As Americans, there are a lot of things we don't agree on. But if there's one thing I think we can all get behind, it's this: British/Irish/Scottish accents make everything better. You could call my mother a dirty slut in your boring old American accent and I'd want to punch you in the face, but say the same thing about dear old Ma in an Irish brogue, and I'm putty in your hands.
Late-night talk-show phenom Craig Ferguson (who recently beat stalwart Conan O'Brien in the ratings for the first time) proved this to great effect during his performance Sunday night at the Mesa Arts Center.
Don't get me wrong -- Ferguson was hilarious, with or without the accent. But the fact that he can make topics that would seem stale coming from other comedians (marriage, child-rearing, culture shock) fresh was no doubt given an assist by his adorable (some ladies might say sexy) accent. The way he talks is part of the whole package o' charm he delivers onstage, on his talk show, on his stint on The Drew Carey Show, and in the several movies he has written and starred in. I could have done without some of the tired Scottish-people-don't-have-good-teeth/hygiene jokes and I definitely could have done without witless opening act Randy Kagan. I'm a die-hard Conan fan, but it's a testament to Ferguson's routine that he made me question my late-night allegiances.
Some stock (and some not-so-stock) comedy topics that he used to charm the pants off the crowd and earn himself a big ol' standing O (somewhat paraphrased):
• "My son has goldfish . . .He recently said, 'Dad, doesn't Tap Tap look a little smaller?' Little does he know, that's Tap Tap the Fourth."
• "I just got married. Women are like, 'Oh, that's so cute. You make such a great couple.' Men are like, 'How you holding up, man? You doing okay?"
• "I'm married now, but you can still touch my balls if you don't tell anyone."
Becoming an American citizen
• "I just became an American citizen, which means I can now shoot you back. Literally."
• "I take showers now. I'm American -- I have to. Like, every day!"
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• "We had a Jewish-Scottish wedding. And the Jewish tradition of dancing with the bride and groom up on your shoulders clashed with not wearing underwear under the kilts. [It] was particularly embarrassing for me, because I have a huge cock."
• "I just noticed some white hairs, you know, down there. I don't want to be distinguished down there! I don't want to have a wise old cock!"
• "My mother was always afraid of someone's eye getting gouged out. 'Put it down!' 'But Mom, we're playing checkers!' 'Put it down!'"
• "For a long time, I didn't know he had a Scottish accent. I just thought it was a steadily worsening speech impediment."
• "In rehab, junkies' self-esteem is so low, alcoholics are, like, the elite of rehab."
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• "Remember when Oprah had that junkie James Frey on her show talking about his book? And it turns out he lied? And Oprah -- no, America -- was horrified because a junkie lied? Yes, if we can't trust the junkies, who can we trust?"
• "Oprah is so powerfulthat if she contacted the U.N. and asked for weapon-grade uranium, they would say, 'Of course, Oprah! You go, girl!'"
• "That is 12-foot of crazy in a 4-foot man."
And of course, the obligatory Scottish/British/Irish-people-have-bad-teeth joke
• "The first thing that caught my eye about this country was the teeth. There were like, 10, 20, 30 teeth -- per mouth!"