Review: Craig Ferguson hot, grumpy and very funny

The former talk show host gave Turning Stone patrons plenty to laugh about with a fast-paced barrage of hilarity.

As he took the stage at the Turning Stone Event Center on Wednesday evening, Craig Ferguson promised each member of the audience would leave his standup set offended by something he said over the next 80 or so minutes.

But if any part of his routine upset me, I was too busy laughing hysterically to even notice. 

The 52-year old comedian, best known as the former host of The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson and Nigel Wick on The Drew Carey Show, left a packed house at the intimate casino venue repeatedly in stitches during the latest stop on his 'Hot and Grumpy Tour.'

No longer confined by a desk and network television censorship standards, Ferguson paced back and forth across the stage like an angry lion ready to prey on celebrities, culture fads and the annoyances of daily life.

But before Ferguson unleashed his R-rated onslaught, his friend and colleague Josh Robert Thompson (a.k.a. the voice of Ferguson’s robot skeleton sidekick Geoff Peterson on The Late Late Show) appetized the crowd with an excellent series of impressions.

After treating spectators to an Arnold Schwarzengger plot to blow up the moon and a demonstration of how to pick up girls at a bar like Bryan Mills from the “Taken” movie franchise, Thompson delivered his marquee moment by delivering terrible GPS directions as Morgan Freeman.

“Up ahead, make a right or make a left. Ultimately, it’s up to you, and clearly you make bad decisions because you bought this piece-of-s*** Prius. Yeah, we all see your Obama bumper sticker on the f***ing outside. Step on the gas.”

Then Ferguson made his entrance, aided by some surprisingly limber dance moves by “Late Late” horse companion Secretariat. He exchanged pleasantries with everyone, thanking them for helping him live his dream of playing Verona, N.Y., on a Wednesday night in the middle of winter.

But he was a little cranky over the weather, as he recounted a conversation he had with someone earlier in the day.

“Nobody else please say to me, ‘This ain’t cold.’ This is f***ing cold!”

“Oh this ain’t cold.”

“Yes, it is.”

“Well, I don’t think it’s cold." 

“Well, that’s because you’re an idiot.”

By this point, it was clear Ferguson was ready to lay on the expletives and the raunchiness, which was a vast departure from the talking head we’ve seen on broadcast television.

He delivered sharp satire of popular Hollywood fads, like plastic surgery and the current state of music. He even compared twerking to what a dog with worms does across the living room carpet.

Ferguson also recalled numerous celebrity encounters, including the time he and musical hero Mick Jagger collaborated on a screenplay. Well, at least before Jagger fired him.

But none compared to the time he met the man, the myth, the legend: saxophone musician Kenny G.

“He was just walking around the party. If you started talking to someone, you’d be like ‘I think I can hear… oh f***, Kenny G!’” Ferguson said. “I think Kenny G could have sex with you, and you wouldn’t even know it.”

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Ferguson said one Hollywood rumor is actually true.

Dr. Phil is an a**hole.

Ferguson poked fun at Catholics, Nazis, the gerbil that supposedly inhabits Richard Gere’s…um… rear body cavity and even his own colon seemingly without stopping to take a breath. 

The entire audience ate it up. Even the gentleman that left 10 minutes into the show to get a beer, much to Ferguson’s ire.

I can try to analyze every joke and measure audience response in an effort to grade Ferguson’s set, but there’s no exact formula for evaluating a standup routine. When you’re telling dozens of jokes in rapid-fire succession, a couple are bound to bomb or draw a lukewarm reaction at the very least.

So instead, I’ll simply say my eyes burned painfully for a good five minutes from the laughter tears that kept welling in their lids. If that’s not the sign of an awesome performance, then I don’t know what is.

You can catch Craig on the Hot and Grumpy Tour through March 21st in cities across the United States.

Post new comment

* Field must be completed for your comment to appear on The NewsHouse
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.