Craig Ferguson apologises to Australia
Craig Ferguson has apologised to Canberra on his talk show ... "I meant no offence at all. I love Australia. I'm a big fan of your animals that keep other animals in their pockets." Photo: Supplied
American TV talk-show host Craig Ferguson has apologised for dissing Canberra on his program.
Speaking on The Late Late Show on United States network CBS on Thursday, Ferguson said he was horrified that "everyone in Australia is mad at me".
The Scottish-born, Los Angeles-based funnyman sparked an online outcry at canberratimes.com.au two weeks ago when he mocked the Australian capital as "a [profanity censored] dump".
Actor Guy Pearce joined in with Ferguson's bagging of Canberra, prompting ACT Deputy Chief Minister Andrew Barr to tweet that the star of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert was off his "hot" list.
Pearce later apologised for his remarks, telling The Canberra Times he had been "a dickhead".
On Thursday's edition of his show, telecast in the early hours of this morning on channel Eleven, Ferguson asked his latest Australian guest, actress Toni Collette, to "apologise to everybody" for him when she went home.
He said he and Pearce were merely "joking about how Canberra is not the most exciting city in the world".
"I'm sorry," he said. "I meant no offence at all. I love Australia. I'm a big fan of your animals that keep other animals in their pockets.
"I adore Australia ... I'd hate not to be invited back, which I haven't been."
When Collette, appearing on The Late Late Show to promote her upcoming movie Jesus Henry Christ, invited Ferguson to join her Down Under for Christmas, he said he wasn't sure.
"Because I think everyone still hates me," he said.
"It's still too painful for me. The idea of having Australians upset at me is just awful."
Collette: "But they are very easygoing, Australians."
Ferguson: "Yes, until you say bad things about Canberra then they lose their minds."
The Oscar-nominated star of The Sixth Sense told Ferguson she lived "in Sydney, not Canberra", describing the harbour city as "culturally" the capital of Australia.
Ferguson said he had a lovely time in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide when he was younger, but had not visited Canberra.
Asked about Adelaide, Collette said she had always had a good time in the South Australian capital but described it as "spooky".
"It has the most churches of all the cities in Australia and also the most serial killers," she said.
"That's what it's known for. And my parents had their honeymoon there."
Ferguson said "the only strip club I've ever been in in my life" was in Adelaide.
Collette: "I danced on my first bar in Adelaide!"
Ferguson: "Did you really? Was it in the Crazy Horse Striptease Saloon?"
Collette: "I don't remember."
The actress wrapped up her appearance by informing Ferguson that Julia Gillard, "a female", was "currently" the Prime Minister of Australia.
"I think she may be on the way out," the Emmy-winning star of The United States of Tara told the bemused host.
Ferguson, smiling to the camera: "I think we all learned something this evening."