Trying on new hats is second nature for Craig Ferguson. Before he left Glasgow, he tried his hand at being a milkman, a punk rocker, a construction worker and a dancer, among other vocations. Comedy was one of the few careers left open.
Following his move to the U.S. and a recurring role on The Drew Carey Show, Ferguson shifted to full-time standup work and eventually signed on as host of CBS's The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Since launching in January, 2005, the gabfest has consistently garnered positive reviews for its unstructured format and the host's beyond-casual interviewing style ("I think you're crazy," Archbishop Desmond Tutu told Ferguson a few months back).
And still Ferguson seeks out new avenues. The cheeky monkey has also tried his hand at writing, first with the novel Between the Bridge and the River and now with American on Purpose, releasing this week, in which he professes his love for all things red white and blue.
A brief précis of your new book, if you please.
It's an autobiography by someone in show business. I hear it's great. It's the story of how I ended up here, which still surprises me as much as anyone. A lot of it, I just couldn't remember, so I made it up. But I admitted that right away.
Besides becoming a U.S. citizen, how has your life changed since taking over the post-Letterman talk time slot?
I do know that being on television every night has made me crazier than I was when I started.
Why is your show regarded as a departure from the other late-night talk fare?
We keep deconstructing the format, because the format is tired and it is old. Here's the reality: I'm another middle-aged white guy in a suit telling jokes late at night on TV. So I want to mess with it. I want to poke it with a stick.
Would you ever consider a move to the 10 p.m. timeslot, à la Leno?
No. I don't think people are ready for cussing shark puppets at 10 o'clock.