Daily Record: “Craig Ferguson Leaves Politics At the Door: Comedian Coming to Morristown’s MPAC”
Read the Daily Record’s feature story on Craig Ferguson and his life after late-night television, as well as his performance at MPAC Tuesday, December 4th!
Daily Record: “Craig Ferguson Keeps It Personal During Tour”
By Bill Nutt
Craig Ferguson is ready for a break. He thinks audiences are ready for one, too.
During his decade-long tenure as host of “The Late Late Show,” Ferguson would begin the program with a monologue addressing the topics of the day, which almost invariably involved political issues.
Ferguson is quite happy those days are behind him, thank you very much. “I’m glad I’m not doing late night, so I don’t have to be doing that,” said the Scottish-born performer. “There’s an inordinate amount of opinion and rhetoric out there.”
As a deliberate counterpoint to topical humor, Ferguson is keeping it personal in his current live performances, which are part of what he calls the “Hobo Fabulous Tour.” His next appearance will be the Mayo Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, Dec. 4.
“I made a conscious decision to make the show anecdotal,” he said. “It deals with what’s going on in my life and the life of any human, like love, sex or the weather.” (He did add the language gets “a bit naughty,” so the show is for mature audiences only.)
“It’s not about politics or hot buttons,” Ferguson emphasized. “I wanted it to be a break for everyone, myself included. Of course, I have my opinions. But I don’t have to talk about them. All that stuff will still be there after people leave the theater.”
In addition, Ferguson said that each performance on the tour will be informed by the specific community where he is appearing. That means addressing thoughts and memories associated with New Jersey when he stops in Morristown.
That may seem an obvious approach, but Ferguson said it is not.
“Too much of what I see nowadays is that comedians tour a show and then record the show (for cable or a DVD),” he said. “There aren’t many variations from night to night.
“The show I do in Morristown will not be the same show I do in Columbus or the show I do in Reykjavik,” he continued. “It’s doing local connections. It’s more organic. It’s like a musician doing an acoustic set. It’s a purer form of stand-up.”
Ferguson likened his current shows to the type of stand-up he used to do in the 1980s, when he was starting out in Glasgow.
As he described it, a career in comedy was something that he fell into, rather than actively pursued. In his teens and early 20s, he was a drummer for punk rock bands in Scotland. Between sets, while the band was setting up equipment, he would tell jokes.
(Among the people who encouraged Ferguson as a comedian: Peter Capaldi, lead singer of the band and the actor who later became the 12th Doctor Who.)
“I never saw comedy as a career,” Ferguson said. “There was no primary source. Over time, it became evident that this was how the universe was having me flow.”
Appearances at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in the late 1980s eventually led Ferguson to TV and theater. (Among the roles he has played are Brad in “The Rocky Horror Show” and Oscar in “The Odd Couple.”)
Eventually, Ferguson crossed the Atlantic. He found success in television as Mr. Wick, the boss on “The Drew Carey Show,” followed by his 10-year stint hosting “The Late Late Show.”
He has also taken on parts in movies and voice acting roles, as well as programs on SiriusXM.
For now, Ferguson is content to do stand-up and the occasional acting gig. (He has a romantic comedy called “Then Came You” scheduled for release in 2019.) But he is reluctant to discuss future plans, other than working in his garden.
“I feel there’s an unhealthiness in show business, where you’re always looking to the next project and not enjoying the day,” Ferguson said. “I’m happy now. I’m working with people I want to work with.”
Ferguson carries that pragmatic attitude toward his current performances.
“If you like me, you’ll enjoy the show,” he said. “If you don’t like me, that’s cool. If you’re not sure about me, it’s your call.”
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4
Where: Mayo Performing Arts Center, 100 South St., Morristown
Tickets: $49 to $79
Info: 973-539-8008 or mayoarts