Tag Archives: Craig Ferguson

Emmy Time

Jimmy Fallon proves he is *not* a Vulcan.

I’ve really turned the corner on Jimmy Fallon. 

Truthfully, he used to annoy the hell out of me on SNL, but then most of that regime usually did. Jimmy always seemed sloppy and amateurish, laughing at this own jokes, but then again I hated Tina Fey always repeating the punch lines to her jokes when doing the news. Time heals

It’s refreshing to see someone who knows he has a long road to the top be willing to take some chances and be genuinely thrilled to be in the late night hunt. I got that from Conan O’Brien when he first started under duress, and it’s one of the characteristics that has made Craig Ferguson so endearing. 

So I’m excited to see what Jimmy will bring to the big stage at the Emmy Awards  tonight. I’m hoping a good dose of irreverence, since this is such a self-congratulatory event. But there has been a pretty big paradigm shift in television, from the power struggles in late night to who is behind the successful money-making comedies. The dynamic is younger and hipper, and that’s his audience and his peer base. 

In the meantime, some wishes for some of the major categories – my ballot for whom I’d like to win, not who I think will win. 

It’s going to be interactive tonight – tweets, emails, IMs, live blogs. Since I have a life, I’ll defer my reactions to it all until tomorrow

 

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series
Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper
Larry David as Himself
Matthew Morrison as Will Schuester
Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk
Steve Carell as Michael Scott
Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy  

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series
Bryan Cranston as Walter White

Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan
Kyle Chandler as Eric Taylor
Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House
Matthew Fox as Jack Shephard
Jon Hamm as Don Draper  

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series
Lea Michele as Rachel Berry
Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Christine Campbell
Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton
Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope
Tina Fey as Liz Lemon
Toni Collette as Tara Gregson  

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series
Kyra Sedgwick as Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson
Glenn Close as Patty Hewes
Connie Britton as Tami Taylor
Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick
Mariska Hargitay as Det. Olivia Benson
January Jones as Betty Draper  

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series
Chris Colfer as Kurt Hummel
Neil Patrick Harris as Barney Stinson
Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Mitchell
Eric Stonestreet as Cameron Tucker
Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy
Jon Cryer as Alan Harper  

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series
Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman
Martin Short as Leonard Winstone
Terry O’Quinn as John Locke
Michael Emerson as Ben Linus
John Slattery as Roger Sterling
Andre Braugher as Owen  

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series
Jane Lynch as Sue Sylvester
Julie Bowen as Claire Dunphy
Sofia Vergara as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett
Kristen Wiig as Various Characters
Jane Krakowski as Jenna Maroney
Holland Taylor as Evelyn Harper  

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series
Sharon Gless as Madeline Westen
Rose Byrne as Ellen Parsons
Archie Panjabi as Kalinda Sharma
Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhart
Christina Hendricks as Joan Harris
Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson  

Outstanding Comedy Series
Curb Your Enthusiasm • HBO
Glee • FOX
Modern Family • ABC
Nurse Jackie • Showtime
The Office • NBC
30 Rock • NBC  

Outstanding Drama Series
Breaking Bad • AMC
Dexter • Showtime
The Good Wife • CBS
Lost • ABC
Mad Men • AMC
True Blood • HBO 

Remembering Katrina, five years ago. People *still* need help.

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American on Purpose

He's had enough accidents already

It’s hard to dislike Craig Ferguson. 

