Craig Ferguson's Excellent Rant -- "If You Don't Vote, You're A Moron."

[ Posted Thursday, September 11th, 2008 – 17:24 UTC ]

As a public service, today I am running a full transcript of Craig Ferguson, host of The Late Late Show on CBS, from last night, 9/10/08.

I tuned in to David Letterman last night to see Barack Obama's interview, and happened to catch Ferguson as he went on an absolute rant worthy of the name. I was pretty happy watching the Obama interview, but this just stunned me. Craig Ferguson is a comedian who usually plays a cheerful idiot on his show, and this isn't the usual fare for him. But he nailed it.

I looked for a full transcription of his remarks but could not find them anywhere online today, so I decided to post my own. You can watch both these segments from Aaron Barnhart's blog, as he's got the YouTube segments posted together (he also has an edited transcript, but it cuts a lot out).

So without further ado, here is Craig Ferguson (a recently naturalized American citizen), from last night's show:


It's a great day for America, everybody. Why? Well, um... it just is. And... I just... did you... did you just watch Barack Obama on David Letterman? I did... 'cause this show is live. I was just watching it... I watched that show... now I don't want to... to say who I... I support, in this election, but when I'm watching that show, I'm thinking: "Now, there's a very sexy, compassionate man." Obama is good too, but Dave... not only sexy... my boss. Find new and creative ways to suck up to people, that's what I always do.

But I'm watching him on Dave, and the presidential election is heating up. There's all sorts of "controversy." You know, 'cause Obama's been saying, "You can put a pig..." ah... put a pig... you can put a pig anywhere you like -- it's America! Put a pig over here! Are you sure? Yeah! You wouldn't be able to do that in Soviet Russia. You have to keep your pig in a commune with other pigs, but, in America, pigs roam free! Obama is, ah, said "You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig" and then Republicans are like: [sharp intake of breath]"Did you call Sarah Palin a pig?!? That means you hate America!!" And then the Democrats will say, "No, no, no!! Republicans -- you don't love pigs! It's a pig's right to wear lipstick.. this is... free.. surely," blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, [mimes sticking finger down throat] bleah!

What I don't understand... what I don't understand is this: What... Why is Barack Obama talking about lipstick on a pig? Why are we talking about animals and cosmetics? Here's... Here's another thing I don't understand: Why is John McCain hanging around while his vice presidential candidate is up there... you know... campaigning to be president? What the hell's going on? He's like: "[unintelligible "old man" noises] Idn't she pretty?"

If you watch the news you would think that Sarah Palin is running for president.

Spoiler alert! You're not!

What happens is that the media... really, me too... yeah, I count... the media focuses on the best-looking candidates from either side -- the most "TV-friendly" people. The TV news reports, you know, like the way this election is being covered... is being covered is like TMZ or something. It's like they're covering Paris and Nicole. I... I'm watching this... it's like: "Ooh, [moron noises], look at her hair and hat," and everything, and I'm like: if... if Walter Cronkite could see these brain-dead morons yapping about flag pins and hairstyles, he'd turn over in his grave! Which is weird because Cronkite is alive and well and he lives in Martha's Vineyard. But, if he were dead, he'd be furious!

Do you know what I think it is? I think a lot of the reporters want to be as famous as the candidates they're covering. And here is my hope for this election. Anyways, my belief and my hope... that the American people are smarter than the media that are meant to be serving them. At this time... this is unbelievable to me. I think people want to see real solutions to real problems -- and they don't really care that much if they come from the right or the left. You know, every media outlet, you know, wants you to pay attention to their agenda, and their poll. But there's only one poll that matters, and it's on November the fourth. (It's November the fourth, right?) Yeah, November the fourth!

I should say... you know what I... you know the other thing about, you know, when they... they... when the news reports show the candidates in slow motion with their families? And "the children," you know? I don't care! They show that the candidate... and the candidates say: "well, the family is off limits," you know, I mean, like Sarah Palin says, you know, "my daughter's pregnancy, that's off limits, that's a family matter;" and Barack Obama is saying "yes, that's absolutely right" -- but listen, here's what I say: if your families are off limits, WHY ARE THEY ON THE STAGE? Why is there a profile in People magazine of you and your damn family all over -- the children marching around -- SHAME ON YOU, YOU MANIPULATIVE HYPOCRITES!!

I'm talking to both sides. Talking about... Obama... McCain... Palin... the other one... I'm talking to all of you!

