Former late night talk show host Craig Ferguson’s newest venture is a History Channel show titled “Join or Die” that takes a hilarious look at history. Ferguson manages to make this subject funnier than one might expect. An interesting concept, the show is presented in a talk show format with three guests, who discuss predefined topics, such as “History’s Biggest Political Blunders” or “History’s Worst Medical Advice.”
To open the show, Ferguson starts with a fast-paced, almost random monologue that eventually connects with the episode’s topic and introduces the audience to specific incidences in history that the host and guests discuss later in the episode. The show starts with six instances of the topic, for example the first episode is about “History’s Biggest Political Blunders” and the group is presented with scandals such as Dick Cheney’s hunting accident, Eliot Spitzer’s resignation as New York’s governor in 2008 and Rob Blagojevich’s attempt to sell President Obama’s Senate seat after his election. The guests then discuss which takes the superlative, eliminating two before each commercial break. The audience then makes the final decision with a vote when there are two options remaining.
The first episode’s guests included Jimmy Kimmel, pundit Howard Bragman and comedian Jen D’Angelo. While the premiere was interesting and funny with witty jokes regarding recent scandals, it was interesting that — while this show airs on the History Channel — the history presented on this show was relatively recent. It might have been more interesting to take a look at older examples and hear the panel’s commentary on less mainstream content.
That being said, “Join or Die” is definitely an enjoyable and entertaining way to spend half an hour. Both the host and his guests were quick-witted and while they discussed recent events in political history that audiences might be well-informed about, many were relatively forgotten. This discussion brought up the subsequent political ramifications, as well as how their careers have since been impacted, which provides interesting ideas into how different people were affected and why.
Being on the History Channel, the show maintains a relatively informative and intellectual ambiance with a sarcastic and ironic tone. Audiences are sure to pick up on tidbits about recent history that they might not necessarily have known at the time, especially younger audiences — like those who may be watching at NYU — that are old enough to know the names of politicians without much detail of their scandalous encounters. Ferguson does a good job providing enough background so that even those without previous knowledge of history can keep up with the quick exchanges of the people on stage.
While “Join or Die” is definitely not as revolutionary as its title — which was inspired by the Revolutionary War cartoon by Ben Franklin — it’s an amusing way for fans of the comedian to spend Thursday nights.
Email Anubhuti Kumar at [email protected]