Sunday, March 29, 2009

Craig Ferguson: A Wee Bit O' Revolution
Review by Sombrero Grande

If you're a big fan of The Late Late Show and a fan of Craig Ferguson, you'll probably enjoy A Wee Bit O' Revolution, Ferguson's first stand-up comedy DVD. If, however, you're not already a fan of his, this DVD will likely do little to make you one.

Ferguson's stand-up act presented here is reminiscent of the type of comedy performed by a late night talk show host, not so much in terms of the material but in the delivery. For a late night TV host, riling up his audience is a good way to ensure that the sleepy home viewers stay interested. From the first second Ferguson appears on stage at the Wilbur Theatre in Boston he immediately begins overly playing to the live audience, attempting to rile them up with a lot of excited shouting about the Wilbur itself, which is fine in theory but it goes on for too long for any DVD viewer. Ferguson panders to the audience throughout the performance, elongating jokes and restating punch-lines to the point of home-viewer-exhaustion merely because he gets a good reaction from the theater crowd.

One of his jokes is that in Scotland, "'damp' is a color," which is funny, but then he belabors it exhaustively when the statement elicits particularly strong laughter from the audience. Ferguson pauses and waits for the laughs to die down, then continues, "Oh, those are nice pants but do you have them in 'damp'?" Again here he pauses for laughs before continuing, "Hmm, I like your car. I think I'd like one of those in 'damp'." As a result, his "damp is a color" gag ends up lasting almost a minute for a one-line joke. The audience in the theater continues to wail like a stuck laugh-track while the DVD viewer checks his or her watch and awaits Ferguson moving on to the next joke.

Ferguson's performance itself isn't bad, mind you, it's just peppered with moments like this that seem to drag on a little too long. I actually had quite a few chuckles throughout A Wee Bit O' Revolution, but no big laughs and I didn't enjoy it enough to really recommend to anyone but Ferguson's biggest fans.

A few of the topics covered in Ferguson's A Wee Bit O' Revolution, such as how "crazy" Ferguson's mother is, seemed rather pedestrian and familiar. We've all heard other comedians joke about their mother telling them that if they made a goofy face it would stay that way, or that someone will "poke their eye out" while playing, so these bits really did nothing for me.

Other topics covered in A Wee Bit O' Revolution include recreational drug use, gay pornography and a surprisingly large section of material about how surprisingly large he claims his penis is. Suffice to say, the material in this DVD is quite a bit more raunchy than what you'll usually hear Ferguson discussing on The Late Late Show. And he doesn't hold back the cursing either; these are things to be aware of in case you're used to a "cleaned-up, network TV" version of Craig Ferguson.

There are two bonus features on the disc: an interview with Ferguson and footage of his Fourth of July speech at Faneuil Hall. The interview is actually quite interesting, though a wee bit long. In it, Ferguson talks about America and his enthusiasm as a new citizen is surprisingly contagious. At a time when most of the "spin" one hears in the media about our country is rather negative, it's refreshingly pleasant to hear Ferguson gush about his love of America and his excitement of his newly earned citizenship. In fact, his patriotism is downright contagiously inspiring at times. I suspect that Ferguson fans will actually get more enjoyment out of this interview feature than his stand-up on the disc.

A Wee Bit O' Revolution is a wee bit light on big laughs. It's sad to say, but perhaps it would have been better if this Revolution had not been televised.


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