For nearly 10 years, Craig Ferguson has kept insomniacs company after Letterman has said goodnight on The Late Late Show.
Now the cheeky Scot is following Letterman out the door, announcing that he's stepping down from his show this December. Myriad rumors have been in the air following Letterman's announcement, and Ferguson cleared the air regarding his position at the top of Monday night's broadcast, followed by some humor about his exit throughout the show.
So why is he stepping down, and who's on tap to replace him?
TV's Craig Ferguson made it perfectly clear with this announcement that it was his decision, and urged his admittedly rabid fan-base to avoid protesting CBS based on his choice (in fact, Ferguson still has future endeavors planned with the network). The comedian said he was just about ready to step down two years ago, but the network talked him into a few more with "a fancy studio and a fancy stall for his dancing horse." With that extension drawing to a close, he's finally ready to hang it up (no word on the fate of the dancing horse).
Never really in the forefront, Craig Ferguson's Late Late Show has long been the quirky favorite of those who have had their fill of canned talk shows. Through the years, gay robot skeleton sidekicks, a variety of puppets, and cold opening lip-synch parties have welcomed audiences with a reminder that on this show, anything could truly happen. Skits like “Dear Aquaman”, and a nightly reading of emails (ASSMODE) were welcome signs that Ferguson's late night was like none other.
As absurd as the show could be, some of the truly, most memorable episodes of The Late Late Show under Ferguson's reign have come from the heart. As hard has it may have been on a personal level, the comedian opened up with eulogies after the loss of his mother, and his father. And although he knew as well as anyone that a grieving nation needs laughter, Ferguson has had no problem being sincere and compassionate when our country has faced one form of tragedy or another. A couple of his best shows have eschewed comedy completely, with serious one-on-ones with Stephen Fry.
There's been no word yet about a possible replacement, but the rumor mill is desperately hoping for something other than a straight, white mail to sit behind the desk. For my money, you could probably do a whole lot worse than Aisha Tyler (Archer, The Talk), and Chelsea Handler's name is going quite a bit as well.
Knowing that you had a kind of friend who would tell you exactly how he felt about the day, or life in general has always been a comforting feeling at around 12:35 a.m. every night.
With that in mind, on a personal level I owe a tremendous amount of gratitude and admiration to Craig Ferguson, and thus I'm a little sad to see him go. I was bouncing between a couple of different phases in my life when I discovered The Late Late Show. I was actually bumming it on my grandmother's couch, more than a little down and out.
We didn't share many views in common, she and I, but with Ferguson's brand of humor we found a common bond. Both night owls, I often most looked forward to hearing his familiar theme music as we ended our stressful day together. That theme music, and his program did well by us in those last days of her life, and I'm grateful that no matter how far apart we were, whether physically, or personally that Craig Ferguson could help us share a laugh. So with that in mind, Mr. Ferguson, thank you, and may you find nothing but joy and laughter on the road ahead. With you around, it truly is, “a great day for America,” every night.