Former “Late Late Show” host stops in Glenside as part of his hilarious new stand-up tour.
To say the past year in late night TV has been one of widespread transition may be a bit of an understatement. Multiple longstanding figures, from Letterman to Stewart, have announced and took their exits in the past twelve months. Yet amidst all the chaos and controversy over who would be replacing who, Craig Ferguson’s exit from CBS’ “The Late Late Show” last December got inexplicably lost in the shuffle. The quietest and least covered of the departures, despite ten beautiful years of irreverent comedy and puppets (and a finale that closed with nods to the finales of “The Bob Newhart Show,” “St. Elsewhere,” and “The Sopranos”), his was, in the mind of this biased fan, the time block’s biggest loss. The host I always turned to, in good times and in bad, I’ve slowly resolved myself to the fact that the dream of sitting in his audience one day, watching him drink from his snake mug with Geoff the robot skeleton, Secretariat the horse, and frequent guest, Kristen Bell, might not be becoming a reality. Little did I realize, however, what new opportunities to see Craig would arise from this shuffling around of his schedule.
Last Tuesday, Oct. 8, it was with great excitement that I got a chance to see my favorite comedian, Craig Ferguson, perform at the Keswick Theater in Glenside, PA. Following on the heels of his successful “Hot & Grumpy Tour” and a new comedy special on EPIX, “Just Being Honest,” Ferguson has been busier than ever lately as he also hosts the game show, “Celebrity Name Game,” and an upcoming History Channel series, “Join or Die with Craig Ferguson.” Right now, though, his focus is on stand-up with “The New Deal Tour,” a night of multiple laughs from a diverse array of sources.
Canadian, Mark Forward, opened with a bit that’s made it so I will never look at a photo of 108-year-old woman in the newspaper on her birthday the same way again. While perhaps making one too many remarks on the audience’s comprehension of comedy, only because it was starting to make me self-conscious of whether my own chuckling was up to snuff, his impressions of a 2015 mom at the park were sharply on point, as was his reaction to people responding to his offering of an inspiring “life lesson” by pointing out he’d said “Glendale” instead of “Glenside.” Real life lesson: people love to point out other people’s mistakes; not so much fans of taking advice.
Craig was every bit as charming and “naughty” as the promotional art for the tour promised–the glee he took from holding vulgar gestures often surpassing the amusement of the gestures themselves. After jumping into his set with some playful jibes at Forward’s “Glendale” error, the funny material kept on coming, as he somehow managed to naturally transition from Egyptian jokes, to childhood encounters with 70s décor, to unsatisfactorily identified haunted hotel rooms. Citing Donald Trump’s presidential campaign as the only time he regretted his decision to leave late night (tweet “Trump” is slang for “shit” in Scotland and it’ll come true, he encouraged the audience), he made sure to include a few backstage anecdotes throughout the night, and even provided running meta-commentary on his own performance–it never failed to make me smile to hear him acknowledge live that one of his voices was reverting to “Scooby Doo” or “Gay Dracula” territory.
It was a smorgasbords of comedy riches. Approaching the show as a millennial by default, I took derisive pleasure in his chastising commentary on smart phones, and the fact that, despite being of the generation, I equally needed his explanation on what the app, Periscope, does. On the other hand, no explanation was needed for his unlikely crossover joke between “Mr. Ed” and “Silence of the Lambs.” Instead you’ve got my absolute favorite line of the night.
I had a great time at the Keswick and will proudly wear my Craig Ferguson swag for weeks to come. While this was Craig’s only night in Glenside, the tour continues in the months ahead. Here is a link to his other tour dates and where to buy tickets.