James Halcomb says good-bye to two staples of his television viewing. The Late Late Show has said farewell to Craig Ferguson and Stephen Colbert has left Comedy Central.
This week two television hosts took their final bows on their current shows: the King of “truthiness” Stephen Colbert and his show “The Colbert Report” and Craig Ferguson as host of “The Late, Late Show.” Both were institutions that I enjoyed and took for granted, by not being a devoted viewer, but admired them nevertheless.
Colbert has been perfecting his on-stage persona for a decade now and while the words were often abrasive and inappropriate more often than not, his heart was always in the right place. His segment “The Word” was a direct parody of “Bill O’Reilly’s Talking Points,” it was often as equally prolific, or as nonsensical, as the source material.
What always meant so much to me was Colbert seemed to always keep his heart on his sleeve and his nerdiness, particularly his love for Tolkien and the “Lord Of The Rings” books, out front and center. He was the proud receiver of Captain America’s shield and interviewed Smaug the dragon. He had his head shaved in salute to the military and was a huge supporter for them and their families. He even auctioned off portions of the set as a fundraiser.
This show was always a great piece of entertainment that had a way of making today’s constant media knife of negativity, a little less sharp.
Ferguson did something completely different with his tenure on the “Late, Late Show”, in other words, whatever he bloody wanted. He had a robot sidekick, Geoff, who was a Mohawk wearing smart-arse who often interjected himself into interviews at the worst or best possible time. His faithful steed Secretariat would often show up to either dance of just to be weird.
Ferguson brought his love for “Doctor Who,” along with a mug that always sat at his desk. The show was often non-linear in structure, making it perfect for the 12:30am crowd. His catch phrase to start off his monologues was “It’s a great day in America” and even when it wasn’t, Craig made it at least a very funny and surreal day. The formula for his show was that there was no formula for his show, which will make it very difficult to repeat in any other form.
“The Colbert Report” and “The Late, Late Show” were two original pieces of programming in the world of late night television and their loss will be felt and a serious hole to fill. Whatever their future projects are, I am sure they will bring those same sensibilities to them.