Last week, Craig Ferguson discovered that there was a TV host in France who had “borrowed” several of his bits, and last night, he proved once again that he’s unlike any other late night host. Anyone else discovering this would likely figure out a way to send a cease and desist letter, but instead Craig just invited him onto ‘The Late Late Show’ for some tomfoolery.
‘Ce Soir Avec Arthur’ not only aped Ferguson’s use of puppets and elaborate lip-syncing numbers, but his opening sequence is almost a direct lift from ‘The Late Late Show’s title montage. When Craig found out about it, he didn’t know what to think about it. “Don’t steal from this show! That’s like taking pants from a hobo! You can’t steal from us! We don’t f—ing have anything!” He later joked about suing “those French bastards” before admitting “I’m really incensed about this French dude, and at the same time delighted. It’s weird.”
So instead of legal action, he brought Jacques Arthur Essebag, the host of ‘Ce Soir,’ onto his show for a comedy bit in the cold open, where he called Craig an idiot. “That was not a copy,” Arthur said, “It was an homage. A tribute to you and your abilities.” The argument went back and forth until Arthur pulled the classic trick of repeating everything Craig said – no easy feat when you speak imperfect English.
Later, Arthur came out for Craig’s nightly Tweets & Emails segment, led by Secretariat draped in a French flag. He admitted that he couldn’t copy that particular segment because “We don’t have enough audience to get emails,” but Craig then revealed a helpful secret. “What you do is write them yourself. Then you know what they’re going to be! We used to do that, now we don’t anymore.” They also got an email from someone in France who said “Don’t be mad at French people. What you took for plagiarism is actually a French way to express admiration,” which Arthur quickly agreed with. He even invited Craig to France, but apparently CBS claims they can’t afford to send him there. “I checked, and apparently all the money is being spent on ‘CSI’ and Andy F-ing Rooney.”
The show ended with another homage – this one to Casablanca. Against a backdrop of French ooh-la-la girls, an accordion player in a striped shirt and a mime, all wearing berets, both Craig and Arthur came out dressed as Humphrey Bogart as the video slowly shifted to black and white, and Arthur claimed that this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Incidentally, Arthur is not the first foreign host to emulate an American talk show so specifically – lest we forget, there was also a German David Letterman named Harald Schmidt.