There's an old joke—the kind Craig Ferguson loves to tell precisely because it's old—that begins with a man stopping a stranger on the street and asking the best way to Carnegie Hall. The answer, for Ferguson, is to join a Glasgow punk band as a teen, find minor fame in Edinburgh's comedy scene as "Bing Hitler," a hyper-Scots nationalist folk singer, perform in a London stage production of Rocky Horror Picture, host an archaeology series for Scottish TV, move to Los Angeles in 1994, land a role on a barely-there sitcom with Betty White, play Mr. Wick on The Drew Carey Show, write and star in three independent films, act in a half-dozen studio releases, write two books—a novel and an autobiography—and, of course, follow Craig Kilborn as host of CBS's Late Late Show, get nominated for an Emmy, win a Peabody award, and become the unlikeliest success story in the history of late night TV. Once you have a fan base of millions, after all, selling tickets to a live comedy tour isn't that hard—even for two Carnegie Hall dates later this month.
Sunday night, Ferguson played the less illustrious but no less Craig-loving Midland Theater in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, a town he repeatedly called "the City of Meat" to its denizens' delight. Performing older, very white crowd and new, very white pants that he mocked himself for wearing, Ferguson devoted the first part of his show to exploring the differences between his TV persona and live act. Namely, he can't cuss on CBS, but can on stage, and spent several minutes doing so with great impish vigor.