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Craig Ferguson

Forget Lettermen, Leno, Fallon and the rest; the best late-night talk show is one you probably have not ever seen: “The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson,” which airs after “Late Show with David Letterman” on CBS.  Ferguson’s show is full of heart, humor and intelligence.

Craig Ferguson is perhaps best known for his role as Nigel Wick, Drew Carey’s boss on “The Drew Carey Show.”  Ferguson took over as host on “The Late, Late Show” from Craig Kilborn in 2005.

What makes TLLS special is the connection Ferguson has with his viewers and his fans.  He interacts with his audience members in a personal way that other late-night hosts just don’t match.  Ferguson is also a popular figure on Twitter, the social media site; his followers are the “Robot Skeleton Army.”  A regular segment on TLLS is when Ferguson reads on the air messages his fans send him, either by e-mail or via Twitter in “tweets.”  On occasion people like comedian Eddie Izzard will join Ferguson to read through the tweets and e-mails.

Ferguson brings creativity to what could be a tired format; the show is largely unscripted, and it’s not uncommon for Ferguson to open the show with one of his many popular puppet characters (and, for the 1000th episode, the entire show was done with puppets).  And while TLLS generally follows a format (cold opening, monologue, the reading of e-mail/tweets, guests) there are times when Ferguson mixes things up and re-arranges the order of the segments.  In addition to the puppet characters, Ferguson also has his own “robot skeleton” sidekick, designed by Grant Imahara of “Mythbusters,” named Geoff; Imahara built the robot after challenging Ferguson’s Twitter followers to get Imahara 100,000 followers of his own on Twitter.

On February 23, 2010, Ferguson even removed the studio audience and devoted the entire hour to an interview with British author and actor Stephen Fry; the goal was to emulate the style of Tom Snyder, and what followed was a thoughtful and intelligent discussion of the kind rarely seen in late-night television, covering everything from the stigma of mental illness to Fry’s embrace of technology.

Ferguson has been recognized for his discussions with thought-provoking guests; he was awarded the Peabody on March 31, 2010 for an interview he conducted with Archbishop Desmond Tutu from 2009.

The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson is frequently hilarious, thoughtful, intelligent and always entertaining, whether it’s with an appearance by the foul-mouthed puppet Sid to Tim Gunn of “Project Runway” reading letters to the comic book superhero Aquaman.  If you’re up late and are in need of a laugh, Ferguson is the person to watch.