A few weeks ago on the Late Late Show, Craig Ferguson began inviting his guests to engage in an awkward pause with him. Awkward pauses have been somewhat de rigeur in popular culture for a number of years now. In fact, Ricky Gervais has pretty much built a career on them–and we have him to thank for such brilliant fare as The Office and even Modern Family.
But those sitcom awkward pauses were scripted, designed as responses to someone saying or doing something so bizarre that no response was even possible. Craig Ferguson, who says that being Scottish has given him a lifetime of awkward pauses, is doing something a little different. He asks his guests (most of whom are actors) to sit, silently, awkwardly with him. Never has silence been so funny.
I think the first person I saw do this with him was Adam Greenberg (a master at awkwardness). There have been many more since, including the awesome Lauren Graham, Topher Grace (another awkward man) and most recently John Cusack. With Cusack, nearly the entire interview was an awkward pause, and it was hilarious (see the clip below). (more…)