Starting your final episode with a showstopping all-star musical number, and closing with an homage to three classic TV finales plus a callback to your first big break in American TV: Well, Craig Ferguson never did want to play by the rules or traditions of television, anyhow.

He wanted to bang his own drum.

And so he did.

Quite literally so with this version of “Bang Your Drum” by Glasgow’s own Dead Man Fall, with dozens and dozens of celebrity friends and past guests lending their own drumming hands in this music video, culminating in a performance in studio.

The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson didn’t just advertise itself graphically as not another late-night TV talk show, but followed through on that promise every weeknight in its actions.

ferguson-notlikeanyotherlatenightshow

Ferguson wrote his own intro theme lyrics. He ad-libbed his opening monologues, save for the nightly review that it was “a great day for America.” He symbolically ripped up and threw away the notes prepared for each of his guests, choosing instead to engage them in actual conversations — which could become quite serious or quite trivial, depending on his and their moods. He eschewed an in-house band or a sidekick, until a joke one night about building a “robot skeleton army” prompted him to have at least one robot skeleton built, “Geoff Peterson,” voiced by comedy friend Josh Robert Thompson. He’d go on to add a two-person horse costume named after the fabled Secretariat, dancing flight attendants and frisbee tosses to go along with the awkward pauses, mouth organs and cash prizes.

And after 10 calendar years, Ferguson was more than ready to move on to something else.

Mind you, he’s not going away, not leaving TV. You can find him weeknights already hosting Celebrity Name Game in syndication. A year or so from now, you’ll likely find him doing a half-hour version of what he has been doing in late-late-night, just in syndication in the programming block between your nightly news and primetime instead.

“I wanted to do this show, and now we’ve done this show, and if you will indulge me in whatever I am doing now and come to whatever I do next, I’d be very grateful, because my kids are still young,” Ferguson said during his final Late Late Show monologue.

He invited Jay Leno as his only official guest for the finale, so one former late-night talk show host could swap stories with someone else about to join his club. Not the “late-night talk-show snippy club” that Leno mentioned, which proved to be the only false note on this final hour.

But Ferguson could move on from that, and close his tenure the way he wanted to. Which included homages to Newhart, St. Elsewhere and The Sopranos, and a touching callback to his breakout role in The Drew Carey Show, with a self-deprecating nod to Carey’s and Ferguson’s own futures in game shows.

Ferguson began hosting The Late Late Show in January 2005 as a Scotsman comedic actor and former punk drummer. Almost 10 years later, he closed it as a American citizen and successful stand-up comedian who played late-night TV to the beat of his own drum, like that American Ralph Waldo Emerson some two centuries before him.

He banged his own drum. Whether you loved it or didn’t stay up late enough to watch him, you had to appreciate and applaud his effort.

Congratulations, Craig Ferguson. We’ll see you on the tube again soon enough.

***

“Bang Your Drum” by Dead Man Fall

I’ve been thinking
about the things that
are stuck inside my head
and I can’t get them out
and I’ve been waking
at four in the morning
I don’t know why
I can’t get back to sleep again tonight

Keep banging on
Banging on your drum
Keep banging on
And your day will come
Keep banging on
Banging on your drum
and never heed

I am wishing
that I was making
a list of all of the good things
that I ever done with my life
and everybody
says I have wasted
wasted every chance
I ever had to be somebody

Keep banging on
Banging on your drum
Keep banging on
And your day will come
Keep banging on
Banging on your drum
and never heed

No one lives forever
There’s business here I’ve got to finish
You won’t make your mind up
You won’t make your mind up

No one lives forever
There’s business here you’ve got to finish
You won’t make your mind up
You won’t make your mind up for me

And stand at your window
Shout it down to the people below
Everyone will figure
They are going to hear you

Keep banging on
Banging on your drum
Keep banging on
And your day will come
Keep banging on
Banging on your drum
and never heed

Woooh oh oh wooh oh
Woooh oh wooh oh oh
Woooh oh oh wooh oh
Woooh oh wooh oh oh

Keep banging on
Banging on your drum
Keep banging on
And your day will come
Keep banging on
Banging on your drum
and never heed

Keep banging on
Banging on your drum
Keep banging on
And your day will come
Keep banging on
Banging on your drum
and never heed