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Courting Craig Ferguson: The Late Late Show Diaries 10-14-2005

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Dear Craig,

Skin one up? You naughty little donkey. I haven’t heard that phrase in years. I had to dig deep into the memories of my wasted youth for that one.

Craig Ferguson
Monologue: One year ago tonight you guest-hosted The Late Late Show for the very first time. Congratulations! What a fateful day for you, for late night television, and for all of us fans. Woo hoo!

Peter Mayhew, the most famous wookie in any universe, is becoming a U.S. Citizen. This is relevent because you’re also going through the process, working to become an American.

During an interview, Mayhew stated: “‘Whatever people say about America, it is still one of the most wonderful countries in the world, despite the politics, religion and everything else that goes on.'” And, “Mayhew joked that when he comes to take the oath to become an American, he intends to use ‘a Chewie growl’ for any parts he cannot remember.”

Lovely. Craig, beat him up for me, would you?

The wookie jokes were simply perfect. They reminded me of the cell phone commercial where they do take after take of Chewbaca emoting in a variety of ways:

Wireless sponsor Cingular started airing a national TV spot Sunday, also from BBDO, that takes viewers inside the fictional Cingular Star Wars Ringtone Recording Studio. Viewers see Chewbacca taking directions from a haughty British music executive (not unlike Simon Cowell from American Idol) as he records personal ring tones. After Chewbacca delivers one of his patented cries, the smarmy music executive says: “I love it. Now make me hate it.”

Darth Vader, an asthmatic or takin’ a bong hit?

What’s with the Star Wars theme? The funny voices, the silly faces, and the sound effects were definitely spot on. Of course, what do I know? I gave up after the original three in the series and bear a great deal of ill-will toward George Lucas for marketing each and every imagined character – ever – to my son. They’re none-too-cheap, either. Does my son really need an Emperor Palatine doll? Excuse me, ACTION FIGURE. And, not having seen the last three movies of the series, why should I even know that name? Truly, with that sort of impassioned response, I should have more distractions. I dare you, Craig, to come up with one.

Damn. Chelsea had her email read. Not me. Never me. Antonia had her email read. Not me. Never me. It’s probably a good thing you went straight to blowing things up at this point in the show. I needed something to ease the mind-numbing pain.

First guest: Bill Nye, the Science Guy. Oh, darling Craig, you looked fetching in your blue lab coat, safety goggles, and a welding mask. It’s a good look for you. Not as nice as your suits, but still, endearingly sweet and nerdy.

After the flask and cannon of science, we waited for things to go “boom”. The banter between you and Bill was funny as hell.

Kaboom!

“See? That’s what I’m talking about!”

Oh yeah, a bit delayed, but enjoyable all the same. Science is fun. Lots and lots of fun. We had fun with science today, too. Physics. “What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?” Almost, but not quite. Unless that swallow happens to be made of metal and is capable of making great booming noise as it passes overhead. Glorious day in the bright sun and scorching heat with my son. Air show, baby.

Second guest(s): Kevin and Michael Bacon. They were in town on Thursday, but I was too busy hanging out with my son to go see them. And, really, is it necessary? Sure, they’re brothers and they play music, but when it comes right down to it, do I really want to spend my money on a ticket because of that? Fortunately, I knew they were appearing on your show and saved the dough for my Vegas trip next week.

Kevin admitted to being a science geek. The giant squid inspired him to write a song. That’s all well and good, but all I could think was “Kevin, you need a haircut”.

His brother, Michael, is nine years older and once beat Kevin at arm wrestling. That’s one of those things you wish you had on tape. Especially after seeing the movie Sleepers. What an evil character for him! I’ve seen the movie at least seven times. Free HBO is free HBO, right? Still, two of my favorite movies with him were He Said, She Said (in which Sharon Stone had a minor part…hmm…wonder why that’s significant…) and Queen’s Logic. Queen’s Logic was one of those great little movies that deserved more attention than it got. Of course, we can’t forget to mention that he was also in Animal House and Diner. He was in another movie that I don’t think many people saw. It was one of those forgettable flicks. I think it was called Footloose, or something.

I figured I’d play a little Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon while watching the show. Couldn’t hurt, right? Trying to be obscure, I chose Ty Pennington (Extreme Makeover: Home Edition). Wanna take a guess as to the Bacon number on that one? Go ahead, just guess.

[humming Jeopardy theme]

No Googling this one.

Still can’t guess?

Try 3.

