know what the Leno, Ferguson or Kimmel experiences are like).

Can I just add that I miss Tom Snyder?
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 6:04 PM on February 21, 2007


"Television could be such a great forum for national debate and discussion....Why not forgo Deal or no Deal one night a week for an intelligent discussion of healthcare or foreign policy?" ~ roll truck roll

Such things exist... but on PBS, where unfortunately no one watches.
posted by pineapple at 6:13 PM on February 21, 2007


Oh FFS, I give up.

Great--see you later, bye!
posted by vaportrail at 6:15 PM on February 21, 2007


Dude. He's Scottish. That's like England's Canada.

So there's a Tower Bridge in Glasgow?
posted by cillit bang at 6:15 PM on February 21, 2007


Cyrano, I'm glad you posted it. I haven't been watching tv lately & I would've missed it totally. I'm glad I didn't. Thank you.

It's really refreshing and reaffirming to see someone on tv openly behaving like a decent member of the human race. It's a good, good thing. He understands that he is in a place of power where he can influence people & wants to be able to look himself in the mirror for having used that power relatively wisely and humanely. I admire him for that.

Now if he would just stop doing that stale impression of Prince Charles with the fake teeth & ears...
posted by miss lynnster at 6:17 PM on February 21, 2007


Cyrano

You've performed more than one service on this post. Thank you.
posted by Mental Wimp at 6:38 PM on February 21, 2007


Right now, I'm just really miffed that I didn't see the obvious "trumped" pun in my last comment. But thanks.
posted by Cyrano at 6:48 PM on February 21, 2007


Craig Ferguson is a good, decent man, and my hero.

Thanks for the post.
posted by onlyconnect at 7:02 PM on February 21, 2007


Britney Spears has triggered my savior complex for years, even when she and Justin Timberlake were dressing in matching denim couture. She's always projected this subtle, frazzled naivete and vulnerability, and always seemed doomed to be steamrolled by the celebrity machine. I'm sure that's been part of her lasting appeal in general.

She's actually been falling apart for awhile - since she started dating KFed, if not before. She was leaving the house with her hair all messy and greasy, broken out, wearing the same clothes for days in a row. I imagine that anyone with any knowledge of mental illness would recognize that she was depressed, but, predictably, the plebes were vicious. She's far exceeded the level of success past which one is not "allowed" to be depressed, so that makes her fair game, I guess.

But I can't imagine having to deal with this shit all the time.

Thanks for the video. It's always lovely to see compassion advocated, especially by someone whose job description seems to include disregarding it altogether. It's also lovely to see great pain transformed into great empathy.

I don't even know what to say about this.
DCFS: What's that? Shaved head, you say! Can you spell that name for me?! S-P-E-A...
posted by granted at 7:08 PM on February 21, 2007


So there's a Tower Bridge in Glasgow?

He says he was at a pub in London, which is why it would have been so difficult to get home on Christmas Day.

Cyrano, thanks for posting this, and thanks to wendell for drawing my attention to it. Like others, I haven't paid much attention to Ferguson since that eulogy for his father, but I should.

It's interesting how those real human moments of tenderness and empathy mean so much more than all the rest.
posted by kyleg at 7:42 PM on February 21, 2007


I had a strong feeling it was downhill for her the minute I first saw this little glimpse of her bantering with K-Fed.

HUUUUHHHH?
posted by miss lynnster at 7:43 PM on February 21, 2007


it seems like the news and entertainment media are primed to jump all over the latest public meltdown and to churn it into Comedy Gold™ for a couple news cycles

Interesting essay, but the same thing happens here at Metafilter on a regular basis. Everyone wants a shot at swinging that coin-filled sock at someone. Call it human nature to want to pile on, under whatever circumstances will allow it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:52 PM on February 21, 2007


Stop looking through the peephole!
posted by Tube at 7:59 PM on February 21, 2007


I had a strong feeling it was downhill for her the minute I first saw this little glimpse of her bantering with K-Fed.

You're very smart and I respect your opinions, but what about this video sounds "downhill"? It seems like a pretty standard jokey conversation about a quarter-life crisis to me.
posted by roll truck roll at 8:12 PM on February 21, 2007


I'm not always so into videos, but after reading the comments (68 in) I decided to give this one a go.

He's so eloquent, a true rhetorician. What a great soliloquy.
posted by frecklefaerie at 8:23 PM on February 21, 2007


Now if he would just stop doing that stale impression of Prince Charles with the fake teeth & ears...

