Starting with Ferguson, Pittsburgh gets cornucopia of comedy names this week
Craig Ferguson is cutting loose on his nationwide comedy tour.
As host of CBS’ Peabody Award-winning “The Late Late Show,” Ferguson’s comedy has been somewhat restrained, sitting behind a desk in a suit every night interviewing celebrities.
But on the road, he’s able to enjoy more freedom.
Ferguson will perform Nov. 21 at the Carnegie Library Music Hall in Munhall.
His show will be a mix of social commentary and autobiographical material that lets the audience know the Scottish entertainer a little better.
Despite his television success, Ferguson says he still enjoys stand-up.
“It’s kind of like asking a piano player, ‘Why do you still play the piano when you have a giant, luxury organ?’ It’s just what I do,” he says.
“Oh, don’t get me wrong — I have a giant luxury organ, but I still tinker away on the old instrument just to keep my fingers nimble.”
Ferguson has come a long way from his days in a punk band in Scotland.
Odd that he would turn to a life of comedy. Was his family funny?
“If by ‘funny’ you mean ‘Dickensian,’ sort of,” Ferguson says. “Yes, I think my family (members) are funny … and so do their parole officers.”
He’s busy working on his third marriage and being a father again. He seems fine with how his American life has worked out since he moved to New York City from Glasgow in 1983.
He began showing up on Americans’ radar as Mr. Wick on the “The Drew Carey Show.”
Ferguson, who describes his comedy style as “firm but fair,” will have a lot more time for a live stand-up act. After a decade on the air, he’s walking away from his CBS show.
He’s leaving mainly, he says, because he “didn’t want to replace David Letterman.”
Ferguson’s last “Late Late Show” will be Dec. 19. His final guest: Jay Leno.
Comedian Matt Wohlfarth is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
Craig Ferguson won’t be the only comic to play Pittsburgh stages this week.
Three-time Emmy winner Wyatt Cenac will play Club Cafe on the South Side on Nov. 21.
Cenac, a one-time writer for “King of the Hill” and correspondent on “The Daily Show,” considers himself a comedian first because it encompasses all avenues of the genre.
Cenac grew up watching comedy on television and says he was “always drawn to comedy.”
The comedian says he writes his comedy when the mood strikes. “Some guys sit down and write every day. I wait to be inspired,” he says. “I sit with it and then I’ll write it. Then I’ll sit with it again. Then, I write a little and then I sit with it.”
All that sitting could make a guy hungry. Who would Cenac like to have dinner with?
“I would have dinner with my agent and ask why don’t I have more shows,” he says. “And I would make him pay.
Cenac’s show starts at 10:30 p.m. Nov. 21 at Club Cafe, South Side. Admission is $20 (21 and over). Details: 412-431-4950 or clubcafelive.com
As a suicide survivor and a New York Times best-selling author, Artie Lange knows the highs and lows of being a celebrity and an A-list comedian.
Lange, who is a polarizing figure on how he lives his life and what comes out of his mouth offstage, will do three shows — at the Pittsburgh Improv, Waterfront, Homestead, on Nov. 21 and 22 — that are sure to draw audiences and protesters alike.
He is performing at a combination of clubs and theater venues for his fiercely loyal and eclectic audiences.
An original cast member of Fox’s “MadTV,” Lange also is known for being a regular on Howard Stern’s radio program.
His life is open-book, and that authenticity comes through in his comedy. While his comedy isn’t mass-appeal, his maniacal comedy fans like it just fine that way.
Lange will perform at 8 p.m. Nov. 21 and 7 and 9:30 p.m. Nov. 22. Admission is $35 (21 and over) show. Details: 412-462-5233 or pittsburgh.improv.com
Fox Chapel native Eddie Ifft will return from his world tour for six shows at the Pittsburgh Improv, beginning Nov. 26.
Ifft, who describes himself as a satirist, likes to mine comedy from society’s pressure points. “I talk about society,” he says. “I’m not ‘the joke guy.’ I talk about things you shouldn’t talk about for laughs. I try to make those topics palatable.
“I’ve been described as subversive and transgressive — words I had to look up. I like that.”
For years, Ifft was a globetrotting comic with a huge following in Australia. He recorded a DVD, “Live From Australia,” at a sold-out Sydney Opera House. “They showed me a lot of love,” he says. “They remind me of Pittsburghers.”
He found an Australian wife, and the couple are expecting their first baby. But the funnyman promises his life changes won’t dull his yen to walk the edge in comedy.
With a successful Comedy Central special under his belt, Ifft is working on a new special for Netflix. He conducted a successful Kickstarter campaign to finance Binglebus, a mobile talk show that just shows up at celebrity’s houses for interviews.
Ifft will perform at 8 p.m. Nov. 26, 8 and 10:15 p.m. Nov. 28, 7 and 9:15 p.m. Nov. 29 and 7 p.m. Nov. 30 at Pittsburgh Improv, Waterfront, Homestead. Admission is $20 (21 and over). Details: 412-462-5233 or pittsburgh.improv.com