Lost in the hoopla surrounding the end of The Colbert Report this week was the end of another run, that of Craig Ferguson as host of CBS’ Late Late Show. And while it wasn’t as Earth-shattering as Colbert, nor as poignant, Ferguson did also call it a night with a star-studded musical sing-along (to Dead Man Fall’s “Bang Your Drum” instead of Vera Lynn’s “We’ll Meet Again”), a reveal featuring a costumed recurring supporting character (Secretariat was Bob Newhart all along instead of… YOU CAN MURDER THE ANGEL OF DEATH AND BECOME IMMORTAL!), and a callback to the show that made the host a television star (Ferguson wakes up next to Drew Carey, both as their characters from The Drew Carey Show instead of Colbert breaking character on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart).
Ferguson’s final guest was Jay Leno, who thanked the outgoing host for not joining “The Late Night Talk Show Snippy Club”, a passive aggressive slam against guys like David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel, and Conan O’Brien who took Leno to task for some showbiz shadiness. Ferguson himself was also being passive aggressive by having Leno on. If rumor has it, he’s still unhappy that neither Letterman nor CBS thought he’d be a good fit hosting The Late Show. That job, of course, went to Stephen Colbert.
So, there you have it. After ten years, Ferguson’s legacy is pretty much that of a man who, no matter what he does, will always feel like he came in second place to Stephen Colbert.