Craig Ferguson

Craig Ferguson
Craig Ferguson

Performing stand-up in New York City, 2007
Born 17 May 1962 (1962-05-17) (age 49)
Glasgow, Scotland
Medium Stand-up, television, film, music, books

American United States /

Scottish Scotland
Years active 1980–present
Genres Observational comedy, satire/political satire/news satire
Subject(s) Everyday life, popular culture, self-deprecation, politics
Spouse Anne Hogarth (1983–86) (divorced)
Sascha Corwin (1998–2004) (divorced) 1 child
Megan Wallace-Cunningham (2008–present) 1 child
Notable works and roles Host of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson
Nigel Wick on The Drew Carey Show
Glaswegian in One Foot in the Grave
Gobber in How to Train Your Dragon
Website The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson

Craig Ferguson (born 17 May 1962) is a Scottish U.S. television host, stand-up comedian, writer, actor, director, author, and producer. He is the host of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, an Emmy Award-nominated, Peabody Award-winning late-night talk show that airs on CBS. In addition to hosting that program and performing stand-up comedy, Ferguson has written two books: Between the Bridge and the River, a novel, and American on Purpose, a memoir. He became a citizen of the United States in 2008.[1]

Before his career as a late-night television host, Ferguson was best known in the United States for his role as the office boss, Nigel Wick, on The Drew Carey Show from 1996 to 2003. After that, he wrote and starred in three films, directing one of them.


Early life

Ferguson was born in the Stobhill Hospital in the Springburn district of Glasgow, Scotland to Robert and Janet Ferguson, and raised in nearby Cumbernauld, growing up "chubby and bullied".[2][3] When he was six months old, he and his family moved from their Springburn apartment to a council house in Cumbernauld. They lived there as Glasgow was re-housing many people following damage to the city from World War II.[3] Ferguson attended Muirfield Primary School and Cumbernauld High School.[4]

His first visit to the United States was as a teenager to visit an uncle who lived on Long Island, near New York City.[5] When he moved to New York City in 1983, he worked in construction in Harlem.[6][7] Ferguson later became a bouncer at a nightclub, Save the Robots.[8]

At age sixteen, Ferguson dropped out of Cumbernauld High School and began an apprenticeship to be an electronics technician at a local factory of American company Burroughs Corporation.[9]


British career

Ferguson's experience in entertainment began as a drummer in a rock band called Exposure. He then joined a punk band called The Bastards from Hell.[10] The band, later renamed "Dreamboys", and fronted by vocalist Peter Capaldi, performed regularly in Glasgow from 1980 to 1982.[11] Ferguson credits Capaldi for inspiring him to try comedy.[2]

After a nerve-wrecking, knee-knocking first appearance, he decided to create a character that was a "parody of all the über-patriotic native folk singers who seemed to infect every public performance in Scotland."[2] The character, "Bing Hitler" (actually coined by Capaldi as Ferguson started with the monogram of "Nico Fulton" but admittedly later stole the name for his "own nefarious ends"),[11] premiered in Glasgow, and subsequently became a hit at the 1986 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. A recording of his stage act as Bing Hitler was made at Glasgow's Tron Theatre and released in the 1980s;[12] a Bing Hitler monologue ("A Lecture for Burns Night") appears on the compilation cassette Honey at the Core.

Ferguson's first television appearance was as Confidence on BBC sitcom Red Dwarf during the episode "Confidence and Paranoia".

Ferguson made his starring television debut in The Craig Ferguson Show, a one-off comedy pilot for Granada Television, which co-starred Paul Whitehouse and Helen Atkinson-Wood.[13] This was broadcast throughout the UK on 4 March 1990, but was not made into a full series.

He has also found success in musical theatre. Beginning in 1991, he appeared on stage as Brad Majors in the London production of The Rocky Horror Show, alongside Anthony Head, who was playing Dr. Frank-N-Furter at the time.[citation needed] In 1994, Ferguson played Father MacLean in the highly controversial production of Bad Boy Johnny and the Prophets of Doom at the Union Chapel in London. The same year, he appeared again at the Edinburgh Fringe, as Oscar Madison in The Odd Couple, opposite Gerard Kelly as Felix and Kate Anthony as Gwendolin Pidgeon, who is now much better known as Aunty Pam in Coronation Street; the play, which was relocated to 1990s Glasgow, later toured Scotland.[14]

After enjoying success at the Edinburgh Festival, Ferguson appeared on Red Dwarf, STV's Hogmanay Show,[15] his own show 2000 Not Out, and the 1993 One Foot in the Grave Christmas special One Foot in the Algarve.

