Wait for the First Lady to Cuss First
April 27, 2008 10:47 PM   Subscribe

Craig ("Who?") Ferguson at the White House Correspondents Dinner: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. (it's a Three-Link YouTube Post!) Not as pointed as Colbert but lots of funny and acouple moments of OMG. SOME JOKE SPOILERS WITHIN...

Some clunkers and eye-rolling moments (especially in Part 2), but many highlights:

Part 1: Addressing EVERYONE in attendence, his presence being "...another case of immigrants taking jobs that Americans don't want", "cheeky comedy racist Don Imus cussed in front of the first lady... always wait until she cusses first", what he did to recently become an American citizen leading up to "INS Pop Quiz", a rambling bit on how Glasgow faced Al Queda, "I do love America and L.A. is a short commute to America", "Belgium... the Canada of France", "Canada...the apartment ABOVE the party... We weren't invited... Mexico wasn't invited and THEY came" and personally killing "the myth of Liberal Media Bias".

Part 2: Many journalists told him to"speak truth to power... I don't see it that way... that's YOUR job" (ZING!), his sarcastic salute to the way journalists did their jobs the last 8 years (yes, he went there), and the New York Times did not attend because the event "undercuts the credibility of the press... I thought Jayson Blair and Judy Miller took care of that." Mostly lame stuff from 4:00 to 9:30 (Donald Rumsfeld clip?), but then he turns to face Bush for a sarcastic reference to "Deal or No Deal", and then IMO the perfect moment (duplicated at the beginning of Part 3).

Part 3: Not funny but his message to all assembled: "Please never ever ever... stop fighting with each other"... after that, nothing but post-speech crowd noise...
posted by wendell (33 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
wendell: Thanks for this post. I've been waiting to see this, since Ferguson was plugging it a lot on his show this past week. He's fresh and witty, and his CBS show (after Letterman) should be garnering even more attention now. His easygoing and off-the-cuff humor on the show is often daring, with great improvisational skill and clever subtleties. I believe he is far more creative than the often sophomoric Conan (opposite him on NBC) and Ferguson continues to carve out new stylistic territory. Just my opinion -time will tell.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 11:07 PM on April 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

He's fresh and witty, and his CBS show (after Letterman) should be garnering even more attention now.

His comment on Britney Spears (of all things)(Good Luck) was incredible in it poignancy.
posted by bobo123 at 11:22 PM on April 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

I only catch Ferguson on random YT clips, but every time I'm impressed. When his father died he did a sort of monologue/eulogy that was really touching.
posted by zardoz at 11:30 PM on April 27, 2008

So that's what happened to Bing Hitler!
posted by quarsan at 11:35 PM on April 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Yes, not Colbert (could anyone ever top Colbert?) but still very good. Thanks for the post wendell; I can knock searching for and watching these videos sometime off of my to do list now.
posted by Effigy2000 at 11:45 PM on April 27, 2008

posted by Poolio at 11:51 PM on April 27, 2008 [3 favorites]

Fuck Stephen Colbert. I like Craig.
posted by blacklite at 12:07 AM on April 28, 2008

That was OK, pretty much the normal level of dinner-party badinage that these things usually have. Colbert wasn't so much witty, either, as he was brilliantly seizing a moment.
Damn, though, the sound level was low on that. I had to put the cat out just to hear.
posted by dhartung at 12:19 AM on April 28, 2008

I love Craig Ferguson. He's a great monologuist (an example is his eulogy for his father in this previous post).
posted by amyms at 12:51 AM on April 28, 2008

Never seen Ferguson before and I thought the Correspondents Dinner was largely meh, but that Britney Spears piece was fantastic. Talk about stuff going right over the audience's head though.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:57 AM on April 28, 2008

I watched a segment on him on CBS Sunday Morning yesterday. It was a complete puff piece but he is a very sympathetic character. He seems almost completely unaffected by his celebrity, which is refreshing... other than to say "I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS IS MY LIFE!! WEEEEE!!!". Or, maybe that's his schtick.

The bit at the Dinner was pretty good, but the best moment was when he did the bit on the dog peeing on the Pope's leg, someone bent down to whisper something in Bush's ear, and he laughed out loud a second or two later (3-4 secs after the joke). Ferguson's reaction was utterly priceless.
posted by psmealey at 1:01 AM on April 28, 2008

He was better than I expected for sure (I was a bit WTF about his selection), but there was only one laugh-out-loud moment for me -- which was really about Bush not hearing the joke and having to be told, then guffawing loudly (around 10:00 in part II). I noticed he is good at moving on after a joke, especially when it falls flat. He maintains momentum.

Note to those who haven't watched yet: part 3 is just a couple of jokes, some rah-rah-rah-America, and then 6 or so minutes of watching the crowd file out. I'd skip it.
posted by loiseau at 1:13 AM on April 28, 2008

I have to add that I really wonder how I could be missing something since his comedy's so mainstream, but I don't get how people profess to "love" his stuff. It's really mediocre, inoffensive but usually bland to me.
posted by loiseau at 1:15 AM on April 28, 2008

Okay, last comment: I do feel that he's good people, though. He deserves success and everything.
posted by loiseau at 1:51 AM on April 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

