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Craig Ferguson Getting Mocked By Guest : How To Handle This As A Host?

Craig Ferguson is usually very witty and charming.
And he makes the guest comfortable.
The conversations are usually very interesting and funny.

However, this time, his guest Windell comes to his show and mocks him for a particular incident.
Windell has a high-warmth, expressive mannerism during this show.
Craig is known to be a friendly host as well.
This makes countering and standing up to his mocking statements challenging.

Craig was trying to move on from that topic.
Windell keeps hammering Craig at this topic to make him uncomfortable.

Here is a conversation snippet of Windell going at Craig repeatedly:

Craig: Up until now, I was the only one in trouble. (Windell pointed out an incident about Craig earlier)

Windell: Yeah see, you get people into trouble.

Craig: No, I don't. I don't.

Windell: Yes, you've been talking about the Pope all day. (reference the same incident again, hammering away to make Craig uncomfortable)

Craig: No, I have not man. No, I have not.

Windell: Look, it was not inspiring to me either.
A bunch of old white people looking lost is not inspiring.

Craig: (uncomfortably looks at the side with the "why is he doing this to me" face)

Craig: Are you Catholic?

Windell: No

Craig: Ah I see yeah, yeah, yeah ...

Windell: No, I'm a Christian. Not a Catholic.

Craig: Right, right, right ...
So how about ... uhhh

Windell: Now we are going to change the subject

Craig: Are those ...? What are those sneakers?

Windell: They are white sneakers.
Quite far from that topic.

Craig: Come on. So how have you been?

Craig Tries to Point Out His Behaviour But It Doesn't Work

Craig tries to draw a line in the sand in the middle of the talk show:

Windell: Now that you say it, I'm good ... (sounds sarcastic)

Craig: You're mocking me a little bit tonight I think

Windell: I am not mocking you.

Craig: (raises voice a bit) You're mocking me a little bit.

Windell: I am not mocking you.

Craig: (looks at him with cynical eyes) A little bit.

Windell: No, not at all. I like you Craig.

Craig: (points finger) Ah you see, right there, there was mocking
There was definitely mocking there.
I saw it in your eyes.

Windell: That's called mystery.

Craig: Mystery?

Windell: Ah you don't know what I'm thinking.

Craig: I feel like I'm a girl on a date.

Windell: You know I got that kind of power baby.

Craig: Yeah you do.

Windell: Well, you look good.
So don't feel like I'm mocking you.
Cause I'm not mocking you.

Craig: You're continuing to mock me.

WindellI'm not continuing to mock you.
I'm just trying to have a nice conversation with a good man.
Is that okay?

Craig: (gives the extremely cynical look)

Windell: You look nervous now? Aren't you?

Craig: Yeah a little bit. (slight pause) A little bit.

Windell: Don't be nervous. Where you'd get that cup?

Craig tries to frame Windell as mocking him.
I think the audience intuitively knows that Windell is mocking him.
Because it feels quite obvious.
However, Craig didn't manage to stop Windell's behaviour and may come across as a bit weak.

Should You Go Stronger To Draw A Line in the Sand?

I feel that Craig should have gone stronger to draw a line in the sand.
Or even throw some humour back at Windell to get out of the dynamic that he is reacting to Windell's mocking remarks.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Hey Mattthew,

As a first warning:

Humorous and entertainment-first conversations are a bit different, and especially so when both people seek to make comedy and entertainment.

Taking a hit and laughing at a value-taking joke might become a sign of strength (I can dish out but also take it), as well as a "win" for both if they're making the audience laugh and/or keeping them entertained, as that's the final goal of an entertainer.

There are still power dynamics of course, but how and when to apply the strategies and techniques changes.
Some comedians turn it into a race to who takes the piss out of each other the most, and then you could see it all as a huge covert power move -but rather than surfacing or drawing boundaries, you're mostly stuck at fighting back with humor if you're an entertainer yourself-.
The rules on how to draw boundaries, as you say, change with comedy, and you must be careful not doing it too early or too strongly (generally, the goal posts move farther away, and you should generally be chiller).

In this case, I didn't see much mocking, and even less so I haven't seen much value-taking mocking.

Take this one:

Windell: Now that you say it, I'm good ... (sounds sarcastic)

That came after Ferguson asked him "do you like to eat", that was an obvious hint at the fact Windell is overweight.
Plus, Windell's line is one of those lines that is a half-joke, but also gives power to the receiver (it's a humorous judge role-giving, but we know there is some truth behind jokes).

So when Ferguson started calling out mocking again, that felt like overdoing it to Windell -and I felt the same way-.

After that exchange, Windell takes control. His line "you are nervous now aren't you", was a huge power move and when he changed the subject, he took the leadership.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Also a good technique here was one that we have yet to name and describe.

I'd call it "it's just you" for now.

And it works like this:

Windell: Look, it was not inspiring to me either.
A bunch of old white people looking lost is not inspiring.
Craig: Oh, you didn't find it good?

It's a small detail, but when you say "you didn't", you are implying that it's him, his opinion.
And he might not be an authority.

Now the frame is not anymore "it wasn't cool" VS "it was cool", but it's "YOU didn't find it cool", and that moves to the level of a personal opinion.
And you can later counter it with "well, it made me and a bunch of other people laugh, but I still appreciate your opinion on this".

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Also, notice this technique is much subtler.

It doesn't break the flow like frame imposing, or even surfacing.
It just subtly disempowers their frames. Some people won't even realize what happened, and most of those who do won't have the quick-wit to fix it on the fly.

If they found out, they'd reply like this:

Him: Well, it isn't just me, lots of people think that way


Him: Yeah, but it isn't just me, it just was not cool

But you're still better off, since now your moves are easy, with:

You: WHO thinks that way?


You: Well, a lot of people think it was cool

And with the last one, at worst, you end with a draw (your camp, VS my camp).

Or if he wanted to power move:

You: Well, a lot of non-Christians thought it was cool

Now he frames his view as puritanical, and him as a religious zealot.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?