Unless you’re a close personal friend of a famous person, who really knows what they’re really like?. Fame is a sales game, and there are divisions of major agencies that spend countless hours teaching their clients what to say and more importantly what not to say. The really good ones can do this while seeming to be glib. The bad ones sound like they have no mental acuity unless it’s neatly printed on a cue card (or, if you’re a politician, maybe on your hand). That scene in Bull Durham where Kevin Costner teaches Tim Robbins how to cliché his way through an interview might be an inside joke to baseball fans, but in Hollywood it’s reality incarnate

That’s why guys who can succeed on late night television are so rare, and why it takes even the great ones a bit of time to find their footing. Ultimately, you have to be yourself or it doesn’t work. When the audition process to replace Craig Kilbourn on The Late Late Show was in full swing I assumed (as did many) that D.L. Hughley would walk away with the job without breaking a sweat. He is an established comic, very smart, fast on his feet and a likeable guy. Famous guests come on the show to plug a movie, a television show, a new album or tour. Softball questions are proposed, topics slated as in or out of scope, straight lines prepared. So simple, a caveman could so it

But after the auditions, the producer of the show approached Craig and noted that he was really listening to his guests and engaging them in conversation. “That’s what I thought the job was about”, Ferguson replied. And that’s how and why he landed the gig. He was interested enough to invoke talk on a talk show

Craig Ferguson has had a pretty incredible life, and despite bouts with addiction demons and a couple of marriages gone awry, he seems to continue to fall into opportunity and make good when it happens. American on Purpose is an unusual bio in that it avoids the formula timeline walk from childhood to present for a more anecdotal, lessons learned approach. Writing almost conversationally, Ferguson is no apologist; he freely placing the blame for most of the bad decisions in his life squarely where they belong. And while proud to be a driven man chasing a dream, he’s also honest enough to admit when his fortunes relied on someone to give a needed push

Adolf Crosby didn't have a ring to it, apparently

If there is a personal disappointment, is not only that he skirts quickly past his stand-up career (Bing Hitler aside) but also the show that gave him his big break. Ferguson clearly acknowledges The Drew Carey Show as a major turning point in his life and career but moves on with nary an anecdote; admitting the work became like punching the clock. He does point out that Mr. Wick would simply pop out of his office like a groundhog from its hole, spout his one or two witty lines and return to the office, but I couldn’t imagine being on set with Carey, Ryan Stiles, Diedrich Bader and Kathy Kinney (among others) being anything less than gut-bustingly fun. 

But that small nit aside, Ferguson’s heartfelt and witty tale is very entertaining and endearing. It’s an easy read, and while I could recap many the particular stories, I suggest you read it yourself; Ferguson’s words are far funnier than mine.  He’s candid, unfiltered, brave and honest, and one gets the feeling that he’d rather have you not like him for what he is than fawn over him for something he is not. (That’s an uncommon trait for normal people; for Hollywood it’s off the charts.) 

Clearly, beneath the libido and appetite of a mad Scotsman beats the heart of a man who appreciates the opportunities he has been given. “Between safety and adventure“, he says, “I choose adventure.”I don’t know if Craig the person would be as much fun to hang and talk with as Craig the author or Craig the talk-show host, but I’d make that leap of faith to find out. Sometimes the good guys win. Maybe this is one of those times

Another round of Buzz Beer, please.

Craig’s site for The Late Late Show

Also check out A Wee Bit of Revolution

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T.G.I.F. – Ten Globe Guesses

But before we get to the prognostication…and just to keep the teakettle whistling – here are the latest clips from the late night talk show hosts on the Tonight Show debacle, courtesy Gawker. Jimmy Kimmel bitch-slaps Jay Leno on his own show, and if you aren’t a Craig Ferguson fan after his clip…well, you might just be an NBC executive

So here are ten guesses for who will win at Sunday’s award show. I’ve limited this group to films; I always wonder why they even vote on American television programming anyway.

The Globes are always a crapshoot, since the voters are the Hollywood Foreign Press Association who (1) may not have seen all of the nominees, (2) might not get the context of American humor and cultural references and (3) tend to vote for their favorite people – those who play the schmooze game – regardless of merit. But what the hell, it’s only internet money.

Tune in to NBCif it’s still broadcasting – this Sunday night at 8:00pm EST to find out for yourself. (Even if you don’t care about the minor categories, watch or record the program; I wager that Ricky Gervais will make this an evening to remember).

