Ferguson walking the line
Post Independent Staff
Working in such a public sphere, I have this little, yet constant, worry.
I don’t want to say too much.
There’s a fine boundary between being honest and wallowing, being vulnerable and being self-indulgent. And I have no idea whether I’ve crossed it, but I can think of one person who walks that line so well it makes me swoon.
I’m talking about Craig Ferguson.
I may not have a TV, but I can still be deliriously in love with him. For the last few years, he’s been hosting the “Late Late Show” on CBS. And while he has his share of dorky little skits, for the most part what he’s doing is ground-breaking. Unlike his fellow late night comedians ” even my favorite, David Letterman ” Ferguson doesn’t have a scripted, slick monologue he performs. Every night, his opening act is pure improv. He’ll go on six or eight or 10 minute rants about whatever subject is hitting him hard. His spontaneity makes it funny, though he can also dare not to be.
How gutsy is that?
The truly beautiful thing is how he exposes himself as he goes. If you look up his name on YouTube, you’ll find tons of clips of his self-deprecating, human approach to comedy and serious topics (check out “Craig Ferguson ” Vote you moron!” for a great example).
For something spectacular, type in “Ferguson Speaks from the Heart.” For more than 12 minutes, he talks about being an alcoholic, and how he got sober 15 years ago. He even admits he planned to kill himself once ” though he got drunk and forgot to. He’s so open that it’s mind-blowing. He says he doesn’t want to make fun of the Britney Spears of the world, because they’re the vulnerable ones, just like he was.
The whole speech is eloquent and vital and completely in-the-moment. Its compassion feels like a warm blanket to me.
I’ll admit that this weekend, like every weekend here, I’ll be taking note of my experiences. I’ll be looking for little anecdotes and realizations to put in next week’s column. But they’ll still be that fear lurking in me, telling me to edit, not to reveal too much. Part of me wishes I had an outlet like Ferguson, one where I could just step in front of some large audience and spout all my hopes and dreams and insights. I wish I could do it in his witty way, as well.
But I guess that’s just the beauty of Ferguson. He can step out there so much further than most of us would ever dream.
That off-the-grid bravery makes me so happy ” and a bit jealous, of course.
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