Comedy Central // 2011 // 65 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // October 26th, 2011
If you aren't offended, you weren't listening.
Craig Ferguson started his stint in America on the beloved comedy The Drew Carey Show. After his sitcom run, Ferguson quietly slipped into talk show host mode replacing Craig Kilborn on The Late Late Show, interviewing all kinds of Hollywood celebrities, musicians, and notable personalities. Ferguson returns to his roots with the stand up special Craig Ferguson: Does This Need to be Said?, featuring nothing more than his biting Scottish wit and a microphone. Covering a vast array of topics -- including his struggle with drugs, rock and roll, and celebrity -- Ferguson releases an unrelenting barrage of comedic insults all over the stage from which the Nashville, Tennessee audience may never recover.
Craig Ferguson: Does This Need to be Said? is an hour-long special that, frankly, isn't all that special. Ferguson has become a famous late night talk show host with an acerbic Scottish sense of the absurd and a nice way of mingling with his celebrity guests. Fair enough. I've seen his show a few times and have found him to be an amusing personality, but little else. If you're not a fan, I don't think this special is going to do much to change your opinion.
To start with, Ferguson likes swearing. A lot. It's one of the first things he talks about at the start of this rant. He's upset that he can't swear on his network show (Poor guy. How does he live a fulfilling life?) and is happy to break loose with more F-bombs than Joe Pesci on a Goodfellas bender. What Ferguson doesn't seem to realize is that swearing in and of itself isn't funny; you have to do something with the words for them to have any useful impact. Ferguson just swears to swear, which amounts to diminishing returns. Look, just because you can curse outside your workplace doesn't mean everyone needs to near it. I wasn't offended by Ferguson's potty mouth as much as I was bored by it. I can say most of those words myself -- Poop! Fart! Makin' Whoopee! Slut! -- so what do I care if he can, too? ((Yawn)).
There are some amusing bits in this special, most notably when Ferguson discusses his checkered heavy metal past which includes three marriages and a stint in rehab. It's in those moments that his stories (and this special is one long story) take on a bit more resonance and bittersweet poignancy. Otherwise, Ferguson's shtick feels like a warmed over version of almost every other comedian out there. He makes jokes about women, relationships, celebrities (including his boss David Letterman and that sex scandal), his accent, and his work. While some of his observations are amusing, overall this feels like a by-the-numbers comedy routine that isn't quite as witty as one might hope. Ferguson never touches on anything that has any bite or sting to it. The entire time I waited for him to really lay into someone or something and...it just never happened.
The most depressing moment is when Ferguson actually lip syncs a famous Britney Spears song -- all the way through -- while an African American man in a white tux and a white guy in a Village People outfit dance around him. The joke gets old very quickly, making me wonder exactly who thought this was would be a humorous way to end his show. Ferguson? Ferguson's producers? Comedy Central? Either way, it's not a very good bit and solidifies the fact that this is, at best, a very mediocre stand up comedy special.
Craig Ferguson: Does This Need to be Said? is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Except for a dance number, the show is just Ferguson standing on stage telling jokes, so the transfer doesn't really show off much pizzazz. Colors and black levels are all solid and clear, making for an adequate presentation. The soundtrack is presented in 2.0 Stereo, also relatively unimpressive. No alternate tracks or subtitles are included.
The bonus features are surprisingly slim, with only a short "Craig Arrives in Nashville" feturette and a Fan Rap that's about as entertaining as it sounds.
When it comes to interviewing the latest star hocking their product, Ferguson is a personable guy. But as a comedian, he comes up short. If you're a fan, Craig Ferguson: Does This Need to be Said? may be right up your alley. Otherwise, take a couple of caffeine pills and stick around for his late night hosting gig.
Poop! Fart! Makin' Whoopee! Slut!
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Comedy Central
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 65 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson