When this years Fringe programme launched this one is the show I was most excited about. I had last seen Craig Ferguson at the Chicago Theatre in 2010 and was delighted that he was making a long awaited return to his homeland. I was a bit disappointed that he wasn’t doing his stand up show, but the chance to see one of the biggest stars of United States comedy is always an exciting prospect. He’s changed a lot since his days as Bing Hitler, he’s a bit less cynical, but where certain performers are completely sanitised by the hosting of a talk show, he always gave the feeling that he was doing it his own way.
The newly opened Rose Theatre already seems like it’s going to be a succesful venue and every seat offered a brilliant view as Ferguson’s sidekick, who is no longer a Robot Skeleton, followed closely by our host steps on stage. He’s a brilliant host throughout and I don’t think there can be anyone better at getting off the cuff laughs.
His first guest tonight is the Irish comedian Tommy Tiernan and a fascinating conversation regarding America’s place as the centre of the entertainment world, and how it’s status is slowly eroding starts us off. I also enjoyed their talk of comedy influences, Tiernan’s being the great Lenny Bruce.
Second is Daniel Sloss, a massively popular figure on the Edinburgh Fringe. The most interesting discussion here involves their mutual hatred of Fringe reviewers. Both make excellent points around the nature of reviewers not being willing to pay their own money to see a show, not supporting the industry in anyway and completely disappearing after the three week festival comes to a close. Sloss is particularly strong in blasting reviewers who go out to crush newer comic’s confidence with purposely hurtful reviews. He’s someone who’s fully committed to his audience and to ensuring that comedy is as welcoming an environment as possible.
The final and funniest guest of the evening is Mark Forward. It’s some testement to him that in such a roasting hot room, an hour and a half into the show he’s managing to elicit huge laughs from the audience, even from this short appearance he comes across as someone with something different to say and I’m sure his full hour would be worth checking out.
This was a great chance to see a living comedy legend perform in his home country and I hope we’ll see him back here sooner rather than later. The two hours flew by and the discussions were fascinating. I only hope that they are able to get the radio show on air here at some point.