In 1993, Ferguson presented his own series on Scottish archaeology for Scottish Television entitled Dirt Detective.[16] He travelled throughout the country examining archaeological history, including Skara Brae and Paisley Abbey.

U.S. career

After cancellation of his show The Ferguson Theory, Ferguson moved to Los Angeles in 1994. His first U.S. role was as baker Logan McDonough on the short-lived 1995 ABC comedy Maybe This Time, which starred Betty White and Marie Osmond.

His breakthrough in the U.S. came when he was cast on The Drew Carey Show as the title character's boss, Mr. Wick, a role that he played from 1996 to 2003. He played the role with an over-the-top posh English accent "to make up for generations of English actors doing crap Scottish accents." In his comedy special "A Wee Bit O' Revolution", he specifically called out James Doohan's portrayal of Montgomery Scott on Star Trek as the foundation of his "revenge". (At the end of one episode, though, Ferguson broke the fourth wall and began talking to the audience at home in his regular Scottish accent.) His character was memorable for his unique methods of laying employees off, almost always "firing Johnson", the most common last name of the to-be-fired workers.[17] Even after leaving the show in 2003, he remained a recurring character on the series for the last two seasons, and was part of the 2-part series finale in 2004.

During production of The Drew Carey Show, Ferguson devoted his off-time as a cast member to writing, working in his trailer on set in-between shooting his scenes. He wrote and starred in three films: The Big Tease, Saving Grace, and I'll Be There, which he also directed and for which he won the Audience Award for Best Film at the Aspen, Dallas and Valencia film festivals. He was named Best New Director at the Napa Valley Film Festival. These were among other scripts that, "... in the great tradition of the movie business, about half a dozen that I got paid a fortune for but never got made."[18] His other acting credits in films include Niagara Motel, Lenny the Wonder Dog, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, Chain of Fools, Born Romantic, The Ugly Truth, How to Train Your Dragon, Kick-Ass and Winnie the Pooh.

Ferguson has been touring the United States and Canada with a stand-up comedy show, and performed at Carnegie Hall on 23 October 2010.

The Late Late Show

In December 2004, it was announced that Ferguson would be the successor to Craig Kilborn on CBS's The Late Late Show. His first show as the regular host aired on 3 January 2005. By May 2008, Ben Alba, an American television historian and an authority on U.S. talk shows, said Ferguson "has already made his mark, taking the TV monologue to new levels with an underlying story. But he is only just starting ... He is making up his own rules: It's the immigrant experience."[17]

The Late Late Show averaged 2.0 million viewers in its 2007 season, compared with 2.5 million for Late Night with Conan O'Brien.[19] In April 2008, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson beat Late Night with Conan O'Brien for weekly ratings (1.88 million to 1.77 million) for the first time since the two shows went head-to-head with their respective hosts.[20]

By the end of 2009, Craig Ferguson topped Jimmy Fallon in the ratings with Ferguson getting a 1.8 rating/6 share and Fallon receiving a 1.6 rating/6 share.[21]

Ferguson's success on the show has led at least one "television insider" to say he is the heir apparent to take over David Letterman's role as host of The Late Show.[17]

Television and appearances

Craig Ferguson has made guest appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Rachael Ray, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, The Howard Stern Show, The Daily Show, The View, Loveline, Real Time with Bill Maher, The Soup, The Talk and The Dennis Miller Show. He also co-hosted Live with Regis & Kelly with Kelly Ripa.

On 4 January 2009 Ferguson was a celebrity player on Million Dollar Password.

