Dear Craig, Craiggles (yep that was mine),
You magnificent bastard. You’re breaking our hearts. You know that, don’t you? But, here’s the thing: we know it’s time for you to go. You’re heart is no longer in late night television. You’re tired of being a late night douche. (You’re not, but you love to call yourself one anyway.) You want to broaden your horizons. (And by broaden your horizons, we all assume that refers to something sexual.) That’s just how you roll. And you know what? Deep down, we’re all okay with this. But, part of us weeps grand tears because you’ve come to mean so much to us.
When you first took over The Late Late Show you changed the way many thought of late night TV. Sure, you were a white male. But you brought something wonderfully unique to the stage: your unique perspective, humility, humor, heart, and your Scottishness. And still, it was more than that. While most late night guys played by a set of established rules, you crept up to the edge of the stage and gave the finger to those rules. Have guests on solely because they had a new movie or show or album coming out? Nooo! Not you! You brought on people simply because they ingtrigued you. And when you did bring on guests who had something to plug, you’d mention it and then get them talking, really talking with you about what mattered to them. You (for a while) ditched the tie, had fun with skits so silly and absurd that we couldn’t help laughing ourselves silly and hoping for more, gave us the first late night gay robot skeleton, gave us the first late night stalking horse, and introduced yourself as “TV’s Craig Ferguson” every single night. And you were the very reason each day was a great day for America. You really were.
You made us love you when you opened your heart to remember your father and again when your mother passed. You made us love you even more when you refused to make jokes about Britney Spears while she was in the middle of a meltdown. We loved you when shared your excitement at becoming an American citizen, sharing your video of that moment. We’ve loved you all this time because you dared to be the one thing most late night talk show guys wouldn’t: genuinely yourself.
You started off trying to be as classy and charming as Johnny Carson (and you were). You’re a lot naughtier now and, you know what? We like it! You aim for creepy and you still come off as charming. Through it all, you were and are still completely yourself. For that, we are eternally grateful.
You may not know this, but for me (and many others) you were the reason we were able to laugh. Sometimes you were the ONLY reason we could find a laugh. You were my late night buddy. You helped me get through some of my darkest days and some of the longest nights. I laughed through the pain. I laughed through the frustration. I laughed because of you.
I’m sure James Corden is going to do a bang up job when he takes over. He’s not you, though. My only hope is that he will also refuse to play by the rules, that he finds a way to fill your shoes — be it by stuffing them full of tissue or by sheer force of will — and keep us laughing.
Please know that we will miss you. Terribly. Please know that we will wait with baited breath for your next big thing (yes, yes, we know you have Celebrity Name Game [and we love it!]) and hope that whatever you do now that you’re free is something that fills your heart and soul with utter joy.
Oh, and please visit James and TLLS every now and again, would you?
But mostly, between safety and adventure, choose adventure!
From your most adoring cheeky wee monkey,