It may seem like a big jump for Craig Ferguson to go from his 10-year stint hosting The Late Late Show to a daytime game show, Celebrity Name Game, now in its third season. But according to a November 2016 interview with Wisconsin Gazette, Ferguson sees a parallel between the two. It comes down to him, as the host.
“The truth is the shows are kind of the same because I’m kind of the same. When you do a talk show, of course you’ve got to talk to people. In a game show, you’re playing a dumb game. It allows people who are not necessarily good conversationalists to play around on TV.”
By taking on the role of a game show host, he follows in the footsteps of his comedy pal Drew Carey, who hosts The Price is Right. Ferguson was part of the Drew Carey Show cast before starting his late night comedy program. In a nod to the Bob Newhart Show, the Late Late Show series finale showed Ferguson waking up in bed with Carey, with the talk show host complaining of a strange dream he’d had that he spent 10 years as a talk show host with a robot skeleton. Bob Newhart made a guest appearance as the person, in Ferguson’s dream, inside the horse costume.
Craig Ferguson signed off from his late night show in December of 2014, amid speculation he’d done so out of spite after the vacancy left by a departing David Letterman was filled by Stephen Colbert. As Ferguson told Variety that year, he’d already planned to leave when Letterman made his announcement.
“Ten years is a very long time in one job — for me. I wanted to leave the show before I stopped enjoying it. That was my goal. I didn’t want it to be a chore….The whole idea is that show business should have some adventure to it, I think. It’s not about knowing what you’re doing day in and day out, year after year.”
“I had no desire — none — to do that job.”
Despite the fact that Celebrity Name Game has been met with great success — Ferguson has taken home two Emmys so far and the show is seen in two-episode blocks at all times of day in various markets — the comedian told The Daily Beast last year that he does not believe he’ll be doing the job forever. He even admitted to some moments of disbelief that he’s even performing the role at all.
“What is this? I’ve got on a big, loud suit and I’m saying, ‘Oh, one more point for this team!’ And I’m like, what’s that about?”
“But the key to it is this: I don’t feel settled into anything. This is something I’m doing now. Will I do game shows forever? [Absolutely] not. Will I do it for a little while? Yeah. It’s easy and fun and I make a little money.”
If Ferguson’s resume is any indication, he won’t have any difficulties finding a new gig once he decides he’s done with Celebrity Name Game. He started in entertainment in the 1980s as a punk band drummer. He was counseled to try acting while working as a bartender in Glasgow. He worked in comedy in the U.K. before coming to the U.S. a little more than 20 years ago. Many years before his guest spot on Hot in Cleveland, he co-starred with Betty White in Maybe This Time, which also starred Marie Osmond and Dane Cook and lasted for 18 episodes in 1995. He published a novel called Between the Bridge and the River in 2006.
He told The Daily Beast he’ll do stand up “as long as they let me.” His website currently lists an upcoming date in Dallas in February, and his show in Milwaukee, originally scheduled for November 4, has been re-scheduled for April 8.
[Featured Image by Jerod Harris/Getty Images]