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Gavin Greig [userpic]

Gavin goes to Hollywood

November 18th, 2010 (08:35 pm)
current location: KY16 8SX

While in the vicinity of Hollywood, msinvisfemand I went to the recording of an American TV show there - with me under strict instructions from msinvisfemnot to embarrass her by mentioning the host's former stage name...

Craig Ferguson, who some may remember as a stand-up comedian in the late 80s or early 90s, or as Confidence in Red Dwarf, is now rather better known in the States than he was on this side of the pond, after a number of seasons in a successful sitcom, starring roles in a couple of moderately successful movies, and several years of presenting a daily chat show: The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

Not having been to a recording of a UK show, I can't make any comparisons, but they don't half make you work for your free ticket in the States! The warm-up man is dire and filthy, not a good combination, although to be fair to him, he knew it; and he was on the ball with coordinating responses silently once the programme began. In return for your seat, you have to sit and laugh for an hour or so, whether it's funny or not; and under those circumstances it's a pretty fair bet it's not...

After too long listening to the warm-up guy, the show began. The standard pattern of the show is opening monologue, followed "after the break" by studio guests. The opening monologue is a bit weird for the audience because it's delivered straight to camera, and even though we were behind the camera, it was plain it wasn't for our benefit! Craig plainly knows his audience and is now an American citizen, but it's a bit odd hearing a Scottish accent building up to his closing catchphrase,"It's a great day for America". There are some jokes related to the world situation that might get more of a mixed response in the UK.

The guest spots were a bit more interesting, as they were slightly less scripted. I had no clue who the first guest was, but Brooke Shields had a bit more international appeal. She was plugging a stage show.

Actually, the guest that woke me up most was Tyson. Who's Tyson, you say? Haven't a clue, except that he was the guy plucked from the audience to look foolish - one seat away from us. He did a fairly good job of matching up to Craig's banter, after an initial period of looking like a stunned mullet. Of course we wondered whether he was a plant, but on balance I don't think so - he was hesitant and lost enough to start with that I think not. And he seemed to enjoy himself, and might possibly have earned himself repeat appearances (apparently this does sometimes occur to audience members, but I haven't watched any subsequent programmes to find out).

Part 1: Fleetingly visible as a small blob in the audience.
Part 2 : Part 3 : Part 4 : Part 5

Craig has a decent line of patter, but didn't manage to justify the side-splitting mirth expected of us; still, it must be pretty difficult to keep that up day after day, and if we needed any reminding that it's a skilled job requiring talent, we only had to recall the gulf in capability and charm between him and the warm-up man!

Afterwards we nipped out to the  Farmer's Market a couple of blocks away for something to eat (the show gave us money off vouchers for local eateries, but not for anywhere we wanted to go). It's a permanent fixture, more like some of the well-established markets in our big cities than the local farmer's market in St. Andrews. After a wander around looking at everything, I had fried alligator tail rolled in cornmeal (nice enough but undistinguished) from The Gumbo Pot.


Posted by: It's my brain and I'll do what I like in it (pink_weasel)
Posted at: November 18th, 2010 10:29 pm (UTC)

I used to be a bit of a fan of Craig Ferguson, but I assumed he'd given up comedy and gone and got a job as a builder or something.

The few tv show recordings I've been to have all gone on a long time, had terrible warm up artists (Ted Robbins more often than not) and involved a lot more laughing than was strictly justified. Radio recordings on the other hand tend to be fast and funny, unless they're pilots.

Posted by: Gavin Greig (ggreig)
Posted at: November 18th, 2010 10:56 pm (UTC)
Vacant Podling

I assumed he'd given up comedy

I'm tempted to say he has (boom boom, no I won't give up the day job), but that wouldn't actually be fair - I think he's just spread a bit thin. And he can't be quite as biting for a more mainstream American audience.

The few tv show recordings I've been to

I wondered, and figured there must be a fair bit in common. I'm glad to hear radio is better. The recording in the States was actually pretty slick - you see almost all of it on the screen, and there was only one pick-up taken of a few seconds of audience "appreciation" after the end.

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