Ferguson in April 2008

In 2009, Ferguson made a cameo live-action appearance in the episode "We Love You, Conrad" on Family Guy. Ferguson hosted the 32nd annual People's Choice Awards on 10 January 2006.[22] TV Guide magazine printed a "Cheers" (Cheers and Jeers section) for appearing on his own show that same evening.[citation needed] From 2007 to 2010, Ferguson hosted the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular on 4 July, broadcast nationally by CBS. Ferguson was the featured entertainer at the 26 April 2008 White House Correspondents' Association dinner in Washington, DC.[23]

Ferguson co-presented the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama with Brooke Shields in 2008. He has done voice work in cartoons, including being the voice of Barry's evil alter-ego in the "With Friends Like Steve's" episode of American Dad; in Freakazoid! as Roddy MacStew, Freakazoid's mentor; and on Buzz Lightyear of Star Command as the robot vampire NOS-4-A2. Most recently, he was the voice of Susan the boil on Futurama, which was a parody of Scottish singer Susan Boyle. He makes stand-up appearances in Las Vegas and New York City. He headlined in the Just for Laughs festival in Montreal and in October 2008 Ferguson taped his stand up show in Boston for a Comedy Central special entitled A Wee Bit o' Revolution, which aired on 22 March 2009.

British television comedy drama Doc Martin was based on a character from Ferguson's film Saving Grace – with Ferguson getting writing credits for 12 episodes.[24]

On 6 November 2009 Ferguson appeared as himself in a SpongeBob SquarePants special titled SpongeBob's Truth or Square.[25] He hosted Discovery Channel's 23rd season of Shark Week in 2010.

Ferguson briefly appeared in Toby Keith's "Red Solo Cup" music video released on 10 October 2011. [26]


Ferguson's novel Between the Bridge and the River (ISBN 9780811853750) was published on 10 April 2006. Ferguson appeared at the Los Angeles Festival of Books, as well as other author literary events. "This book could scare them", Ferguson said. "The sex, the violence, the dream sequences and the iconoclasm. I think a lot of people are uncomfortable with that. I understand that. It was very uncomfortable to write some of it."[27] Publishers Weekly called it "a tour de force of cynical humor and poignant reverie, a caustic yet ebullient picaresque that approaches the sacred by way of the profane."[citation needed] His novel Between the Bridge and the River is dedicated to his son and to his grandfather, Adam. Ferguson revealed in an interview that he is writing a sequel to the book, to be titled "The Sphynx of the Mississippi".[28] He also stated in a 2006 interview with David Letterman that he intends for the book to be the first in a trilogy.[29]

Ferguson signed a deal with HarperCollins to publish his memoirs.[30] The book, entitled American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot, focuses on "how and why [he] became an American" and covers his years as a punk rocker, dancer, bouncer and construction worker as well as the rise of his career in Hollywood as an actor and comic. It went on sale 22 September 2009 in the United States.[31][32] On 1 December 2010 the audiobook version was nominated for a Best Spoken Word Album Grammy.[33]

In July 2009, Jackie Collins was a guest on The Late Late Show to promote her new book Married Lovers. Collins said that a character in her book, Don Verona, was based on Ferguson because she was such a fan of him and his show.[34]

Personal life

As mentioned on The Late Late Show on 3 August 2009, Ferguson holds an FAA Private Pilot's License issued 31 July 2009.[35] Ferguson announced on the 8 April 2011 broadcast that he is pursuing an instrument rating.

Ferguson is also a fan of Scottish football team Partick Thistle F.C.[11] and also of the British television show Doctor Who.

Ferguson has three tattoos: his latest, the Join, or Die political cartoon on his right forearm;[36][37] a Ferguson family crest with the Latin motto Dulcius ex asperis ("Sweeter out of [or from] difficulty") on his upper right arm in honour of his father;[38] and the Ingram family crest on his upper left arm in honour of his mother. He has often stated that his Join, or Die tattoo is to signal his patriotism.[36]


In an episode of The Late Late Show that aired 8 December 2008, a sombre Ferguson talked about his mother, Janet (3 August 1933 – 1 December 2008). He ended the program by playing her favourite song, "Rivers of Babylon" by Boney M.[39]

Ferguson has two sisters (one older and one younger) and one older brother.[40] His elder sister's name is Janice and his brother's name is Scott. His younger sister, Lynn Ferguson Tweddle, is also a successful comedienne, presenter, and actress, perhaps most widely known as the voice of Mac in the 2000 stop-motion animation film Chicken Run. She is currently a writer on The Late Late Show.