Yeah, it's really unfortunate. In fact, that's the last thing I saw him do, and this video has done a good job of making me forget.

Please matteo, shut up. I'm begging you, you screeching eyeball stupid shitbox clownshoes.

Vronsky, get out of my head!
posted by Bookhouse at 8:44 PM on February 21, 2007


Listening to this monologue from Ferguson just makes me miss Kilborn. Where the hell did that pobucker go anyway? I bet he has more advice for Brittney Spears from a more advantageous standpoint.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:05 PM on February 21, 2007


Craig Ferguson?

Wasn't that the brother on Clarissa Explains It All?


No, that was Ferguson Darling.

(Also, this is really awesome, thanks. I've seen little bits of Craig Ferguson's show - he interviewed Eddie Izzard a year or two ago and it was one of the funniest goddamned things I have ever seen on television. Certainly THE funniest thing that was not a Stewart/Colbert production. He seems like a smart and awesome guy, in addition to genuinely possessing an amazing sense of humor.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:09 PM on February 21, 2007


Mr. Ferguson just made me re-think network tv a little.
And completely apropos of nothing, he looks to me like Peter Gabriel's sunnier brother.
posted by Dizzy at 9:14 PM on February 21, 2007


When he stopped being funny he started getting my attention. Okay he's still kinda funny at points but he's on his soapbox (or wine crate as the case may be)... Usually this kinda thing turns me off but he doesn't sound like a born again anything. He's just a guy who's gone on a few benders and has personal experience you can't get from a book.

So just hearing him talking about it doesn't help me necessarily, except that I have had a few benders in my own time and quite frankly am pleasantly surprised now and then that I'm still alive. I mean let's face it: who here hasn't had their own share of benders. Maybe it wasn't alcohol. Maybe it was something else. Or maybe you went a little too far into that Old Tyme Religion and was just this side of handling snakes. Or maybe you were getting off adrenaline rushes doing crazy stupid things that weren't necessarily illegal but were fuckin' stupid and crazy. Or maybe you went so crazy over a girl/guy you woke up one day and found that you were not in love with him/her - you were obsessed with your illusion of them - you were addicted to a fictional being.

We all have our vices, don't we?

That's not what I wanna say here. What I wanna say here is this.

Fuck the censors.

Fuck CBS.

Fuck the FCC.

Fuck anyone who thinks in that moment it was appropriate to bleep the word HORSESHIT. As if he's Johnny Cash singing the word "damn" during Boy Named Sue. Sometimes "horseshit" is the only word that properly describes something.

Censorship is offending me, and I think it's time I get some satisfaction. Those who embrace censorship and find it acceptable behavior ('think of the children!') are a bunch of horse heads with shit for brains, and I'm sick of their hackneyed and insipid illusion of reality being protected at the expense of my hackneyed and insipid illusion of reality.

When do we get a political activities committee with billions of dollars backing it that supports the constitution, rather than buying white-out for it?
posted by ZachsMind at 9:21 PM on February 21, 2007 [3 favorites]


I really appreciate the way he sprinkles comedic elements into such an intimate story. I don't fault the audience at all for laughing if and when they did. He's not trying to preach, he's trying to help people relate and to feel comfortable. Those are ends more easily attained via humor than sterile storytelling.

I'm generally hesitant about viewing YouTube clips that run longer than about two minutes. Why I ultimately decided to delve into one that I knew lasted longer than ten minutes I'm not sure, but I'm glad that I did. Thanks, Cyrano.
posted by inconsequentialist at 9:22 PM on February 21, 2007


...And s/he who is without embarrassment cast the first punchline at Brittney.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:22 PM on February 21, 2007


Nice surprise Cyrano. Didn't expect your post's topic to be as enjoyable as it is. This wasn't run of the mill postmodernist nihilism.

Craig Ferguson was moving, advocating being kind to others, honest with oneself, unashamedly discussing his own weakness and flaws in public, making a decision to practise integrity, be empathic and honor the importance of making healthier choices in life, even though those choices may take serious effort, possibly a lifetime of vigilance.

Awesome, brave and inspiring.
posted by nickyskye at 9:26 PM on February 21, 2007


"...he's trying to help people relate and to feel comfortable..."

I may be the only person alive who still holds a torch for the late great Steve Allen (the comedian's comedian) who wrote two books called "How to Be Funny" wherein, in a roundabout way, he said "i have no clue." God bless your soul Steve Allen.

