Sunday, May 04, 2014

Craig Ferguson is a late-night host who embraces writers

From Esquire:

Authors have always made damn good late-night talk show guests. Think Jack Kerouac reading On the Road accompanied by Steve Allen on piano. Norman Mailer and Gore Vidal nearly trading blows on The Dick Cavett Show, which also featured the verbal dueling of Truman Capote and Groucho Marx...

But over the past couple decades, authors have gone largely missing from late night. I'm not talking The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report, or Charlie Rose and Tavis Smiley, where you'll often see authors as guests... No, I'm talking strictly the Big Three networks. Sure, every once in a while Letterman will have on David Sedaris or Sarah Vowell or Anthony Bourdain. Yet they are as much radio and TV personalities as writers. Conan will occasionally have on a writer whose work has crossed over into film and TV, like George R.R. Martin. But when's the last time Dave or Conan — or Fallon or Kimmel or Meyers, for that matter — had on a true-blue novelist, short-story writer, essayist, or memoirist?

Craig Ferguson is different. He's an author himself — having published a novel and a memoir, both best-sellers — and in nearly a decade of leading The Late Late Show, he's regularly had on fellow scribes. He might joke about the perceived obsolescence of books in the digital age, as when introducing one of Sloane Crosley's four appearances on the show: "My next guest is an author. What's an author, Craig? It's like a bloggy person without a computer." But in truth, few modern media personalities short of Oprah have done more to promote reading and literature. Not to mention boost book sales.

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