Craig Ferguson’s Britney Spears Monologue Resurfaces Amid Doc Release

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A Craig Ferguson monologue from over a decade ago is getting renewed attention after this weekend’s Hulu premiere of The New York Times Presents documentary Framing Britney Spears. The Late Late Show monologue, which originally aired on Feb. 19, 2007, shows the host taking a stand that not many, if any, late night figures has been brave enough to take by refusing to make jokes at the expense of Britney Spears.

At the time, the troubled singer had made headlines the past weekend for checking in and out of rehab and infamously taking clippers to her own head to shave all of her hair off, with the paparazzi standing by to document it all. Instead of taking the weekend’s events and dissecting them in his monologue, Ferguson turned the spotlight on his own spotty past.

“Tonight, no Britney Spears jokes, and here’s why…I’m not doing them,” he began. “The kind of weekend she had, she was checking in and out of rehab, she was shaving her head, getting tattoos, that’s what she was doing this weekend. This Sunday, I was 15 years sober. So I looked at her weekend, and I looked at my own weekend, and I thought, ‘You know, I’d rather have my weekend.’ But what she’s going through reminds me of what I was doing. It’s an anniversary, you start to think about it, and it reminds me of where I was 15 years ago, when I was living like that.”

While Ferguson admitted he didn’t know if Spears was an alcoholic and he was no expert, he did say “she clearly needs help.” Launching into his own struggles with alcoholism, the late night host shared that his addiction even led him to contemplate suicide, but that he eventually sought the help he needed to give up drinking. “It looks to me a little bit that Britney Spears has a similar problem going on with alcohol,” he said. “This woman has two kids. She’s 25 years old. She’s a baby herself. She’s a baby, you know. And the thing is, you can embarrass somebody to death. It is embarrassing to admit you’re an alcoholic.”

Ferguson looked back on his famous monologue in a 2019 interview with the Los Angeles Times, telling the paper that he was inspired to take a different angle on Spears after seeing news reports about her public breakdown. “I remember feeling kind of shocked at the kind of glee that seemed to accompany them,” he said. “I don’t know Ms. Spears and I’m not a doctor, but to all outward appearances it was some kind of psychotic episode. It didn’t look like she was having a good time at all.”

At the time, Ferguson recalled, his audience was “a little uncomfortable” and even laughed at the mention of Spears’ name. “Everyone had seen the news, and I think they expected me to do what my job was, which was to make fun of the news,” he said.

“I wanted to put myself in the position of what Ms. Spears had been in that weekend, [to show] that I understood, that I identified with her discomfort,” he added. “And I because I had done that, other people identified with me too. It feels odd to talk about, because I don’t want to aggrandize myself. I didn’t mean to do it. It just felt right at the time. But it has definitely stuck. Once every couple of weeks somebody says something to me about it, still. How long ago was it, 12 years? It’s a long time.”

Watch Ferguson’s full Britney Spears monologue in the video above, and check out our post on how to watch the Framing Britney Spears doc. 

Where to watch Framing Britney Spears 

Where to watch The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson

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