But Does It Need To Be Said Again?

I want to make it clear that I’m a big fan of Craig Ferguson. If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile or know me personally, you probably already know that. I was delighted to discover him by accident one night in 2006, and have been following The Late Late Show pretty closely since then. There have been some periods I’ve missed out on, and often I only take the time to watch the monologue unless there is a really interesting guest on, but for the most part I’ve seen a large percentage of the episodes. I’ve even gone so far as to Google older episodes I missed, but were referenced later, like the Desmond Tutu interview, or the famous Stephen Fry experiment. Brilliant stuff. I read his book, “American on Purpose” (reviewed it on here, actually) and loved it also.
But I think all this fan girl attention worked against me when watching “Does This Need To Be Said?” Because while there are some serious belly laughs to be had in the special, a lot of it was material that just wasn’t new, and was therefore less funny as a result. (I mean, the “Baby, One More Time” dance is funny, but I’ve already seen it several times via You Tube, along with a dozen or so other similar bits, some of which were even more funny. (See below for his take on “Melt With You”, which is probably my favorite so far.)
Which isn’t to say I wouldn’t recommend it to other people are perhaps are less familiar with his work, as perhaps an introduction, or to people who are fans, like myself, who will watch it just for the new stuff. Some of the problem I think may also be with the platform – as shown over his years at The Late Late Show, Craig is at his best when he’s just completely off the cuff and going on about whatever has struck his fancy that day. The fact is that the less scripted and the more, I guess “reactionary” might be the right word, the show has become, the more entertaining it is. With other talk show hosts, you can pretty much guess what they are going to monologue about based on the current headlines. With Craig, he might ignore that day’s headlines altogether and riff on some book he’s read or devote an entire show to a semi-obscure British Sci-Fi program or devote the whole show to learning more about Black History Month with a noted scholar. Part of the fun is you never know quite what you’re going to get, but it’s probably going to be either funny or smart, and usually both.
“Does This Need To Be Said?” is funny and smart, but it’s also a scripted stand up routine filled with stories and jokes that Craig’s obviously put a lot of time and effort into, right down to the clever way he frames the whole routine with a naughty joke he’d probably not get to repeat on CBS. But on a giant stage doing rehearsed material in front of a sizable audience… it’s entertaining enough, but it’s just not the manic, personal, make you feel like a co-conspirator in some sort of secret transmission from CBS studios kind of a performance I’ve come to enjoy.
So… yes, I liked a lot of it, but I was a bit disappointed, but after thinking about it for a bit (we actually watched it last week), I think that it’s more about my own expectations than any sort of problem with the special itself.


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