Were he alive today, he might disagree with some of Craig Ferguson's sentiments, but he'd applaud it, and I like to think he'd say something akin to the words above. A comedian's job is not to make you laugh. It's to make you think sideways. It's to give you a new spin on an old wheel, and Ferguson did that in spades, in a monologue that wasn't ripe with inane laughter every twenty seconds (Jerry Seinfeld comes to mind), but people managed to enjoy it anyway, cuz it came from the heart and it made people look at something with which they thought were familiar, in an incredibly different way.

All that said, I hope Brittney hears this and takes it to heart, but I hope she still keeps her head shaved, cuz for the first time I think ever in the history of anything, i actually find her hot, for once.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:33 PM on February 21, 2007


To answer your question, I honestly don't know how to explain it. What little I saw of that Chaotic show they filmed just sat really uncomfortably with me. I caught a bit of it right when it started, and it felt really like watching an impending tragedy. I can't even explain it. Maybe she reminded me of similar people I knew in my 20s, I don't know. She seemed like she was a sweet girl with some talent... and all I can say is that it's sad that she's in the miserable place she is. Especially since she now has two children who need her to be a role model for them. Ditto everything Craig Ferguson said.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:09 PM on February 21, 2007


I very much like what I've seen of Craig Ferguson. He doesn't seem at all like a whore, and it seems more and more as if whores are all we see in media and in politics. Whether this is what we deserve, I don't know, but it is certainly what we get, and the occasional voice that doesn't sound entirely bought and paid-for and stripped clean of character by the flow of its client money is very welcome.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:35 PM on February 21, 2007


"Can I just add that I miss Tom Snyder?"

Hee, I'm not the only one!

That said, I've been tivo'ing Ferguson ever since I saw his first guest hosting stint when they were still auditioning hosts. He has the best monologue and most interesting interviews of and U.S. talk show. I kinda like that he doesn't always have A listers on the show, it's interesting to get more in depth with guests that usually only get three minutes to plug their projects on other shows.

This was great.
posted by Tenuki at 12:35 AM on February 22, 2007


Thank you, Cyrano. An excellent post in terms of bring folk's attention to a piece of art.
posted by Sparx at 1:32 AM on February 22, 2007


I feel badly for folks who either hate Ferguson, are ragging on him or the FPPer without clicking the link, or hatin' on Britney, who's a very public slow-motion train wreck not all that different from another, more Junoeque one whose death is turning into a three-ring circus in its own right.

Every once in a while American commercial television will goof admirably and let a fortuitous mistake like Craig Ferguson happen. He's the real deal. Long may he wave.
posted by pax digita at 5:37 AM on February 22, 2007


That was deeply moving. Thanks for posting that, Cyrano. I almost didn't click the link since I usually avoid such topics but I'm glad I did. I absolutely love that Craig said this. It needed to be said.
posted by effwerd at 6:33 AM on February 22, 2007


First we kill all the celebrities.

Oh, hang on, I mean, first we kiss all the celebrities.
posted by sweet mister at 7:02 AM on February 22, 2007


I watch his show almost every night, and he is a wonderful comedian (minus his "impressions"). It was pretty obvious from the start that he was being serious here, but the audience did think there were there to laugh and some of it was funny. As he said it was his 15 years sober anniversary, and I think his intro had very little to do with Brittany Spears.

I found his monologue incredibly moving and personal. He has talked about his past life on the show often, but this was the first time I'd heard him go so in depth about something - and I honestly believe it was because he wanted to encourage other people who might be in the same situation to get help. He was able to turn his life around completely, and he wanted to share that experience with his fans and with people who might be inspired to get help. When he was done I actually had a few tears in my eye because it moved me to see someone so genuine.
posted by jesirose at 11:40 AM on February 22, 2007


I'm late to the thread, but I finally got a chance to watch the video... Thanks for posting it. It's wonderful.
posted by amyms at 2:41 PM on February 22, 2007


I cannot believe someone beat me to the Bing Hitler punch.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 3:16 PM on February 22, 2007


Fantastic post. I wish TV had more of this. His ability to let himself be that vulnerable on TV was really refreshing.

And Britney Spears needs pity, not ridicule.
posted by MythMaker at 3:54 PM on February 22, 2007


Mr. Ferguson just made me re-think network tv a little.

My sister the Scottish-phile kept telling me she loved Craig Ferguson’s show, but (after years and years of it) I can't stand to watch TV at all anymore. Then I watched the monologue about his father when it was posted on MeFi, and I was stunned to find a live, caring human being talking seriously (but also humorously) on network TV. This monologue is another example of how classy and smart and down-to-earth he seems to be.

