Author: craig ferguson
published in 2019
Craig Ferguson is the epitome of the “American dream”. A raging alcoholic and drug abuser in his early years back in his homeland of Scotland, to a sober, intelligent, witty and extremely success entertainer in America. He played a role as Nigel Wick in “The Drew Carey show” and later on went to host “The late late show” on CBS for almost a decade. From zero, to an absolute hero.
I remember a period in my life whenever i felt the blues, i’d go binge on clips of his “late late show”, anticipate the moment the whole show gets uploaded and watch the whole thing. I’d forget about my problems for that brief period, get mesmerized by his charm, wit, and improvisational skills that I believe are unmatched. From doing one of his shows in his old studio where it had heavily rained and made the roof leak, or the time he had to do his opening monologue during a power outage to his shenanigans with along with his robot sidekick Geoff Peterson (you read that right if you’re unfamiliar with his show) imitating an Italian accented Bill Clinton. If you ever want to watch a person with an infectious laugh, Craig Ferguson would be the prime candidate.
I loved watching that show, and i will continue to revisit it from time to time even if it has aged. It still has the moments where it’ll make me laugh and smile. So thank you Craig. Thank you for giving me the laughs and reminding me to always to keep banging the drum.
I could talk about Craig for hours but for now lets focus on to his memoir. Riding the elephant. and boy, is it some ride.
I can’t ever recall a book that stirs up so many emotions in 267 pages. It made me laugh out loud, it made me smile, it gave me moments of contemplation, it bought tears to my eyes, both happy and sad. It angered and frustrated me. But throughout the time i was reading the memoir, I never ever wanted to end. I was enthralled into Craig’s Wacky world.
Craig’s struggles with alcohol and drugs we’re a noticeable theme throughout the book and his thankful sober state (almost 3 decades) . But that was not what this memoir was all about. it had a lot of substance and stories that were deeply personal, emotional, witty and passages where your tears jerk to wet the page. 23 chapters in total, each with a distinct story. His introspection put into words were quite vivid. Never throughout reading the book did i want to set it down and do something else.
The standout chapters for me were WITHOUT ANY SPOILER:
Chapter 1, Riding the Elephant) His trip with his girlfriend to Sri Lanka and befriending a mahout and visiting his village.
Chapter 3, Out, damned spot) focuses on his problem with acne, which gets in the way as he chases after his high-school crush.
Chapter 6 Swim Davie) Where a day out with his uncle and his friend turns sour (in a funny way)
Chapter 13, Love and bullshit) where he meets his current wife, Megan
chapter 15,Learning to fly) As the title of the suggests, where he learns to fly and become a pilot, conquering his fear. “I want to learn and continue to learn. It’s the only way to stay alive.”
Chapter 19 Japanese bar mitzvah) He gives his son Milo the decision to chose any destination to travel with his dad, and he chose Japan where he’s blown away by the technology behind it’s toilets.
Chapter 20 Morning at LAX) “it’s love that counts”. Taking Milo to the airport for a school-trip to Beijing. The tear jerker chapter.
and of course, the final chapter Margaret.
If you’re a fan of Craig Ferguson and want to dive into his world, this book is a MUST. It will be right up your alley. Every single page I read was in Craig’s deep Scottish accent with his personality stamped on every page. It contains bitter sadness and outright hilarity that we come to expect from him. It has some Lull moments as well but those are very few. The tattoo story as an instant example comes to mind. Besides that, i highly recommend it.