Fans of the Late Late Show undoubtedly know Geoffrey Peterson, the gay robot skeleton sidekick of TV’s Craig Ferguson. I have to admit; initially I was not much of a fan of wise cracking automaton, but thanks to a number of upgrades, including self-awareness, I’ve grown to love the animatronic lunkhead.
Geoff made his first appearance on the Late Late Show on Monday, April 5, 2010. He was the brainchild of Craig Ferguson and the culmination of several running gags on the late night talk show. Prior to Geoff’s creation, Craig Ferguson could often be found bemoaning his lack of a sidekick. This, combined with Mr. Ferguson’s expressed desire to possess his own “robot skeleton army”, led to the creation of Geoff Peterson.
Modeled after the cybernetic robots from the Terminator films, Geoff differs from his movie counterparts in a number of ways. Geoff has glowing blue eyes rather than red, and unlike his movie relatives, sports a metal Mohawk. His ensemble is completed with an over-sized suit and nametag from The Price is Right.
Originally designed and built by Grant Imahara of MythBusters, Geoff was upgraded in July 2010. The upgrades allow Geoff to shake his head, hold his mouth agape, and use his right hand to perform what could be interpreted as a sexual act. Craig attributes this to the activation of his “wise ass” chip.
New York magazine’s Vulture blog described him (Geoff Peterson) as “the de facto animatronic ‘King of the One-Liners” for this generation
Craig Ferguson originally did the voice work for Geoffrey Peterson’s first week on the show. This was done through a series of pre-taped recordings. Ferguson’s voice work gave Geoff a slight English accent, and could be described as difficult to decipher, abrasive and drawn out. After one week, the voice work was given to Josh Robert Thompson, a regular performer on the show. Thompson is well known for his impressions of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Morgan Freeman, both of which he has preformed on the show. Josh describes the voice of Geoff Peterson as
One part Snagglepuss, one part Vincent Price, two parts George Takei
Initially, the robot was limited in his comments and responses. This was due to the pre-recorded nature of the material. Josh Thompson would record a series of phrases, which would then be uploaded onto an iPad. During the show, the phrases would be triggered offstage by one of the program’s writers. Anyone familiar with the show will recognize Geoff Peterson catch phrases such as, “Oprah?”, “Balls!”, “CBS Cares” and oft-repeated “In your pants”. Eventually, Geoff Peterson was voiced and operated entirely by Josh Thompson. According to one video posted to YouTube by Thompson himself, the exchanges between Craig and the robot are “100% unplanned and unscripted”.
At this point, you may be asking yourself; what does all of this have to do with tablets? Fair question. First of all, I admit that I’m a big fan of the Late Late Show, Craig Ferguson, and Geoff Peterson. So… you can consider this to be a bit of a plug. Nevertheless, I did mention that, in the early days, Geoff’s responses were triggered by an iPad, so that’s the tablet link. Lastly, you could bring up the title of this article, which is “Build Your Own Robot Skeleton Sidekick”.
Grant Imahara of MythBusters volunteered to create the Late Late robot if Craig could get him 100,000 followers on Twitter. Mr. Ferguson was able to achieve the goal within 24 hours, thanks in part to his legion of Twitter followers. Interestingly enough, Craig refers to his Twitter fans as his “robot skeleton army”. So… in closing, if you can provide Grant Imahara with either money or something else he deeply desires, I’m sure he’ll be more than happy to make one for you. You already have the tablet, so… you’re well on your way. Go get ‘em, Tiger. Rrrrrrrr.
PS, if you want a good laugh, check out the featured YouTube video below where “Geoff Peterson makes Craig Ferguson CRY!”. Funny, funny stuff.