|Purchase: Amazon | Chapters|
Started: Aug. 4, 2011
Finished: Aug. 12, 2011 (9 days)
Where Found: Book Depot
Why Read: I happened to spot a copy at the Book Depot and being a big fan of his talk show, I thought it would be great to learn about him and I knew it would be hilarious :)
Summary: The host of The Late Late Show and former costar on The Drew Carey Show recounts his upbringing in Scotland, drumming for various punk rock bands, battling heavy drug and alcohol addiction, and his writing, producing, and acting efforts in the U.K. and U.S.
There are so many generic talk shows on TV now that it can be frustrating to find the quintessential host who can at least come close to filling the shoes of classic late night icons Johnny Carson, Steve Allen, and Jack Paar. While Leno and Letterman have certainly held on to a wide viewership for decades now, it seems that both have since "jumped the shark" and are losing that refreshing quality they (albeit in competition) brought to TV. It's quite the opposite when I watch Craig Ferguson on The Late, Late Show. It's as if the proverbial wheel hasn't been reinvented, but is kept rustproof with his down-to-earth, genuine approach that makes the talk show less awkward and more laidback. Talk may be staged or rehearsed, topics known ahead of taping, but Ferguson's knack for adlibbing at just the right moment makes for good, old-school Carsonesque talk and not the flaky showmanship that comes with most daytime or late night talk shows churned out by the dozens.
Going into this book, I had very little background knowledge on him and was surprised at nearly every chapter by his experiences growing up in Scotland (my hands-down favourite story being a certain washroom-related incident on a bus), drumming for a number of punk rock bands, and the gradual incline of drug and alcohol dependence that crashes around the time his comedy career is just heating up. A word of advice from Ferguson: you know you've gone too far when you hallucinate about being chased by killer ducks.
Every stage of his memoir comes with purpose, humour, surprise and shock, invariably leading to the reader wondering, "How does all this lead to him becoming a talk show host?" This unlikely result blooms from a very dark, but often very funny place that Ferguson grew out of and often cannot believe himself. There is very little written that does not have its place in the writer's future. If anything, Ferguson could have indulged us a little more about his comedic beginnings, as writing is a bit sparse about The Drew Carey Show and the initial years of his talk show. But I understand why: there is a humble quality about him that explains why his duties as a talk show host charm audiences and lead many to speculate that Craig Ferguson is this generation's Johnny Carson. He takes in guests like at a dinner party. It may be his house but the guests make the party a good one and the host graciously blends into the background.
Read this even if you don't know who Craig Ferguson is. You may just like him.
Rank: (B)- Great Read, Recommend