Ty Pennington was in The Adventures of Ociee Nash (2003) with Geoff McKnight. Geoff McKnight was in Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius (2004) with Aidan Quinn. Aidan Quinn was in Cavedweller (2004) with Kevin Bacon. I love Aidan Quinn. You should have him on the show, Craigsy.

Okay. So, it only took three people to connect Kevin to Ty. I wonder what the Bacon number would be for someone like Gary Coleman.

2! Gary Coleman was in Dirty Work (1998) with Jessica Booker. Jessica Booker was in Cavedweller (2004) with Kevin Bacon.

Hmm, it’s harder than it looks. If you use only feature films, everything is connected rather quickly.

Let’s try Melissa Sue Anderson of Little House on the Prairie fame. Surely this will be a long journey.

2, again. Melissa Sue Anderson was in Happy Birthday to Me (1981) with Matt Craven. Matt Craven was in A Few Good Men (1992) with Kevin.

Tim Conway? Tim Conway was in Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997) with Colleen Camp. Colleen Camp was in Trapped (2002) with Bacon.

Even you, Craig, are just a Bacon number 2 away using only feature films. Don’t believe me? Craig Ferguson was in The Big Tease (1999) with Kylie Bax. Kylie Bax was in We Married Margo (2000) with…

Have a go at this yourself.

But, let’s get back to Kevin Bacon, singer, songwriter, etc.

Craig: Who’s the better musician?
Kevin: Michael’s tbe better musician.
Michael: I don’t think so. I’m the trained musician…
Kevin: I’m a plunker.

Michael: I’ve never written a song about a squid, though…I’m more folk and he’s more rock ‘n’ roll. But he’s made me a…
Craig: So you’re a little bit country, and he’s a little bit rock ‘n’ roll…

“Do you do ‘Freebird’?”

After the break, Bill Nye returned to the set to talk a bit. Somehow or another, you ended up talking giant squid and tennis legend, Bjorn Borg. Borg is a giant arm? Like a crab? Of course, it’s related to the ocean. And aquid.

There was discussion about how the original tubing for the explosion broke during the rehearsal. A little bit of water came out of me. Then more giant squid. However, you interrupted Bill to say “I want to talk about Carl Sagan.”Sagan had been one of Nye’s professors at some point. Nye said that Sagan believed in the human species. The conversation then proceeded into a “we found proof of water on Mars, which is not unrelated to giant squid. If we find a giant tentacle, we know it was attached to a large creature. When we find certain elements on Mars, we can say there was water” type things.

“So, now we look for a tentacle!” Freakin’ brilliant!

This reminded me of Monty Python’s Holy Grail’s witch argument:

BEDEVERE: Exactly. So, logically…
VILLAGER #1: If… she… weighs… the same as a duck… she’s made of wood.

BEDEVERE: And therefore?
VILLAGER #2: A witch!

This is so unhealthy, isn’t it? I’m showing my inner movie geek. Surely, it’s a sign of decompensation, frustration, and wantonness. Or something. And, stop calling me Shirley.

I probably should have taped the show tonight. It’s apparent that I’m tired and goofy. But, you started it, you naughty giant tentacle! Yes, I’m casting blame. Just try and stop me. No, really. Come on, try it. I promise to stop if you come over.

Now we’re back to the Bacon Brothers. Funny, all I can think of right now is breakfast. Scrambled eggs, crisp bacon, fresh orange juice, and a cuppa. And, that led me to think of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. (A mind is a terrible thing to waste, isn’t it?) “Peace Dance” was the song that the Bacons sang. Maybe if they’d chosen something else, I’d have paid closer attention. Perhaps the squid song.

This show was a big one for me. I managed to get a friend to watch with me. A friend who was amongst the unconvinced that you, Craig Ferguson, are the best thing to happen to late night TV since Johnny Carson. My friend is now a believer.

I can’t wait for the next time we get to spend the evening together, Craiggers. Keep up the good work!

Your cheeky wee monkey and saucy little squidlet,

Joanie

Join the fun, check out The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on CBS, Monday-Friday, 12:30 PM, Pacific. If you can’t stay up that late and/or refuse to record the show, you can always catch up on the monologues and skits on the LLS website.

About the author: Joan’s fascination and adoration of Craig Ferguson is little more than silly fantasy, with a dash of lust, the likes of which are common amongst single 39 year-old women. She lives many miles safely south of Los Angeles and CBS Studios. She is seriously contemplating entering rehab to work on her Monty Python addiction.

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