Last Saturday night at Casino Rama the former host of the Late Late Show Craig Ferguson performed a hilarious hour and a half set to a sold-out audience. His frantic energy had him running across the stage— at one point stopping to ask the spotlight operators why they couldn’t keep up— and telling jokes on everything from writing a movie with Mick Jagger to what a creepy German man said to him in a bar in New York City in 1983.
To say that there were topics is to misunderstand how Craig performs, as one story is only completed after a brief interruption to tell another. The result is an orchestrated tapestry of jokes and stories that, combined with Craig’s charm and affability, feels like a conversation between the audience and the comedian.
My journalistic integrity requires me to confess that Craig Ferguson was already one of my two favourite stand-up comedians, the other being Dylan Moran. But it also compels me to tell you that I wasn’t laughing any harder than anyone else in the sold-out theatre. He is a very intelligent comedian who uses his punk attitude and love of the absurd to spear anything that he wishes, most often himself.
If you’ve ever seen Craig on his old show you will know that he likes to use profanity. Now gifted with the freedom that not being on television brings, he fully embraces that interest and he clearly was having fun trying to push the boundaries with the audience, though not in any obscene way. Josh Robert Thomson, the voice of Craig’s gay robot skeleton sidekick on TV, was gone but his dancing horse Secretariat was there. (I told you he liked things absurd).
My only major complaint was that the crowd at Casino Rama—like any casino—was largely old and elderly. The couple in front of me were actually asleep, and I know because I kicked the man’s chair several times to test this theory. I highly suspected that this crowd is not the Late Late show audience, as watching a show that starts at 12:30 entails staying up past their bedtime of probably 8:30. I also suspected that this is not the audience that Craig needs or deserves. As such I look forward to seeing Craig again in Toronto this October when he headlines Just For Laughs.