Ferguson has married three times and divorced twice as a result of what he describes as "relationship issues". His first marriage was to Anne Hogarth from 1983 to 1986, during which time they lived in New York. From his second marriage (to Sascha Corwin, founder and proprietor of Los Angeles' SpySchool), he has one son, Milo Hamish Ferguson, born in 2001. He and Corwin share custody of Milo, and live near each other in Los Angeles. On 21 December 2008, Ferguson married art dealer Megan Wallace-Cunningham in a private ceremony on her family's farm in Chester, Vermont.[41] Ferguson announced 14 July 2010 on Twitter that they were expecting a child. He wrote: "Holy crackers! Mrs F is pregnant. How did that happen? ... oh yeah I know how. Another Ferguson arrives in 2011. The world trembles."[42] The child, a boy named Liam James, was born 31 January 2011.[43]

Alcohol problems

A recovering alcoholic, Ferguson has been sober since 18 February 1992.[44] Because of this, he declared he wouldn't mock Britney Spears' much-publicized alcohol problems in 2007.[45] He said he had considered committing suicide on Christmas Day 1991, but when offered a drink by a friend for celebrating the holiday, he was distracted from jumping off Tower Bridge in London as he had planned.[2]


Holding dual citizenship, he is both a naturalized citizen of the United States and a British citizen.

During 2007, Ferguson, who at the time held only British citizenship, used The Late Late Show as a forum for seeking honorary citizenship from every state in the U.S. He has received honorary citizenship from Nebraska, Arkansas, Virginia, Montana, North Dakota, New Jersey, Tennessee, South Carolina, South Dakota, Nevada, Alaska, Texas, Wyoming, Pennsylvania and Indiana, and was "commissioned" as an admiral in the tongue-in-cheek Nebraska Navy.[46] Governors Jon Corzine (New Jersey), John Hoeven (North Dakota), Mark Sanford (South Carolina), Mike Rounds (South Dakota), Rick Perry (Texas), Sarah Palin (Alaska)[47] and Jim Gibbons (Nevada) sent letters to him that made him an honorary citizen of their respective states. He received similar honors from various towns and cities, including Ozark, Arkansas; Hazard, Kentucky; and Greensburg, Pennsylvania.

Ferguson became an American citizen on 1 February 2008 [1] and broadcast the taking of his citizenship test as well as his swearing in on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.


Year Title Role Notes
1992 The Bogie Man
1998 Modern Vampires Richard
1999 The Big Tease Crawford Mackenzie Writer
2000 Chain of Fools Melander Stevens
2000 Born Romantic Frankie
2000 Saving Grace Matthew Stewart Writer
2002 Life Without Dick Jared O'Reilly
2002 Prendimi l'anima (The Soul Keeper) Richard Fraser
2003 I'll Be There Paul Kerr Director, Writer
2004 Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events Person of Indeterminate Gender
2004 Lenny the Wonder Dog Dr. Wagner
2005 Vampire Bats Fisherman
2006 Niagara Motel Phillie
2007 Trust Me Ted Truman
2008 Craig Ferguson: A Wee Bit O' Revolution
2009 The Ugly Truth Himself
2010 The Hero of Color City
2010 How to Train Your Dragon Gobber Voice only
2010 Kick-Ass Himself
2011 Winnie the Pooh Owl Voice only
2011 Totally Framed Jeffrey Stewart
2012 Brave Lord Macintosh Voice only
2012 My Fair Lady David Post-production
2014 How to Train Your Dragon 2 Gobber Voice only
Year Title Role Notes
1988 Red Dwarf Confidence Episode: Confidence and Paranoia
1989 The Big Gig Himself Regular Comic
1993 One Foot in the Grave Glaswegian beach bully Christmas Special "One foot in the Algarve"
1994 The Ferguson Theory Himself Host
1995–1996 Maybe This Time Logan McDonough 18 episodes
1995–1997 Freakazoid! Roddy MacStew 7 episodes
1996–2004 The Drew Carey Show Nigel Wick 170 episodes
2000 Buzz Lightyear of Star Command NOS 4 A2 Voice only, 5 episodes
2005 Life as We Know It Oliver Davies 1 episode
2005–present The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson Himself Host
2006 American Dad! Evil Barry Voice only, Episode: With Friends Like Steve's
2009 Family Guy Himself Episode: We Love You, Conrad
2009 SpongeBob's Truth or Square Himself TV movie
2010 Futurama Susan Boil Episode: Attack of the Killer App
2010 Shark Week Himself Host
2010 Legend of the Boneknapper Dragon Gobber Voice only, TV short film


Comedy specials


  • Live At The Tron (as Bing Hitler). Jammy Records, 1986. Catalogue number JRLP 861.