Ferguson clearly tried, but the White House Correspondents Dinner will never be funny again after what Colbert did to it. It was always a cheesy dinner party with a funny slide show until they made the mistake of letting Colbert speak, and then it was pure awesomeness for one shining moment in history. You can almost see the high water mark.
posted by mullingitover at 2:21 AM on April 28, 2008 [6 favorites]

yeah, definitely. It was one for the ages. None the less I thought Ferguson's one was pretty good if a bit obtuse.
posted by Dillonlikescookies at 2:39 AM on April 28, 2008

violence and polyester. nice.
posted by dong_resin at 2:48 AM on April 28, 2008

Why can't a find a torrent of this?
posted by sycophant at 4:14 AM on April 28, 2008

Back when he was drinking (a topic he addresses more than often) he opened his spot at the Montreal Comedy Festival with the greeting, "Hello Moose Fuckers!". It didn't go down well.
posted by Nick Verstayne at 6:26 AM on April 28, 2008 [2 favorites]

Oh, he has his moments! There were quite a few Laugh-Out-Loud moments in there. "I make up crap and say it on late night TV! Kinda like Fox News!"
posted by WalterMitty at 6:51 AM on April 28, 2008

Yeah, psmealey, Bush's delayed laugh on the Pope joke pretty much says it all. Unfortunately.
posted by tommasz at 7:05 AM on April 28, 2008

Some of it was OK. I've been a fan of Ferguson for a long time, but I thought the early part of the speech with the 'Glasgow's pure mental, by the way' stuff was a bit lazy and outdated. And that sycophantic 'I love America because we're free!' shit was a bit OTT. There were a few decent lines once he got past that stuff, though.
posted by Jakey at 7:23 AM on April 28, 2008

I'll admit my status as a latecomer here, my only take on Ferguson pretty much being "Huh, Drew Carey's boss got a talk show. Good on him.", but I watched this and the other noted monologues, and started poking about.

While I didn't find this particular set of clips to be the most impressive, one thing I like from what I've seen is his ability for dialogue. Even when his jokes don't kill or a story isn't peppered with punchlines, it's engaging.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I think the issue is with terminology: 'Comedian' has largely understood to be a someone delivering a succession of jokes. Sometimes this works, I saw Chris Rock last week, and he was dynamite, but one can tell that Chris Rock is a reasonably intelligent person; he would take time to explain things, build to punchlines, and much of what he says was funny because of his poignancy, with some easy jokes to balance out the evening. However, sometimes the "comedy" format proves a limitation, to the point the audience is just laughing out of habit. 'Spoken Word Artist' sounds goddamn pretentious (because it often is) and 'Speaker' is so well ingrained as boring, required attendance events from highschool that it brings about Pavlovian sleep responses just from the mere mention.

I would say Ferguson is called a comedian because the proper term, Entertainer, has become too broad.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 8:17 AM on April 28, 2008

Who'd have thunk that Nigel Wick was so cool in real life?

Well, me actually. I've been a fan of Ferguson for a while (though, for whatever reason, I hardly ever actually sit down and watch his show), but whenever I do catch it, I'm typically impressed. He nearly always has a good monologue, and he has a breezy way of interviewing guests that seems to catch them off guard into revealing themselves in a way they don't normally do on television.

All the hallmarks of a good host.
posted by quin at 8:56 AM on April 28, 2008

I see that Uther comments that Craig Ferguson is not a comedian
Not true - Craig really is first and foremost a comedian. He was a standup comedian in the UK for years before he moved to the USA, and a very successful one. It's just that Americans didn't see that part of his career and saw him as first a sitcom actor and then a late night chat show host who got to do a topical monologue at the front of the show.
His original standup name was "Bing Hitler" and he was awesome.
posted by w0mbat at 10:03 AM on April 28, 2008

I liked this line from the Dan Froomkin column on the event: "At the end of [Bush's] speech, the man who waged war against the press received a standing ovation from the conquered."
posted by Staggering Jack at 10:22 AM on April 28, 2008

Perhaps I misspoke- I didn't mean to say that Ferguson isn't a comedian, I meant more towards the idea that the term "comedian" has been maligned so much, that funny yet genuine dialogues like this have become unorthodox.

It's like how most record stores put everything that isn't rap or country into the ocean that is the "Rock/Alternative" section. You can interpret that classification a million different ways, and you would be right, but does Leonard Cohen belong in the same bin as Linkin Park?
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:52 AM on April 28, 2008

Only tangentially related, but -- I was on the streets of DC when Bush's motorcade drove by on their way to the dinner. I was surprised by the fact that one of the cops (Secret Service guys? He wasn't in a DC police uniform) was yelling at a woman that she wasn't allowed to videotape the cars going past. Is this normal? Or is this something new? Seemed outrageous to me....
posted by inigo2 at 11:02 AM on April 28, 2008

Fuck Craig. I like Little.
posted by mazola at 12:57 PM on April 28, 2008

mazola likes VERY little.

And maybe the word "monologist" fits Ferguson better, even though one of his strongest qualities is how he deals with audience feedback.
posted by wendell at 2:21 PM on April 28, 2008

Nick, I'm pretty sure that is stolen from Jerry Sadowitz, which doesn't bode well for talk I've heard that Ferguson left for the States after he was torn apart from ripping off various comedians over here in the UK.

Just what I know of though. I mostly haven't liked him at all from what I've seen... Might check this out to see if he's any better, what with his ratings increase and all.
posted by opsin at 5:37 AM on April 29, 2008

His analysis of Glasgow is most certainly correct! And other nice moments.
Not sure I can face the idea of him interviewing people yet though!
posted by opsin at 10:08 AM on April 29, 2008

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