Most nights, a select few across the United States manage to stay awake long enough to enjoy Craig Ferguson’s accented humor on CBS’s The Late Late Show. As a long-time host of the late-night talk show, Ferguson is used to being second-fiddle, accepting whatever viewers he can get after his show anticlimactically follows the prime-time-slotted David Letterman.
Still, with his brutish sense of humor and his relatively “sexy” English accent, Ferguson has built quite a fan base who appreciates him for who he is — someone who knows how to speak just enough to entertain audiences but not speak so much as to scare anyone off.
There are the moments he tries to go overboard, and somehow, even then, his approach works, as Ferguson’s well-timed bold statements give him the edge he needs to keep him comically relevant in a saturated industry full of has-beens and quickly disappearing stars.
In chatting with Buzzine about his supporting role in the upcoming DreamWorks production of How to Train Your Dragon, Ferguson gave us a glimpse into how he can blend in with the crowd but still make an over-the-top comedic statement without sounding too contrived or disingenuous.
“No one with a Scottish accent says Ger-AAHRD — it’s Ger-ERD!” he mockingly told Buzzine how Gerard Butler, the film’s lead voice who was within earshot of the late-night talk show host, should pronounce his name.
“Oh, then there was the recording session we did together,” Ferguson said, looking toward Butler and instigating a response but hearing none — though Jay Baruchel, the other lead talent in the film who was also nearby, chimed in with his two cents about his two male co-stars.
“Bathtub time with the two of them is unbelievable,” the admittedly nasally Baruchel stated.
Ferguson responded, looking toward Butler, “When we were done, it was always like, ‘We have a movie to make.’”
Oh yeah, that — a movie produced by DreamWorks called How to Train Your Dragon. Based upon Ferguson’s already off-the-cuff chat with Buzzine, one would think he has completely forgotten about the very purpose of this interview. Then again, Ferguson emphatically holds his ground in stating he knows just how much to say, and nothing he ever says is too much — especially his speaking lines in major film productions.
See, Ferguson truly believes he is like a rack of spices. He knows how much of him needs to be added to any given situation in order to perfectly bring out the truest of flavors in whatever he is involved with. However, put too much of Ferguson into something…well, let us just say it may not be a pretty sight (as the comedian aptly contends).
By example, Ferguson told Buzzine how his role in How to Train Your Dragon was the ideal portion of the English-accented spice.
“My signature thing is I am usually in crap. So to be in this film is all too grand for me,” he sheepishly said. “I was just happy that I did not say enough [lines] to ruin [the movie]. They (the directors and writers) just judged it right. It’s like spices — you put just the right amount, it’s terrific; but you put too much, it’s terrible. So it had just the right amount of me.”
With such a response, Ferguson appears ripe for the taking in asking him to delve deeper into the production and how his humor made the film even more entertaining than it could have been.
Instead, the comedian felt he contributed just enough of himself to this interview and ended it with a strikingly ambitious and resoundingly bold statement: “I hope to take over The Tonight Show from Jay Leno.”
Better he try his hand at late-night than at taming and training dragons. He left that job to the likes of Baruchel, Butler and America Ferrera, his fellow co-stars and lead voices in How to Train Your Dragon.
To see whether Ferguson was just as off-the-cuff in the DreamWorks production as he was in this interview, be sure to check out How to Train Your Dragon — preferably in 3D — after it opens in theaters nationwide this weekend.