Craig Ferguson (b. May 17, 1962)
Scottish actor, comedian and author Craig Ferguson has hosted CBS's Late Late Show since 2005, and has announced he will quit at the end of 2014.
Ferguson played a marijuana smoker and grower in Saving Grace, a film he co-wrote. Starring Academy Award–winning actress Brenda Blethyn in the title role, Saving Grace won the World Cinema Audience Award at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival and doubtlessly inspired Showtime's Weeds. Ferguson's character smokes pot in the opening scene of the film, in which he helps an English widow grow marijuana to save her home.
Ferguson and Blethyn appeared at an advance screening of the film in San Francisco, where he was asked by VIPs.com whether he had been pressured to present marijuana in a negative light in the film. "Oh yes," he replied. "At one point they wanted my character to die." The crowd gasped, since that outcome would have been completely out of place in the delightfully light-hearted film.
Ferguson is known to American audiences for his role on ABC's "The Drew Carey Show" as Carey's uptight English boss. That show aired an intelligent handling of the employment drug testing issue, portraying an affronted Carey dumping out his staff's urine samples, but later bringing in a drug-sniffing dog to find the drugs in question. Cocaine was soon found in the boss's office, the very man (played by Ferguson) who had ordered the drug testing.
Ferguson writes in his autobiography American on Purpose that he first smoked pot at 16, on his first trip to the U.S., at Blue Oyster Cult concert in New York that his cousins took him to. "[O]ne of Karen's friends handed me a joint," he wrote. "I sucked on that doobie until someone crossly snatched it from me and snapped something about Humphrey Bogart. I knew it was marijuana but I was unaware of any sensation of drugginess. I expected it to have horrifying side effects like all the antidrug horror propaganda said it would." Instead, "I did start to feel pretty good. And the band sounded great. And everybody was funny. Hilarious in fact....Karen got us hot dogs and they were the best hot dogs I had ever tasted and this band was fucking BRILLIANT and this was the best night of my life and it was then that I had my satori....From this moment on I would dedicate my life to rock and roll and take as many drugs as possible."
After abusing alcohol and cocaine in real life, Ferguson has been sober for many years, but still regularly jokes about marijuana. Betty White has appeared in a series of skits on the Late Late Show, once as a Salvation Army bellringer chortling about her exorbitant medical marijuana bills. Recently, Ferguson joked about names that might be given to marijuana-infused foods. But "Doc Martin," a spin-off TV series set in the same Cornwall village as Saving Grace, has erased the pot smoking of the title character.