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The Lazy Genius of Late Night Subversive Craig Ferguson

Even though the comedic element of the show was ingenious, a lot of the simple joy of watching Craig was down to his rakish Scottish charm and the school boy enthusiasm he displayed whenever a gorgeous actress found themselves sitting two feet away.

Many years ago, about ten actually but this is late night we're talking about here, a feral Scot riddled with personnel demons and self-doubt sallied onto US Late Night television. This was a world of sharp suits, wise cracks and men sitting behind desks holding cards loaded with pre-determined questions.

This young-ish ex punk had no time for the rule book and industry orthodoxy, he was not a man of any school of comedy. The only pattern he followed was the one laid out before him by his leaping orgasms of imagination and outspoken bizarreness.

What transpired over those ten years of immense upheaval, both in world events and the preposterous pomposity of late night television, was something truly unique in popular culture. A piece of free form expressionist art was beamed across America on that bastion of traditional mainstream entertainment, CBS.

Craig Ferguson turned The Late Late Show into a vehicle for the absurd and imaginative. The rigid formula of late night comedy was ignored and actively mocked. The celebratory nature of the shredding of question cards was performed with such joy and frivolity, it seemed almost like an unshackling from the creative prison network television imposes.

The chuckling sidekick who acts like the weak minded followers of the school bully was replaced with the sarcasm and acerbic wit of a poorly built robot skeleton. To begin with only simple phrases were uttered by this metaphorical middle finger to late night subordinates, but as time progressed a natural evolution occurred which saw him transformed into a full active element in Craig's nightly circus.

What was first an attempt to crystallise the banality of an element of Late Night wound up taking that element to never before seen heights of originality. This was clearly an accident of fate but just shows what can be achieved when you create an environment where risks and new ideas, however peculiar, are allowed and positively encouraged.

These accidents of creative genius would appear consistently throughout Craig's reign as the Late Night circus master, but along the way there would be many failures of creativity.

The interviews were reliant on Craig's leaping train of thought and the guest's willingness to participate in the improv. Simply put it was obvious for all to see Craig's despair at the predictability of some of the guest's train of thought. He wished to leap off mountains into anarchy and mischief but many would not follow this pied piper aspect of his interview style.

What would follow would be an agonising waste of a part of the show as you could see the restlessness in Craig's eye's as he longed to be free from the shackles of the interview segment.

When he found a kindred spirit however, pure joy would erupt out of the screen. These great moments became more like collaborations than interviews. Robin Williams' appearances on the show merited the dedication of the entire show but even the 15 minutes that were aired was the pinnacle of what Craig's style could achieve with freeform TV comedy.

Even when the guest was not a comedic genius like Williams, Craig was still able to create some truly golden moments of joy and hilarity. All the guest had to do was commit totally to the Craig experience. Go with him on his mad flights of fancy and the entertainment would perforate through the TV, or in my case Youtube.

Even though the comedic element of the show was ingenious, a lot of the simple joy of watching Craig was down to his rakish Scottish charm and the school boy enthusiasm he displayed whenever a gorgeous actress found themselves sitting two feet away.

There are numerous Youtube video's dedicated to these scenes of outrageous flirting while all the while failing to appreciate it's TV, so who really knows how the guest is feeling about Craig's festival of innuendo.

To be honest I could waffle on for pages about the numerous aspects and nuances of his show but that would go against the Craig Ferguson spirit. It's not meant to be analysed, it's meant to drunk in and smoked until you're completely tikka masaled with joy.

So here's to 10 years of pleasurable Youtube viewing from a Brit who wishes you'd ploughed your furrow on UK telly but then maybe you wouldn't have been able to produce the show you have.

At the end of the day that is the greatest irony of this story. We Brits seem to pride ourselves on the outrageousness of our television. The fact we can say naughty words and no one blinks but has British television comedy produced anything with the spontaneity and wit of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson? Not in the last ten years that's for certain.

Here's to you Craig, good luck with the gameshow, don't be gone long, your community needs you!