Craig Ferguson's first show from Paris: A whimsical triumph, a potential classic

Craig Ferguson has turned his show into Le Late Late Show Avec Craig Ferguson this week, and began his visit to Paris on Monday night with a small triumph of clever silliness. Accompanied by one of his favorite regular guests, the beguiling Kristen Bell, and his robot skeleton sidekick Geoff Peterson, Ferguson played up the semi-improvised, on-the-cheap ethos that serves his comedy so well.

Setting up a rickety card table and some folding chairs in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, Ferguson interviewed Bell, who wore a fetching beret. He modified a few of his usual impersonations, placing his “Michael Caine In Space” in Paris, and featured the Frenchified version of Aquaman — Homme D’Aqua — eating mushrooms and hallucinating pleasantly.

Most charmingly of all, Ferguson set up his precarious little talk-show desk and chair outside Shakespeare and Co., the famed Paris bookstore, and interviewed its present owner, Sylvia Whitman. Whitman proved to be a camera natural, quick-witted, game, ready for any whim Craig tossed at her. Cable networks take note: I would watch a reality show featuring Whitman, her bookstore, and its customers (some of whom she’s caught having sex in the stacks!) every week.

One of the most impressive aspects of the show is the fact that none of the Paris segments take place in a TV studio — Ferguson and his pals really take in the City of Lights, constantly on the move, ready for any street encounter and eager to visit famous sites and make them part of his broadcast.

Yes, the week of Paris shows has begun smashingly. They establish once again that Ferguson is utterly unlike any other host in late-night, willing to take the airiest of whims and make them hilarious realities. He is something close to fearless; he is certainly not merely funny but also adventurous. If the rest of the week is as good as Monday night’s show, Ferguson will have pulled off a stunt that can rank with the best American talk-show feats, and place him firmly in the company of Steve Allen and early David Letterman for imagination and deft foolishness.

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  • dee123

    He needs an Emmy or two.

    • Mark

      …or three or four.

      • HoneyBee

        …or even more.

      • MK

        From your fingertips to voters ears!

      • Monty

        I know what you meant and I know the expression, but when when you think of that phrase literally, you are about a half step away from giving emmy voters wet willies. Are you threatening them in an effort to get them to vote for Craig?

    • Sally

      So very true. How Craig has not been nominated, much less won, by now is beyond me.

      He is willing to interview one person for a whole hour – his interview with Desmond Tutu was outstanding. Serious yet showed a very fun and easy side to Archbishop Tutu.

      • orville

        I know! How he’s won the Peabody, but still can’t get an Emmy nomination is criminal. Maybe next year he’ll be the next criminally un-nominated person to finally get a nomination like others who finally got a nod this year.

      • InternJack

        Dunno Orville, he was nominated and when he lost he host it to Barry Manilloo. So did John Stewart and that other guy after John Steward.

        The non Emmy winners sometimes have the best stories.

        Nothing meh about his not winning that Emmy.

  • Marion

    Yay, this is the TV event I’ve been waiting for all summer ever since I learned he would be going with Kristen Bell! Their natural chemistry make their conversations together the best. Craig Ferguson is so severely unrated.

    • InternJack

      That Kristen Bell is a cutie!

    • InternJack

      Actually though, as to events of the year? I’m thinking that’s going to the “Rossanne Barr 4 Prez” announcement. The part about “the event of the year”.


  • Kate

    Love Craig, especially with Kristin but I liked it better when Geoff could only say a few phrases. Now I find Geoff overly used and annoying.

    • Naomie

      Agreed, Geoff is definitely being over-used. He’s only funny because of how Craig reacts to him.

    • Regi

      I agree, Geoff was cute for awhile but now he’s a bit much. Love Craig though!!!!

    • BruceB

      Your giving Geoff/JRT short shrift. how can he be over used. He only pipes in during the e-mail segment,then every once in a while during the beginning of end. If only talks during a chat if the guest has been there enough times. Craig likes the “live” Geoff and so do I. Some of the shows with the pre-recorded Geoff are a little painful to watch now.

  • Mellie

    Yeah, I don’t like Geoff. But I do love Craig and I find him the funniest and most intelligent guy on late-night television. It’s sad he’s not noticed much next to Letterman or Leno.

    • InternJack

      Dunno Orville, he was nominated and when he lost he host it to Barry Manilloo. So did John Stewart and that other guy after John Steward.

      The non Emmy winners sometimes have the best stories.

      Nothing meh about his not winning that Emmy.


      • InternJack

        LOL How did that get there.


        Mellie, I’m thinking that the reason he’s not getting noticed is that there are folks who have to get to bed early and don’t watch him the next day on Youtube or dvr.

        Just my guess.


  • sam

    I love Craig and can’t wait for the Paris shows. But I agree that there is too much Geoff. Craig is best when he lets his brilliant mind wander from subject to subject. I find that Geoff’s constant interruption with the same tired stuff ruins this.

    • Chris

      Craig is the best in late night. Just watched the first Paris show. Very enjoyable.

      Totally agree about Geoff. Geoff is OK. But he is being overused now, and I think having to play to Geoff all the time really does limit Craig’s creativity. He’s brilliantly funny on his own. Less so when forced to play straight man to Geoff.

  • HC

    ahh Craig and Kristen FTW. loooove them together!

    • InternJack


  • alan of montreal

    he should be the next Oscar host.

    • Sally

      Fabulous idea! Craig would do a great job with it.

