Late-Night Comic: Give Britney a Break

ByABC News via via logo

Feb. 21, 2007 — -- Britney Spears' self-destructive meltdown has provided plenty of material for comics.

But one man is not laughing: Craig Ferguson, host of the "Late, Late Show," says enough is enough.

"So tonight, no Britney Spears jokes here," Ferguson said on his show Monday night.

"I'm starting to feel uncomfortable about making fun of these people," he said. "And for me, comedy should have a certain amount of joy in it. Attacking the politicians and the Trumps and the blowhards, go after them. We shouldn't be attacking the vulnerable people."

Ferguson seems to be one of the only voices asking that the volume be turned down to allow the 25-year-old pop star a moment to think and remember who she was before she made the soul-destroying bargain of the hunted with the hunters.

Spears has been in the limelight since she was an 11-year-old Mouseketeer.

But she has only a ninth-grade education and her big voice. If that disappears, what will she have left?

She said in an interview if her careers vanished she'd probably go back to Louisiana to work with crawfish.

"It's really weird, like, I enjoy my life and love what I do," Spears told Diane Sawyer in a 2003 interview for "Primetime."

"But at the same time, even though we didn't have that much then, I was really happy. Like I'm looking back right now, just the simplicity of life, it was very nice," Spears said.

Ferguson said Monday that addiction had nearly destroyed his life.

"This Sunday I was 15 years sober," Ferguson said on his show. "I don't know if Britney Spears is an alcoholic. I don't know if she's an alcoholic or not, but she clearly needs help. This woman has two kids. She's 25 years old. She's a baby herself. She's a baby."

As everyone knows, being a child star is to be lured into deeper and deeper waters, trying to please the public.

Drew Barrymore was a megastar at age 7 and a drug addict by age 12, snorting coke, going to rehab, and finally cleaning up.

"I just made it happen for myself," Barrymore has said. "I got emancipated. And, you know, I felt like my life in a lot of ways really started over at that point. "

Robert Downey Jr. first tried marijuana when he was 8 years old, and has said it takes discipline every day to stay sober.

"You know, this vigilance is really key," Downey has said.

So many stars have struggled with addiction and relapse, from comic Robin Williams to model Naomi Campbell.

"I think what is scary about cocaine is you start to feel too confident. You start to feel indispensable, and no one is indispensable," Campbell said in an interview with "Primetime" in 2004.

In the midst of a tabloid inquisition, there is also a bit of sympathy from a stranger.

"You know what I did hear? That Britney has gone into rehab, so good for her," Ferguson said. "That's it. That's all I got. Good for you, Britney. Go get 'em girl, or whatever you say."

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