I’ve really come to enjoy the Craig Ferguson show on CBS late night over the last year or so. He reminds me of early Letterman in the quality that he’s creating his own show. He’s not using a pre-existing late night formula. He’s a guy with a show, and he does it his way. It’s goofy a lot of the time. His interviews are more like 2 people hanging out. It’s relaxed. It’s a deconstruction of the theme. Well, last night Craig commented on exactly that:
I talk about Letterman deconstructing the Tonight Show and how it amused Johnny Carson to anyone who will listen. Maybe because it was part of my childhood, but mostly because I believe it will ultimately be important to the history of comedy. There’s a reason Johnny Carson had Dave as the first ever guest-host to the Tonight Show, and gave him Late Night. Johnny thought Dave was unique, and the future of comedy.
No, not the Dave you see now. This Dave always wanted to take over the Tonight Show brand, and respected that brand, and honors it to this day. The OLD Dave was like Craig; a guy with a show, doing whatever he wanted. Monkey cams, Velcro walls, watermellons and TVs off of buildings, guests on acid, you name it. Dave was pushing the envelope of what could be done in that format, and everyone who has followed has just been in his shadow.
I like Norm McDonald for this reason. I feel he’s a standup comedy deconstructionist. He does an off-beat, off-putting thing, that sometimes the humor is just in his delivery. He did a Comedy Central roast appearance with only paying compliments, and it was hilarious. It’s amazing when comedy is artful AND funny.
Back to Late Night… I really enjoyed Craig talking about Tom Snyder. I used to like that show. I can’t tell you how many times I would come home after a gig and watch some wacked out conversation on that show. And I loved it. It was intelligent, dry, funny at times, and sobering at once.
Leno will be back next week, and he doesn’t do anything special. Letterman’s still on, but like I said, he’s a different Dave. Though, he’s preaching from his desk a little more these days and making news when he does. He’s still the thinking man’s choice. Kimmel does some fun stuff, but I seldom watch it at night, only on Hulu. Ferguson is really the most interesting show, but since you can’t watch it online I miss it a lot. Fallon has the Roots, so I Hulu them up a lot. His interview and monologue skills are too lacking though. He needs to loosen up the format, and learn from his competition over at CBS.
I used to dream that I’d be Dave’s first guest host, the way he was for Johnny. But, I’m pretty sure Bill Cosby was Dave’s first guest host. I’m totally babbling here, but it’s my blog. I can do what I want. And if you’re still reading, you might actually be interested. It’s kind of like Craig says. It’s good to experiment with your formula.