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Best of The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson
Best part of the Late Late Show?
Scotsman, American citizen, recovering alcoholic, stand-up comedian, novelist, and former punk-rock drummer, Craig Ferguson took over the Late Late Show on CBS from Craig Kilborn in 2005.
Recently, Craig announced that the Late Late Show would end in December 2014. This is a sad day for people who can't sleep, stoners, a few senior citizens, and a lot of YouTubers.
What most fans of the show keep tuning in for is the entertaining celebrity interviews, especially with Hollywood actresses, Craig and Geoff Petersen's improvisations, silly, random segments and traditions, and celebrity impersonations including Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Prince Charles, Bill Clinton & David Bowie, as well as Craig's charm, wit, and likeability, even when his opening monologues aren't always hilariously funny.
The open and unconventional style of the show allows for other comedians and actors to cut loose and say absolutely anything they want when they appear as guests. Although some of it would be bleeped by the censors, Craig creates a relaxed environment where conversations can go anywhere, anything can happen and no topic is off limits. He always tries to take the interview into any area other than what project the guests are on the show to promote. Whatever Craig is thinking about at any particular moment, he talks about with his audience and guests. Craig has also been very honest about his experiences with drugs, alcohol, his three marriages, the death of his parents, and shared a eulogy with his audience when his father died the day before a show.
Overall, Craig's sometimes blasé, self-deprecating, "I don't care what anyone thinks" attitude to doing the show was refreshing, and the result was unique, random, funny, honest, and absurd television.
The following top 10 list explores the segments, traditions and parts of the show that viewers will undoubtedly miss most, and that made the show stand out amongst other late-night talk shows:
1) Geoff Peterson, Craig's robot skeleton sidekick
In 2010, Craig realised he needed a late night sidekick to liven up the show. Therefore he got Grant Imahara from Mythbusters to build him one. Geoff Peterson (voiced by comedian Josh Robert Thompson) was created and this led to years of comedic riffing, absurd conversations about anything, impressions and mock telephone calls with celebrities.
2) Secretariat, the pantomime horse
Who's that at the door? It's Secretariat of course. That's what Craig would yell when the doorbell rang before Secretariat (inspired by the Disney movie and performed by two interns in a costume), would dance across the late night stage during celebrity interviews and eventually got his own stable in the new studio.
3) Tweets and Emails
Craig tried to never seriously answer any tweets and emails sent in to the show. Some of the funniest tweets and emails segments involved celebrity guests such as Robin Williams, Kristen Bell, Jason Segel and Donald Glover.
4) Craig's Puppets
Craig often opened the show with some performing puppets including Sid the cussing rabbit, Wavy the waving crocodile, George the snail puppet, and Nadine the sexy English cat, played by Lauren Graham.
5) Awkward Pauses
An expert in awkward pauses from his Scottish upbringing and three marriages, Craig would always like to end celebrity interviews with some awkwardness to remind him of the old country.
6) "What did we learn on the show tonight, Craig?"
Craig would always end the show with a segment with the above title. He would sometimes get celebrity guests involved and would generally wrap up the show with a conversation with Geoff or the audience or play a bit of piano, preceded by an animation of a cat.
7) Tearing up late-night conventions
Before each interview, Craig would literally tear up the blue note cards given to him by producers about what to say to celebrity guests. Some excellent suggestions included "How've you been?" and "Enjoying the show?".
8) Friendship with Kristen Bell
Craig had an excellent rapport with many guests and a quick wit and charm with the ladies. The guest-host relationship that stands out is Craig's friendship with Kristen Bell. The two hit it off after Kristen appeared on the show in 2005 and have been friends ever since, their interviews being the most natural, engaging and hilarious.
9) Craig's Rattlesnake Mug
Given to him by his friend and actress Mary McCormack, the mug became a late late show fixture when Craig smashed his regular blue late late show mug and decided to drink out of a rattlesnake.
10) The Late Late Show in Paris & Scotland
One of the best parts of the show was Craig's trips to Paris, and to Glasgow, Edinburgh and the town where he grew up, Cumbernauld, Scotland. On each trip he would take a few of his celebrity/actor friends along for some sightseeing, fine dining, mixing with the locals and generally exploring interesting places. I'm not sure, but I think he was the first American late night host to take his show on the road.