Sunday, December 21, 2014

Television Corner: Farewell to several Late Night favorites: "The Colbert Report", the "Late Show" Christmas Tradition, and "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson"

At The Matinee bids farewell to several Late Night favorites (and one Holiday tradition): The Colbert Reportthe iconic "Christmas Tradition" on CBSLate Show with David Letterman. and the last episode of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

Here I am standing next to Stephen Colbert's portrait at the
National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., during a
Frederick Community College Political Club field trip in 2008.
FAREWELL TO THE "COLBERT NATION": Nation- on the evening of December 18th, Comedy Central aired the last episode of The Colbert Report.  After nine years of his popular satirical show (a "spin-off" of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart), Stephen Colbert bid farewell along with a cavalcade of iconic guests (including Jon Stewart) that have appeared on the show over the years, joining the legendary "fake pundit" in a rousing rendition of We'll Meet Again.

To those that haven't heard, Colbert will be the successor host of CBS' Late Show, when David Letterman retires from his show on May 20th, 2015.  Daily Show correspondent and comedy writer Larry Wilmore will take over Colbert's old Comedy Central time slot on January 19th, with a new spin-off series- The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.

I'll be watching his 2009 Christmas special for the Holiday season, A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All (in addition to reading his best-selling books, I Am America and So Can You! and America Again: Re-Becoming The Greatness We Never Weren't)!

SPEAKING OF LETTERMAN- THE LAST "LATE SHOW" CHRISTMAS TRADITION: One of the most interesting aspects of CBS' Late Show with David Letterman is the show's annual Christmas tradition with Jay Thomas and iconic singer Darlene Love.

The "Late Show Christmas Tree Meatball Challenge" has been an annual favorite since 1998, where Thomas and Letterman throw footballs to hit the "meatball" (in place of the traditional star) on top of the Late Show Christmas tree.  In addition to the "meatball challenge", Thomas recounts his famous story (when he was a disc jockey in Charlotte, North Carolina) about his encounter with "The Lone Ranger"- Clayton Moore.

Years before the "meatball challenge"- another iconic guest on Letterman's Christmas show is Darlene Love, who sang her legendary 1963 Christmas song (from the Phil Spector Christmas album)  Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)- with musical accompaniment by bandleader Paul Shaffer.  She has sung her popular Christmas song on the program since 1986, dating back to Letterman's previous show on NBC- Late Night. 

This will mark the final Late Show Christmas tradition, due to Letterman retiring from late night television (in May 2015).

THE FINAL "LATE LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG FERGUSON":  After the final Late Show Christmas Tradition, CBS aired the final episode of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (which is also produced by Letterman's company, Worldwide Pants).  To commemorate Craig Ferguson's  special opening montage, past guests of The Late Late Show decided to honor the host in a special rendition of the song "Bang Your Drum" (including Regis Philbin).  The final program also included an interesting "farewell" to the series (NOTE: I'm not giving away the ending- including Secretariat's real identity, you'll have to see the conclusion for yourself).

For nearly ten years, the Scottish comedian/actor has entertained many with his edgy, off-the-wall jokes during the opening monologue and his "tweets and e-mails" segment.  Earlier this year, Ferguson announced that he was stepping down from The Late Late Show, to concentrate on his new game show, Celebrity Name Game and other projects.  British comedian James Corden has been named as the successor host to The Late Late Show in March 2015.   Farewell to Craig, his wise-cracking skeletal robot sidekick- Geoff Peterson (voiced by Josh Robert Thompson), and "Secretariat."

A "tip of the hat" to Steven Colbert, Darlene Love, Jay Thomas, Craig Ferguson, and to one of the greats of late night television- David Letterman.

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