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  • iclark10

    Craig Ferguson is very under-rated. I firmly believe he will take over for one of the “earlier Late Night Talk Show hosts” when they retire! (I can’t wait!) LOL!! LOL!! He is multi-talented and very funny! Glad you moved over here, Craig!

    • Sally

      I hope not. I think Craig gets away with a little more simply because he is late late. Move him up to Letterman’s spot, I would presume that would be the person, and I fear Craig would be forced to conform a bit.

      Now if he could keep his show as is, with the same attitude, and yet be earlier in the evening I would be all for that.

      • InternJack


        I’m wondering if CF wouldn’t agree with you. Look at Conan. Maybe they should try a few try out shows before he moves. Just to see what it’d look like.

        Besides, there’s alot of folks who either record or watch it on the Internet. Not sure if it’s even necessary to change times. On the other hand, moving to cable would be a HUGE change.
        Craig Uncensored.


    • MK

      I’m with Sally on this. Look at what happened to Conan when he took over Tonight….his comedy became softer and it wasn’t “him” anymore. The earlier hour on network TV seems to imply a less risky brand of comedy that would utterly defang Craig.

      • Johna

        Dropout Craig is a lot smarter than Harvard boy Conan and more versatile too. He’ll do just fine at 11:30.

        BTW, I loved the first Paris show. Can’t wait to see him dancing at the Moulin Rouge.

      • InternJack

        MK, Conan also had to leave behind a few things.

        I know that CF has flipped the swearing problem by making it a bit but I’m not sure that he can get away with what he currently does one hour earlier.
        If he does anything? Cable like Bill Maher. Imagine it’s just as lucrative with more editorial freedom.


        Can still see it on Internet if you don’t have the access on cable. (Again like Bill Maher.)

        All this is more than moot though. CF’s contract goes through 2012 and these things generally start before they end.

        Interesting conversation.


  • Kely

    His show tonight was the most stupid thing to watch ever!! I thought it would be educational and interesting with beautiful scenes of Paris. Now I know why I never watched his show and never will again..Funny??? not at all

    • Mark

      You can’t be serious…..

      • Manjot

        Nationally, the effects are tiny rveitale to the size of the economy. In certain areas bordering the gulf there may be some disruptions of businesses that are directly in activities affected by the spill e.g shrimpers. There will be oil on the beaches and in the wetlands for years until the bacteria naturally digest it.

    • Vanjar

      Not my kind of humour, but compared with other ‘Late night Talk Show’ hosts he’s the better one.
      I really like ‘The Graham Norton Show’.

      • Laura

        I love Graham Norton! (Although I adore Craig too.) I wish Graham’s show aired in the U.S. I love his style of mixing all the celebrities on the couch together so they can play off one another. His recent show with Kathy Griffin, Cameron Diaz and Bear Grylls was complete gold. I also can never get enough of the red chair stories. They are the perfect capper to Norton’s charming little show. Now, if Graham Norton and Craig Ferguson ever did a show together or were on each others shows I would love to see that.

      • Kilmer

        Graham’s show can be seen Saturday evenings on BBCAmerica.

      • Erin

        Lady banana beilvee me when i say my life has not always been as exciting as it is now . infact i pinch myself most days to make sure iam not dreaming it all Crushed.. thanks for the comment.reluctant blogger.. it really was not that cold , the river in cambridge is much colder :-0

    • Lisa London

      @ Kely: “educational”? Did you realise which show you were about to watch? It’s late night CBS, not PBS (not that there’s anything wrong with PBS). I’m hoping you were being facetious. I’m French and I love Craig – can’t wait to see the Paris shows!

      • mb

        Laura, Graham Norton’s show airs on BBC America. And I love him too. Wouldn’t it be great if Craig had Graham as a guest and vice versa. What fun that would be!

    • InternJack


      Last week’s shows were different from most shows. The show likes to mix it up. They try different formats. Have since CF started. If the fans respond? It stays.

      Or goes. Anyone remember “Rudy”?


      There are past shows on Youtube. The older shows are worth the time. Funny to watch.


  • JT

    What kind of world do I live in that SNL is nominated for an Emmy and Craig isn’t?

    • InternJack

      The same one that gave the Emmy to Barry Manilow and not CF, John Stewart, and that other guy after John Stewart’s show.

      Also the one that snubbed Arrested Development.


    • Juliette

      Unfortunately Jordan has had good teachers. Just gogole his father Jason Paris and his grandmother Dee Lampe who have been involved in scamming people for years on the gold coast in property deals.

  • Kelly

    Craig and Kristen are so funny together, and the part with the book store owner was just so much fun. Can’t wait for tomorrow night!

  • Gary

    Firmly agree that 1) Craig is a comedic genius, 2) tonight’s Paris debut was classic, 3) Talkative Geoff is NOT as amusing as Old “BALLS” Geoff.

  • Nwzgrl

    CBS…PLEASE package up these shows and burn them onto DVDs to sell on your website. They would be snapped up like spray tan in Jersey!

  • mikeman

    just watched it on a flight from denver to new york. craig ferguson is a genius.

  • Anonymous

    He was on Shark Week!

    • InternJack

      Yeah. And he (and Geoff) were on MythBusters and TalkSoup (I think. That show that’s hosted by the guy on Community who also plays a Geoff only he spells it Jeff and he’s not a robot.) too


      • Dheeraj

        wahahaha, natawa ako sa Canadians. haha. may mga killaa rin akong Canadians and yeah, nice sila. Hmmm I should ask my friends na dun na nakatira.Haha, ayan, parang nangsestereotype na rin ako.

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