I like all... I like all four of these candidates a lot -- for comedy reasons they can't be beat. You got your, your grizzled old veteran who's trying to win one last campaign. You got the brash rookie who inspires millions. You got that hockey mom who's governor by day, naughty librarian by night. You've got, ah, Biden, who's all "Biden-ey" there.

What... the point I'm trying to get is this is a very important election, this one, but you would not know it from the way it's being reported. You know, politics is covered like show business now. On The Today Show, you know, this morning, they're like: "Which candidate would you rather have dinner with?" Here's an easy answer: None! They're politicians! I don't want dinner with you... I don't want your friendship! Here's what I want to know: What are you going to do for this country, pal? What are you gonna do?!?

[in a singsong voice, dancing around] My children... oh, ho! [points to back of head] Do I have a zipper up here or something?!?

The news reports, they're all very tabloid-ey, they're trying to be funny, like... like Jon Stewart... you know, maybe because more and more people say they're getting their news from late-night TV -- which, believe me -- not a good idea. I like... I like The Daily Show. I like Jon Stewart, I think he does a bang-up job, he does a great job... but let him do it -- the rest of the TV news people, TAKE THIS THING SERIOUSLY!! This is important!!

And listen, we all visit -- you too... you too ladies... gentleman and ladies, we've got, we, all of us, we've got a responsibility... you have to get your news from... from news sources, not just one, 'cause they're all biased. Especially the cable channels... MSNBC, very liberal... Fox News, very conservative... the Animal Planet, always meerkats, never badgers....

Do you know what... Do you know what bothers me is that every election year as well, you get the voter registration drives aimed at the young people: "Rock the Vote"... "The Vote's Crack-a-lackin"... "Think the Vote"... you know... "Music the Vote"... "Dee-de-dee-de"... here... "The Vote, The Vote, The Vote, The Vote, The Vote, The Vote, The Vote!"

Are we so lost we have to be sold our own democratic right? What the hell is wrong with... what is going on?!? We have to "sexy-up" the vote for young people? Remember four years ago Puff Diddley had that group "Vote or Die"? Then it turns out he didn't even vote himself! Maybe he forgot which name he registered under.

Listen. Here's what I am saying to you... here's what I'm saying. Here's what I've been saying: If you don't vote, you're a moron. Alright?

If you... settle down. I know you say: "Well, not voting is a vote" -- no it isn't! Not voting is... is just being stupid. Voting is not sexy. Voting is not hip. It is not fashionable. It's not a movie. It's not a videogame. All the kids hate doing it. Frankly, voting is a pain in the ass, but here's a word -- look it up -- it is your duty to vote! "Duty?"

The foundation in this democracy is based on free people making free choices. So, young people, if you can't take your hand out of your bag of Cheetos long enough to fill out a form, then you can't complain when we wind up with President Sanjaya!

Listen. I am an American. This country at... is at war -- right now. Americans, in foreign lands, wearing uniforms representing this country, are losing their lives. Americans here in this country are losing their homes. We have two patriotic candidates, right? They both love this country. They have different ideas about what to do with it. Learn about them. Read about them. Question them. Listen to them. Then, on Election Day, exercise your sacred right as American, and listen to yourself.

We'll be right back.


[Commercial break]


Welcome back, everybody! Welcome back. Welcome back to the grumpy political edition of the show. I'm angry! Oh, I-I-I-I... yeah!

Do you know, I'm thinking about the, ah... I was... I got these statistics off the Googley web today, and I'm... I was looking at the statistics of people who... who actually vote, and I'm thinking, and I'll get to this in a minute... but I'm thinking, I think a lot of people don't vote because they think they're going to have to get into an argument about... you know... they have to talk to other people about, you know, who they are voting for, and get into the political discussion, and tempers flare, and people say mean things, and all that bull doo-doo that you... and all that stuff about... and I think that... I think sometimes people forget this. Um, you don't have to tell anybody who you vote for. Privacy is protected in a democracy like this. You don't... you don't have to tell, ah, who you're voting for. It's none of... It's nobody else's business.

In fact, I wish a lot of people -- celebrities, mostly -- would take advantage of the rule of privacy, and shut the hell up about who you're voting for. And just vote. Just vote. I mean, it's, it's, it's... it's so odd to me, you know... "Well, you should vote the way I am voting, because, you know, I'm on a sitcom." No!! No, it doesn't matter. You... you're perfectly entitled to talk about who you vote for, of course you are, it's encouraged -- but, it's also... you know, you don't have to. I'm just saying.

