Looking back at Craig Ferguson … and James Corden

I watched James Corden’s last appearance on The Late Late Show, because my daughter is home from college, and she was watching it, on YouTube, of course. Corden was doing his final ever “Carpool Karaoke,” and Adele was his final guest.  

I was looking at her hands, and I am pretty sure she’s created by MidJourney.

AI art still just cannot get hands right. Adele may not be real. An impossibly perfect voice, inconsistent imaging, a backstory so amazing it must have been devised by ChatGPT, unrealistic hands. Think about it.

It is not a knock on Adele to surmise that she is really just above and beyond a regular mortal in every single way.

I mentioned Corden’s predecessor on the show, Craig Ferguson to my daughter. She had never even heard of him. He’s passed out of cultural memory.

But even in his prime, he never really won America’s heart the way Corden has, beyond the small cult of Craigites.

It’s funny; Craig, a former drug addict, alcoholic and punk rocker, is a terrific fellow who seemed on TV like a slightly menacing intellectual, a guy who would interrupt a joke to lecture the audience on James Polk’s achievements, then scold them for applauding. But James is a horrible person who comes off as a lovable teddy bear on TV. Not since Carson has a man’s public image been so unaligned with his genuine personality.

But he is friends with Adele! I hear you object. Any cold-hearted and utilitarian social climber would be friends with Adele, if he could be.

They may really be friends. It doesn’t matter to me! Let’s not argue about it. Indeed, I find Corden’s lovable shtick convincing as entertainment, and I don’t care at all who he really is.

But I’m still on Team Ferguson. His honest surliness is more in line with my own world view. James Corden’s retirement from late night has inspired me to catch up on Ferguson’s old shows, and I hope to write up some thoughts in the next few weeks.

His jokes are still funny, but his attitude is dated, and a lot of the jokes would be verboten today, but the energy level of the show is impossibly high. Something amazing happened back then, night after night.  

I wonder if James Corden will be tomorrow’s Craig Ferguson, all but forgotten by the next generation, or if he has something greater ahead of him.

More on the Ferguson era soon, in this space.


Content by Oblivioni. Article was written by Steven S. Drachman. Image, “James Corden and Craig Ferguson in the Oblivioni Desert of Obscurity,” by Kalyee Srithnam.

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