Best Motion Picture – Drama:  There’s a lot of George Clooney love right now, but as much as I liked Up In The Air I think it’s been a wee bit overrated and it won’t hold up. Even those who don’t normally like war films are praising The Hurt Locker and I think it will resonate here as well

Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama:  The HFPA loves Sandra Bullock. Lovvvvvvve her. And since this is being hailed as her “greatest performance” they are all but being directed to strike while the iron is hot. I thought she was great in Crash but she makes too many cheesey comedies (not that it stopped the HFPA for nominating her for that also).

Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama: Did I mention how they love George Clooney? Caution spoiler: Morgan Freeman did play Nelson Mandela…

Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical – This is a horrible category. Of the films, I liked the flawed The Hangover the best, but the all-star cast suggests It’s Compicated is probably more up their alley.

Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical: This category tells you all you need to know about the HFPA – Bullock chewing the scenery, Julia Roberts automatic nod and two Meryl Streep roles. The only way Streep loses is if she splits her own votes, but since HFPA also loves people playing real characters, it’s Streep for Julia and Julia.

Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical: That Sherlock Holmes is a comedy tells you a lot about why I hate the very concept of the movie, but not enough people appreciate that Joesph Gordon-Levitt is the best young actor in Hollywood and not enough people cared about The Informant. So I’ll wager it’s Robert Downey Jr.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: As intense and worthy as Mo’Nique was in Precious, and as revered as Penelope Cruz is in general, I just have a gut feeling that Vera Farmiga will benefit from being in the most likeable film in the group. Not that she isn’t worthy – tough crowd here.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture – This is quite possibly the best group of nominees on the whole show (and they didn’t even nominate Christian McKay for Me and Orson Welles!) Any other year Stanley Tucci walks away with this for his chilling performance in The Lovely Bones, but Christoph Waltz probably gave a performence for the ages in Inglorious Basterds.

Best Director – Motion Picture – It makes no sense that someone could helm the Best Picture and not win as Best Director, but Avatar is a tidal wave and James Cameron gets rewarded for the sheer scope of the film.

Best Screenplay- Motion Picture – I think this is where the HFPA again gets to reward a feel-good picture (even though it was anything but feel-good) by Globing Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner for Up in the Air.

The full slate of categories and nominees can be found here. I’ll post links to the results, along with my reactions, on Monday January 18th.

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Chin Music

Frankly, I don’t think Conan needs me to fight his battles – looks like he’s perfectly capable of handling this all by himself.

(As a bonus, the Letterman clips prove once and for all that Paul Shaffer – great bandleader, good storyteller in the proper setting – should have his lips stapled shut whenever Letterman is talking.)

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T.G.I.F. – Ten More Laughs

 This week a little cheating – a couple of the clips feature multiple performers and as usual I can’t count to ten. Sad to think that Sather, Hedberg and Jeni are no longer with us; sadder to realize that two were suicides and the third might have been. Every one of these guys has made me laugh so hard that fluids tried to escape my body against my will. Enjoy!

comedy mask

Dave Chappelle doesn’t like Sesame Street very much.

The late Drake Sather was a great stand-up and comedy writer.

Norm MacDonald is effin brilliant.

So was the late Mitch Hedberg; this from the Just For Laughs Festival.

Another guy I miss, Richard Jeni, riffing on Michael Jackson.

Drew Carey, Ryan Stiles and Greg Proops on Who’s Line is it Anyway?

Banter between Colin Mochrie and Ryan doing the classic “Greatest Hits” ads.

Nick DiPaolo on drinking, driving and smoking.

Gilbert Gottfried can squeeze every last drop out of a funny line.

Craig Ferguson is funny on his show but his stand-up shows are killer.

Bonus tracks:

Eddie Izzard and the Evil Giraffe.

Jim Carrey channels David Caruso.

Life is short. Laugh every day!

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