Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Craig Ferguson's Puppets

In my last post, I told you about my sadness at Craig Ferguson's imminent departure from the Late Late Show. Tuning into the show every night was like stumbling on an open house party at a neighbor's house, and late night will sorely miss that energy.

I would like to illustrate why I love this show with a few Top Ten lists (borrowing, of course, a concept from another show).

Borrowing a concept from another show, I would like to illustrate why I love this show so much using a few Top Ten Lists (although the the entries are in no particular order). To begin with here, are ten of my favorite cold openings featuring Craig's cast of hand puppets (a cast that seemed to grow as the concept went on):

So one night I tune into The Late Late Show and opening the show, I see a white rabbit puppet talking to the camera in squeaky cockney, an empty set behind him. I think that's when I officially realized that the party had begun. As much as I enjoyed the sketches written for the show (a particular favorite was Michael Caine at Hogwarts), there was something so audacious about a host opening his network show with only a white rabbit hand puppet talking to the audience (Craig doing the puppet's cartoon voice) that I was spellbound. And when he did it again and again (with a monkey, or a unicorn, or a puppet he referred to as a crocodile/alligator) I was a goner. 

Kronos, King of the Monkey People, is another puppet that has made a number of appearances on the show. With his firm, booming voice he professes to being on the verge of taking over the planet. The adorable elevator operator outfit (or is he a bellhop) he wears, however, makes it hard to believe that he'll succeed in these plans.

Kronos made an appearance in a rare multi-puppet opening bit featuring a dinosaur and a shark singing "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" before they started a toothy make-out session. 

I mean, come on!! What other show offered that?

Another toothy denizen of the Late Late Show puppet brigade is Wavy the crocodile/alligator. Fresh from the bayou, he apparently has an English cousin whose longer torso is perfect for High Def.

Wavy not only has an English cousin, but also has an English girlfriend, who he introduced to the audience. She seems a shy, retiring type, though I suppose one would be when dating a crocodile/alligator. (This is one of my favorite bits)

In what seemed like a shark week of his very own, Craig was having relationship problems with his shark. Breaking up is hard to do, especially with a shark.

But it turns out, that the shark has quite a personality.

The lip synching to songs became more elaborate as time went on and began to incorporate staffmembers, but there's something so right about puppets "lip" synching.

And speaking of elaborate, here's a little unicorn joined by friends to sing "The Lonely Goatherd."

Not to be outdone, however, is Kronos, King of the Monkey People, a monkey of many talents.

As an honorable mention, it seems only fair that Craig should have a puppet all his own.

There are any number of other puppet bits floating around out there on YouTube and I highly recommend an hour of surfing.

My next post will discuss the more elaborate cold open lip synching.

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