  1. ^ a b "Craig Ferguson passes citizenship test". USA Today. Retrieved 7 April 2007. 
  2. ^ a b c d Andy Borowitz (1 October 2009). "The Scotsman". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 November 2009. 
  3. ^ a b Ferguson, American on Purpose, p. 14.
  4. ^ Ferguson, American on Purpose, p. 31.
  5. ^ "Craig Ferguson Eulogizes his Father". YouTube. Retrieved 17 August 2008. 
  6. ^ Tucker, Ken (October 12, 2007), "Great Scot", Entertainment Weekly (958),,,20144925,00.html 
  7. ^ Ferguson, American on Purpose, p. 110.
  8. ^ Ferguson, American on Purpose, pp. 112-113.
  9. ^ Ferguson, American on Purpose, pp. 66-68.
  10. ^ "Craig Ferguson". NNDB. Soylent Communications. Retrieved 22 October 2008. 
  11. ^ a b c Ferguson, Craig (September 2009). American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot. ISBN 0061719544. 
  12. ^ "Live At The Tron Discogs entry". Retrieved 21 February 2010. 
  13. ^ "The Craig Ferguson Show: listing at imdb". Retrieved 6 November 2009. 
  14. ^ Carter, Bill (29 September 2009). "Late Night Transplant Looks Back At His Path". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 November 2009.  "We did it exactly the same except for soccer references instead of baseball, and we brought down the house every night."
  15. ^ "Craig Ferguson stand-up comedy clip". Scotland on TV. SMG Productions. Retrieved 23 October 2008. 
  16. ^ "Craig Ferguson in Dirt Detective". Scotland on TV. SMG Productions. Retrieved 22 October 2008. 
  17. ^ a b c Craig Ferguson 'may be next Letterman'. The Sunday Times.
  18. ^ Conversations with Michael Eisner
  19. ^ "Jay and Conan Rule The Late-Night Week, Stretching Their Year-Ago Leads". NBC Universal. Retrieved 18 May 2007. [dead link]
  20. ^ "Ferguson beats Conan in ratings for 1st time". Archived from the original on 12 May 2008. Retrieved 3 May 2008. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Ferguson to host U.S. "People's Choice Awards" show". The America's Intelligence Wire. 26 October 2005. Retrieved 1 June 2008. 
  23. ^ "Bush pokes fun at his successors". BBC News. 27 April 2008. Retrieved 27 April 2008. 
  24. ^ "Craig Ferguson (I)". Retrieved 30 September 2009. 
  25. ^ "SpongeBob and Sandy to Tie the Knot". 
  26. ^ "Toby Releases Star-Studded “Stupid,” “Perfect” Song". Retrieved 19 October 2011. 
  27. ^ Steinberg, Jacques (4 April 2006). "From Craig Ferguson, a Novel Born of Literary Rambles". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 October 2009. 
  28. ^
  29. ^ "Letterman interviews Ferguson about Novel, 2006". 
  30. ^ "Craig Ferguson set to pen memoirs." Variety. May 2008.
  31. ^ "American on Purpose: Book Description". Retrieved 2009. 
  32. ^
  33. ^ Retrieved on 2010-12-2.
  34. ^ "Episode dated 21 July 2009". The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. CBS. 21 July 2009.
  35. ^ "FAA Airmen Certification Database". Federal Aviation Administration. 
  36. ^ a b "Episode dated 22 September 2009". The View. ABC. 22 September 2009.
  37. ^ "The Rallying Cry of the Robot Skeleton Army". tweetphoto. 11 February 2010. 
  38. ^ American on Purpose, p. 259
  39. ^ "Episode dated 8 December 2008". The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. 8 December 2008.
  40. ^ "Craig Ferguson Biography". Yahoo!. Retrieved 24 April 2007. 
  41. ^ "Craig Ferguson Biography". Retrieved 6 January 2009. 
  42. ^
  43. ^ "It's a Boy for Craig Ferguson".,,20463119,00.html. Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  44. ^ "Craig Ferguson interview". CBS News. 20 February 2007. 
  45. ^ "Craig Ferguson Refuses To Do Spears Jokes". CBS News. 21 February 2007. 
  46. ^ "Nebraska honors Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson", AccessMyLibrary
  47. ^

External links

Media offices
Preceded by
Craig Kilborn
Host of The Late Late Show (CBS TV series)
Succeeded by

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