Now, I don't think Ferguson is a [Richard] Pryor, but what he did reminded me of the fundamental thing that made Pryor great.

I still can't stand TV (don't own one), but I regularly watch Craig's monologues here online. He's remarkable at it, night after night; he actually reminds me a lot of Robin Williams, changing characters, doing different voices, jumping about. It's usually great fun.

p.s. Not that anyone reads anymore — what with TV and YouTube — but I also was surprised to find that his first novel was really excellent, my favorite of the 150 or so books I read last year. (It's interesting, in light of this current monologue, that the book's title refers to jumping off a bridge.)
posted by LeLiLo at 4:39 PM on February 22, 2007


Yes, yes, but what are you feelings on television?
posted by cortex at 4:42 PM on February 22, 2007


"And Britney Spears needs pity, not ridicule."

I don't know if she 'needs' anything. I doubt she'd gladly accept our pity. It kinda looks to me she's tired of the limelight and just wants to be left alone. It's a shame that someone who is famous can't just say, "okay thanks but show's over. Quit followin' me. When I come out with a new album or a movie deal or somethin' then you can pay attention to me again but I ain't gonna be doin' nuthin' worthwhile anymore for awhile so go bother someone who wants your attention. Thanks!"

Of course, it's when the celebrities think we're not looking, that some people find them the most interesting.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:54 PM on February 22, 2007


Craig Ferguson is now, by a wide margin, my favorite late night host. He's more Carson then anyone right now, but in his own way.

I was a huge Conan fan, but the writings been lacking more and more, and it seems he's using the time left until the big move to refine his interview skills and try and turn his audience into what Leno already has. Too bad for Conan that his ex-crowd was college students high on sudafed and redbull and they've moved onto whatever else is on that late at night, which is much more then there used to be.

If Letterman is smart he would have secured Stewart or Ferguson to take over for him a year after Conan makes him the clear winner of the late night wars.
posted by Derek at 12:33 AM on February 23, 2007


More Carson? If I remember correctly Carson refused to be serious about anything, saying that it would all too easily lead to him starting to believing the self-importance of his words. I do remember distinctly he did not make any alcohol jokes due to his own problems.

Of course there was a time in the early years I distinctly remember (from a Carson DVD of course) guests freely drinking and smoking. It seemed more real and more like a bunch of old friends getting together and having a good time. Now talk shows feel more and more as a vehicle to promote whatever the guests are on. They've been that way for a while to be honest, but what can you do.

That said, Ferguson comes off more regular and more mature than any host now. Conan frequently steers all interviews and topics to himself. Leno I think is still making Clinton jokes and is the most "commercial" to the point of really not taking him seriously. Letterman's style can be grating and way too misanthropic.

For whatever reason when stars talk about their problems they always either minimize them for television or really didn't have too bad of a problem to begin with. I am sorry but 3-4 drinks a night might not be healthy but it is not what I would consider alcoholism (or at least not to the level of what Ferguson described). It is nice to see someone not run it through a public relations machine and come off as entirely honest and non-judgmental. Perhaps it is his Scottish attitude toward self-enlightenment, but I enjoyed the "I had a problem and I took care of it, and it is still a struggle but I deal with it" attitude. Completely different from all the other talking heads (Rosie, Bill O'Reilly) who keep advocating that someone come in and rescue Britney or Anna or whoever is the latest person of the moment is.
posted by geoff. at 3:58 PM on February 23, 2007


Scottish? I thought he was Scotch-ish.
posted by magikker at 4:18 PM on February 23, 2007


The "news" media in the US (CNN, NBC, Fox, etc.) have become nothing more than the wannabe popular kids in high school that cattily rip anyone to shreds to divert attention from their own hideousness.
posted by Tommy Gnosis at 2:37 PM on February 24, 2007


Yes, yes, but what are you feelings on television?

I'm not that crazy about it. (Although I did like that episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show back in 1963, about the walnuts. And of course Basil Fawlty yelling at the Germans.)
posted by LeLiLo at 3:03 PM on February 24, 2007


If Letterman is smart he would have secured Stewart or Ferguson...

I would say that Ferguson has to be on such a shortlist, particularly after this week. As much as I like Stewart for his other skills, he's a very poor interviewer.
posted by ScreechingEyeballStupidShitboxClownshoes at 5:33 PM on February 24, 2007


Craig Ferguson is interviewed about his monologue: "I'm amazed that not poking fun at someone has become a news story."
posted by onlyconnect at 10:53 PM on February 27, 2007


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