Thank you, LSU fans: The final edition of the Bayou Bengal Briefing
Here’s a forgotten bit of television trivia to start your morning: The final episodes of The Colbert Report and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson aired on back-to-back nights. Colbert ended its run on Dec. 18, 2014, and Ferguson’s Late Late Show came to a close on Dec. 19.
The Colbert Report was the nominally better show. The show won seven Emmys, two Peabody Awards, two Grammys and the 2007 Spike Guys’ Choice Award for Gutsiest Move, beating out Boise State football coach Chris Petersen. (That’s a real fact.) But for my money, Ferguson’s show was more enjoyable. The laughs were bigger. The moments were zanier. There was a talking robot skeleton and two men in a horse costume and an old-timey telephone and awkward pauses and big cash prizes and a very shy house band. If you liked laughing yourself to sleep, Ferguson was your late-night host. And for a large chunk of my life, Ferguson was my host of choice.
As you’d expect, no one eulogized The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Honestly, I bet there are some people reading this right now who’ve never heard of the show, despite the fact that it aired more than 2,000 episodes on CBS. All the think pieces and odes to genius that week went to The Colbert Report — a show I adored, for what it’s worth. But for the loyal fans like myself who tuned in for one last night of Ferguson’s antics on Dec. 19, his finale landed harder. Because laughs are laughs. Funny is funny. And Ferguson’s show was straight up, unfiltered funny.
What’s all this got to do with anything? Allow me to explain. My name is Nick Suss. For the last year and nine months, I’ve written the Bayou Bengal Briefing for SEC Country. By my estimation, I’ve written 460 Bayou Bengal Briefings, dating back to the first on Sept. 16, 2016. In all, I’ve written just over 1,700 stories for SEC Country, which means about a quarter of my job for the last two years has been writing this column.
On Thursday, I said goodbye to the good stuff. The prestige stuff. My favorite stories and moments of covering LSU for SEC Country. That was my Colbert Report finale. Those are the memories and work samples I’ll carry with me to every future job I have in this industry.
But today? Today we’re going out Craig Ferguson style. This is the final edition of the Bayou Bengal Briefing. It was a labor of love. Emphasis on labor. Every day for two years I churned out around 1,000 words about LSU football or baseball or recruiting or basketball or gymnastics or softball or whatever was in the news that day. It was the best way imaginable to stay informed on a beat and made me look at the relationship between sports and gathering news differently than I ever had before.
All the PR crap aside, though, it was also a fulfillment of a lifelong dream to write the Bayou Bengal Briefing. I decided I wanted to become a sportswriter because of columns like this one. Growing up, I would get home from school and log on to the family computer to read long columns that were technically about sports, but also wove in references to pop culture and science and history and politics. The wordsmiths who managed to relate sports to forgotten pop culture relics were my heroes. I wanted to be just like them.
So when I was hired by SEC Country and told that writing this column would be one of my main responsibilities, I was elated. I quickly made it my own. Barely a week into writing the Briefing, I was already comparing Tony the Tiger to Hobbes as a way of previewing LSU’s football game against Auburn. By my count, I’ve celebrated 128 made-up holidays, referenced Arrested Development nine times and shared a video starring Chug Clamato and The King of Hats once. The Briefing has covered everything from Les Miles’ acting career to Odell Beckham Jr.’s infatuation with kicking nets to the time Ed Orgeron got really excited about playing in the rain.
It’s been a fun run. There were nights where the last thing I wanted to do was slap together a Bayou Bengal Briefing. But like Dorothy saying goodbye to the Scarecrow, I think I’ll miss this column most of all.
SEC Country ends operations on Saturday. I will always be eternally grateful to the people at SEC Country for taking a chance on me as a kid straight out of college and letting me cover one of the highest-profile college beats in the country. I’ll always be grateful to the people of Louisiana for accepting me and taking me in after I moved here without knowing a soul in the state. And most of all, I’ll be grateful to the readers for putting up with my puns and quips and endless backdoor allusions to the music of The Replacements.
I don’t want you to be sad that this column is going away. Leave that to me. So if this made you feel emotional, I think I know something that might make you feel better. Here, in all its glory, is the final episode of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. I hope it makes you as happy as it makes me.