On the rare occasion that I watch late-night television, I surf through channels so quickly I'm surprised that it doesn't cause me to go into an epileptic fit. It's especially perplexing since I only have about 10 channels to deal with—less, depending on the mood of my TV antenna.
In my limited experience, I've always thought that Craig Ferguson on The Late Late Show was kind of funny, but I could never be sure because I would be on to the next channel before I could decide. Last night I actually put down the remote control and watched his opening monologue, and within seconds he had me laughing so hard that tears were streaming down my eyes.
Entertainment Weekly recently published an article on Ferguson, originally from Scotland, suggesting that he's reinvented the late-night monologue by eschewing most topical humor and ad-libbing about his life.
There are plenty of his monologues available on YouTube if you need a good, hard laugh, but I've selected to share this opening from February 19, 2007, in which he manages to be alternately laugh-out-loud funny, brutally honest, and surprisingly contemplative, as he riffs about his growing discomfort with making fun of celebrities; his battles with alcohol; his thoughts about Britney Spears (he beat Chris Crocker to the punch); and the day he decided to commit suicide. It's a hilarious and harrowing work of art: