From his stand-up act and his work on 'The Drew Carey Show', Craig Ferguson had established a pretty good track record of funny going into his hiring as Craig Kilborn's replacement on 'The Late Late Show'. That potential hasn't quite beared out yet, though, and I'm scratching my head as to why. His monolgues rarely draw more than a token laugh, and his bits in the pre-interview portion of the show (whether it be staring down soap star Dan McVicar in an old, already-been-done bit or putting on various wigs and calling it comedy in something called "Celebrity Grab Bag") are howlingly unfunny; James Adomian's George W. Bush skits are practically the only good bits Ferguson has. Ferguson is saved, however, by being quite a good interviewer, charming, witty, and self-deprecating. Personally, Ferguson is quite funny, but it's yet to show up on his new show.
In the five months after the paragraph above was written, many things in the world have changed. Hurricane Katrina devastated millions of people (and pretty much sealed George W. Bush's fate as incompetent prez par excellence), we had to replace not one but two Supreme Court justices, Saddam Hussein has gone to trial, and... oh yeah, all of a sudden Craig Ferguson's show got really funny. His monologues, previously pale imitations of Leno's and Conan's, suddenly became laugh-out-loud meanderings through Ferguson's slightly-off mind. "Grab bag" and staredowns with Dan McVicar have all but disappeared in favor of much funnier bits like Sean Connery's "This Day in History" and "George Bush is drinking again". On the one-year anniversary of his show's debut, Ferguson has gone from a stale Late Night knock-off to the clear successor to David Letterman, if and when the latter ever hangs it up. So, kudos to you, Craig, for spicing up late-night in recent months. Keep up the good work.