The wonderfully brash Craig Ferguson is at it again, and it’s about time. We’ve missed him since he left late-night TV. But fans of his brilliant improvisational forays into adult humor can catch him on Netflix in his latest special Tickle Fight. It’s a brilliant show featuring endearingly insulting Ferguson at his best.
Netflix describes Ferguson as “cheeky”, but he’s oh, so much more than that. He knows how to walk the thin line between tantalizing and raunchy quite well. He does it all the time. It’s just the way he does it…. just a second over the line….and snap back to the safe zone! That’s the essence of his comedic genius.
Fans will note that Ferguson is looking well. He appears to have put on just a few pounds since his late-night days, and we get to see him dressed casually. He’s looking relaxed in dark slacks, black button shirt and sneakers. His sleeves are short, so we get to see his forearm tattoos. They will surprise fans who’ve only seen him hosting late night TV in his suits and ties. He’s sporting a new hair cut and a new beard with a mustache on his handsome Glaswegian face. Overall, it’s great to see him relaxed and saying exactly what he’s thinking. He’s always thinking. You can see it in his eyes.
When Ferguson left the Late Late Show in 2014, fans simply intuited that the irreverent Scotsman always had more to say than he did during the show. It was his calculated implications which left us giggling. We figured we knew what he was thinking, and he knew we thought it. It’s genius to leave unsaid thoughts dangling. In fact, many of the reviewers who’ve quoted Ferguson’s shtick from Tickle Fight haven’t captured the guts of his humor. Commenting on specific spots with explanations doesn’t do justice to how very funny the actual delivery is. Better to leave Ferguson his own moments of “Let me explain that…” and go along for the ride. Writing what he said pales in contrast to hearing the way he said it.
Tickle Fight is a clever special. It’s amazing entertainment; experiencing Ferguson weave his way through his personal blend of neutral and hot-button topics. He’s completely comfortable with his own sexuality, and everyone else’s. Anyone uncomfortable with ribald humor won’t be so comfortable, though. He’s freed from the constraints of traditional network television, and he’s ribbing political viewpoints, social concerns, and sharing personal anecdotes with relish. Leave it to Ferguson to poke jabs at politics, President Trump, newscasts, unusual Japanese toilets, magicians, jokes, and drunk stories with equal abandon. If it’s titillating, amusing, repulsive, disgusting, exhilarating, shocking, heartfelt, frightening, or absurd, Ferguson will take it on for a second … or two.
We love his incredible talent with accents and languages. He morphs from Italian to French, to Southern American, to formal British and back to his own Scottish brogue in a heartbeat. Each morph is impeccably on point, and his stream of consciousness, is both free and calculated. He knows what he’s doing and it’s hysterical. He just can’t help himself. We love his complete enjoyment of physicality. He’s not afraid of making a fool of himself, either. Tickle Fight is all the above and more. It’s pell-mell Ferguson. Give it a go. See for yourself.