Anyway, [reads off paper] here in the past two presidential elections less than two-thirds of the eligible voters turned out to the polls -- 64% in 2004, and 60%... 60%... in 2000. [asks offstage] What is that, a "B"? That's a "B," isn't it? "D"? A "D"? A "D" isn't sixty... where the hell did you go to school? A "D" at 60%? Really, is that a "D"... is it really? [audience: "Yeah!"] Man, I'm really glad I dropped out of high school, that would have sucked!

Um. Ah, let's see... historically, if you register to vote, you're more likely to vote. Here's one thing I was ashamed, ah, I was ashamed of this... naturalized citizens [points to self]... naturalized citizens, they vote less frequently than Americans born here. What the hell are you thinking?

Ahh... young adults always have the lowest percentage of any group... um, yeah, it's always... it's... you're 57% in 2004 for 18-to-24 year olds... fifty-seven... [asks offstage] that's a "D-minus?" "F"? My god, you guys are tough!

More women vote... more veterans vote... the highest voter percentage is Minnesota, Wisconsin, Oregon, Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Iowa -- no surprises there.

Here's the thing that made me think, though, the... the people who didn't register to vote, when they were asked why they didn't vote, they said, ah... half of them said, "I'm not interested in the election," and the other half said, "I'm not interested in politics."

How could you be not interested in politics? You've got, you've got to have an opinion about something. Don't you think? I mean, I don't know -- "I'm not interested in politics" -- do you, do you live anywhere? Do you, do you shop anywhere? Do you drive a car? Do you put on pants? Do you leave the house at any point? Do you own the house? Do you rent the house? Do you ever, ah, hope that the police will save you from something that may or may not be illegal? Of course you're involved in politics. If you're alive you're involved in politics.

Anyway, I thought we'd bring out... no, no... no, please... I thought I would bring out something of which I am, ah, about to fill in, which I thought you might be... and all of you, in the studio audience, ah, the thousands of people that make up the studio audience every night here... These will be available to you as you leave the studio tonight, and, ah, they're available in libraries and post offices in... ah... in supermarkets, sometimes. And I got mine... it's, ah... it's a voter registration form, and all you do is... it's kind of your IQ test to see if you can vote. All you have to do is fill in some pretty tough questions... name, address... when you were born... telephone (if you have a telephone, you don't have to put telephone in)... I know, it's pretty, uh, pretty relaxed. You, ah, don't have to put in, ah... oh, you can put... "I decline to state a political party." I would do that if I was you, and you know why? Just to be ornery And then you just sign it and you send it away, and you get to participate in... ah... in the democracy... ah... that we live in.

[holds outside of form up to camera] Take that, stamp collector! [camera zooms in on "No postage necessary" on envelope front]

What I'm saying is: please, do me the honor of being my fellow Americans, and vote!

We'll be right back...


-- Chris Weigant


5 Comments on “Craig Ferguson's Excellent Rant -- "If You Don't Vote, You're A Moron."”

  1. [1] 
    fstanley wrote:

    I am not surprised that it is so difficult to get the 18-25 year olds to vote. Civic responsibility is no longer emphasized nor taught in most schools and the home. Voting should be as big a deal as getting your driver's license or having your first "legal" beer.


  2. [2] 
    Michale wrote:

    You transcribed this yerself, CW???


    Kudos to you for that....

    I agree completely with the sentiment...

    Voting is a duty... It should be exercised by each and every American..

    Lanny Davis said it very well yesterday...

    I realize it's a FOX NEWS web page. But don't worry, Dems. There has NEVER been an instance where a Democrat DIED from reading Fox News.....

    AS FAR AS I KNOW.... :D

    But seriously, the point is, we have REALLY good candidates this year.. Regardless of your leanings, there are VERY good and valid reasons to vote for either candidate..

    Any American who is not properly motivated to vote in THIS election must simply be brain dead.


  3. [3] 
    BLaws wrote:

    Last night was 9/10/08 not 8/10/08 ;)

  4. [4] 
    valbrady wrote:

    Thank you for printing and posting this. My husband watched the show repeated the highpoints of this monologue to me. He did hit the highpoints, but it was great to read it all. My parents taught me (by example as well as words) that voting was a sacred duty; I taught my children the same. I agree with Stan that the schools should do their part, too.

  5. [5] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale -

    Yeah, I was annoyed there wasn't a full transcript anywhere, so I just did one myself. I made one error, which I have corrected:

    "more and more people, see, they're getting their news from late-night TV"

    had to be changed to:

    "more and more people say they're getting their news from late-night TV"

    There are probably a few other minor errors in there, but on the whole it's pretty accurate, I think.

    BLaws -

    Whoops! You're right. It's been fixed.

    What would I do without you guys to keep me honest?



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