7 Ways Craig Ferguson Can Make Your Blog Awesome
Do you find yourself envying some of the Big Name Bloggers with their pretty Web sites, zillions of followers and endless support from bloggers and advertisers alike? You might even find yourself tempted to copy those other blogs, trying to find the same success.
Let’s talk a bit about Jimmy Fallon.
For those that don’t know who Jimmy Fallon is, he’s the 34-year old former Saturday Night Live actor who landed the cushy gig at NBC’s Late Night show after Conan O’Brien inherited Jay Leno’s The Tonight Show. Fallon’s show started this spring with a lot going for it.
NBC pumped tons of money into Late Night and promoted it like crazy. Fallon stuck closely with the irreverent formula created by Conan O’Brien. The production value is top-notch and the guests are among some of today’s hottest actors and musicians. His house band is The Roots, which must have cost NBC some major cash and also ups the coolness ante.
By all reasonable expectations, Fallon should be owning the slot.
Yet, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon is unwatchable.
The problem is the way that Jimmy Fallon comes off onscreen. His delivery is awful, he is entirely too self conscious and he’s not very funny. Which, for a comedian, is kind of a bad thing. Watching Fallon is like watching the last third of hit and miss sketches on Saturday Night Live. Sometimes, it’s good and other times, you hate yourself in the morning.
In short, Fallon, in attempt to mimic Conan’s great show, has created a pale imitation at best.
Despite the big budget, the great lead-in (though that has slipped recently) and despite being the “it show”, Fallon is routinely beaten by CBS’s The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.
Ferguson, (47) isn’t hip, he doesn’t have eight zillion Twitter followers (hell, he seems to loathe much of the web culture), his budget at CBS is woeful at best – he has no house band and guests are not usually of the top shelf variety. Yet, night after night, he delivers some of the best late night television around.
Because Ferguson brings something to the table that Fallon, with all NBC’s money and buzz machinery can’t create – genuineness.
You can’t help but like Ferguson, even when his jokes fall flat or his sketches are corny. Why? Because he is original and funny in a way that isn‘t forced or awkward like Fallon’s. He is a natural comedian and at ease with himself, the show and his guests.
Things you can learn from Craig Ferguson to make your blog better
1) Be yourself. Ferguson is by far, the most comfortable talk show host I’ve ever seen on TV. His interviews aren’t filled with the standard formulaic questions that you see on every other show. When he is talking with a guest, it seems more like a genuine conversation, filled with stream-of-thought questions and playful banter. Take for instance, this two-part interview below with actress Zooey Deschanel.Write your posts with an authentic voice, let your personality through.
2) Throw out the cards. Ferguson starts every interview by ripping up his interview cards. Sure, it’s a gimmick, as he could easily have questions on a teleprompter. However, given the questions he asks, he could very well be improvising. Don’t be afraid to change the rules when blogging, deliver the content that other blogs aren’t giving their readers.
3) Turn your limitations into a strength. In addition to working with a limited budget, Ferguson’s hands were further tied in 2008, when producers required him to start each show with a cold open, a two minute segment prior to the monologue. This was done in order to compete with ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel. Rather than complain about having to find a way to fill two minutes, Ferguson has created what might be the best two minutes on television. When a viewer tunes in, they never know what they will get at the start of the show – a silly dance sketch featuring Ferguson and a leather-clad staffer, a monologue with puppets (yes, puppets) or interactions with the studio audience. We all have constraints, find a creative way to make the most of them.
4) Don’t take yourself too seriously. Perhaps one of the most endearing things about Ferguson is that he doesn’t take himself too seriously. Self effacing humor, done right, allows comedians to poke fun at others all the more convincingly. Don’t let your ego prevent you from being human, making and admitting to mistakes.
5) But know when to be serious. While other late-night talk show hosts were bashing Britney Spears a couple of years ago, Ferguson took the high road and said that he wasn’t comfortable doing comedy which attacked the vulnerable. He then addressed his own alcoholism and thoughts of suicide in a powerful monologue that cuts to the bone.
6) Don’t be afraid to take a position. While Ferguson keeps his politics close to vest, he isn’t afraid to skewer the bullshit surrounding the political process in America and to alienate his audience by delivering the truth – many people are idiots. Blogs that don’t say something offensive (to someone) run the risk of saying nothing.
7) Most importantly, have something to say. When you watch Ferguson, you don’t just get jokes, you get something more meaningful. Take for example his recent monologue in which he attacked our culture which deifies youth. Even though he toned the commentary down with laughs, it still rings true. There’s no reason you can’t deliver content which not only tastes good but also sustains.
So even if you aren’t one of the Big Bloggers, you can still succeed by being yourself, playing to your strengths (and weaknesses) and by being creative. Best of luck!
What blogging tips have you picked up from unlikely sources?
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