Craig Ferguson gets French lessons as 'Late Late Show' visits Paris
He recalls the trip as "fantastic. We shot five shows in four days, and I thought we wouldn't have enough time. We probably got enough for six shows or even more, so we're throwing out a lot of stuff, which is nice but heartbreaking at the same time. I'm cautiously optimistic that we have something quite special here."
Still, Ferguson allows the schedule "really was crazy. We were doing 18-hour days, and we went everywhere, but we were in Paris, and the sun was shining, and (frequent Ferguson guest)
With the work logistics involved in getting from the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre to Notre Dame Cathedral and the Palace of Versailles for taping, local authorities "were extremely uncooperative in places," Ferguson reports, "but you've gotta expect that. It's France. We just kind of bustled past it or ran away from the cops. We did what we could." Also the voice of Owl in the current Disney movie
"We don't have any money!" he says. "We couldn't get a theater in Paris to do a show, but I thought, 'What does it matter if you do it in a theater anyway?' Once you're indoors, everywhere is Burbank, so I said, 'Let's just go and do it guerrilla-style.'
"We took two cameras and a desk that we set up on the street, and we interviewed some people. And we did some segments on bridges and were lucky that it didn't rain most of the time."
Along for the journey was Geoff Petersen, Ferguson's skeletal, wisecracking "Late Late Show" robot sidekick. "It was difficult," Ferguson admits, "because they run on 220 volts over there, and Geoffrey usually runs on 110. It sped him up a little bit."
CBS was "extremely supportive" of the overseas trek, Ferguson attests. "I have a very good relationship with them, and they know that I like to experiment with the format, which I've made no secret about. They could have said 'No,' and they didn't."
It also helped that the Scottish-born Ferguson, who became an American citizen in 2008, is no stranger to Paris. "I've been there many, many times. And there are a couple of places I'm still avoiding! You wanted this to be something of a travelogue, to give a feel of the place. It's all the excitement and exhilaration of being on vacation in Paris without actually spending money or meeting French people."
One spot Ferguson really wanted to hit was the Moulin Rouge, the legendary showplace where he got to perform with its dancers. "You know, it's one of the few things you should do in life," he reasons. "Kill a bear with your bare hands, meet an astronaut and dance on the stage of the Moulin Rouge. I've done two of them now -- so look out,