Worth Watching (Again): Craig Ferguson’s Heart of Humor

Have you ever taken jabs at someone who is already down? I know I have.  It doesn’t take long before our conscience bites back at us for our thoughtless, biting remarks.

On the occasion of Justin Bieber’s recent arrest, NPR’s Mark Memmot explained why he wouldn’t be piling on to making fun of Bieber — by pointing to a late night comedian’s confession as an act of conscience.

Craig Ferguson, like many comedians, is no stranger to prostituting himself for cheap laughters.   Back in 2007 in his 12-minute heart-to-heart on CBS’ The Late Late Show, he reexamined the purpose and power of humor and the way he himself had been misusing comedy.

Comedy should contain a certain amount of joy. It should be about attacking the powerful people, attacking the politicians and the Trumps and the other blowhards. It shouldn’t be about going after vulnerable people.

Ferguson swore off jokes about young, trouble-prone stars like Britney Spears.

She’s got two kids; she’s 25 years old; she’s a baby herself.

Drawing from his own struggles and weaknesses, Ferguson gave a heartfelt confession and expressed his compassionate resolve not to beat up on those who have already fallen down.  He recalled how his own battle with alcoholism that had almost cost him his life.

When I got sober, I was a bit older than Britney. I was 29. And Christmas morning before I got sober, I had been on an all-night bender, and I woke up in a room above a bar. …  I woke up on Christmas morning, and you know, I was soaked in my own urine. At least I think it was mine. I can’t be certain. … I thought, you know, I can’t do this anymore. I’m going to kill myself today …

Craig Ferguson has certainly given me much to laugh about these past years as I take breaks from my all-nighters during studies, but he has also challenged me to laugh from the heart rather than merely expelling hot air.

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