"If they had done more of that, I probably wouldn't have quit," he said after he received a rousing applause from the in-studio audience and thanked the fans for their support. "This show belongs to you and I hope you keep it because I'm done with it," he said, before clarifying, "I'm not retiring."
A night after Stephen Colbert ended The Colbert Report with a splashy musical number, Ferguson also assembled some of his nearest (and most famous) friends for a rousing, pre-taped musical number set to the tune of "Bang Your Drum" that also included clips from his show over the years. (The best was Kristen Bell banging on her own very pregnant belly instead of a drum).
A big part of the episode was Ferguson's lengthy interview with ex-Tonight Show host Jay Leno, who are both now "just two guys with nothing to do," as Ferguson pointed out. However, the last 10 minutes of The Late Late Show were a brilliant mix of callbacks for loyal viewers and pop culture homage.
After nine years, Ferguson's horse friend Secretariat finally removed its helmet to reveal that none other than Emmy winner Bob Newhart has been under there all along. In a nod to the series finale of Newhart, Ferguson then woke up in bed next to Drew Carey, his thick Scottish accent replaced with an English one, and Ferguson was once again known as Mr. Wick, his character from the long-running Drew Carey Show .
"It was the most extraordinary dream. I was the host of a late-night talk show," Ferguson told his companion. "And you were the host of a game show. ... You lost all this weight and you looked fantastic, but I was stuck in a cheap, dimly lit studio with a robot skeleton and a fake horse and I had to be there for 10 years."
After Carey calmed him down and contemplated whether to lose that weight in real life - but skinny people aren't as funny! - the two went back to sleep and, in a nod to the series finale of St. Elsewhere, a snow globe sat on his nightstand with Ferguson, Secretariat and Geoff inside.
James Corden takes over The Late Late Show on March 23. Will you miss Ferguson?
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