BY STUART LEVINE

In what has become a tradition, Craig Ferguson delivered pizzas to critics Saturday during their annual membership meeting.

This year's delivery — from Joe Mantegna's Italian joint "Taste of Chicago" in Burbank — arrived not as a bribe for good press but rather because Ferguson is a genuinely nice guy.Craig

The Scot, who just received his pilot's license on Friday, has certainly been flying high for the net. Not just because of solid ratings but due to his honesty with guests and the audience. And for his unconventional approach to being funny.

"I I think my show is probably closer to “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” than anything else I’ve seen, and that is an aspiration. That’s a great show.I don’t — I don’t know where we are, but wherever we are, we won’t be that next week. I do know that. That’s why the puppets won’t stay forever. It’s important to keep
moving," he said.

Ferguson, who became an official Yank last year when he was granted citizenship, said being an American means more to him than he can put in words.

"There’s something else attached to becoming an American, too. I’m sure most of you will have contact with an older member of your family or a relative or somebody who became an American. There is a melancholy attached to it. There is a strangeness attached to leaving your past and making the new country your present, and I wanted to not shy away from that, too. So it’s — but it’s very important to me. It’s the defining thing of my own weltanschuaang, if you like, that America, for me,is a philosophical and emotional decision and not just — it’s not just jingoistic. I think it’s certainly notjust political. It’s not a donkey or an elephant. It’s a flag and an idea. It’s a dream. It’s a belief infairness of opportunity. It’s very important to me."

In dealing with Worldwide Pants boss David Letterman, Ferguson is quick to sing his praises. And, as everything else Ferguson says, it sounds completely genuine — and hysterically funny.

"I’m very happy to work for him and to work close to him, but if there is — if there is a successor
to Johnny, then, of course, it’s David. And so it’s not that really. My relationship with David
Letterman is that I sit at his feet, and that’s what it is. I’m kind of his bitch."

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