White House Dinner Teaches the World Something I Already Knew: Craig Ferguson Is God
I first wrote those words back in 2006, when I was transfixed by the stream of consciousness monologues CBS' Late Late Show host would spin every night. In the same way that David Letterman and Conan O'Brien were more interesting when the world wasn't paying attention, Ferguson was spell-binding back then, occasionally using the monologue for serious statements on his relationship with his dad or how he felt, as a recovering addict, the time had come to stop making fun of Britney Spears.
I wrote a story about Ferguson last year that seemed to be reprinted all over the place, based on spending a half hour with the unassuming Scotsman and hanging out for a show taping. He shared about his love for South Florida and let slip that he might walk away from the show when his five years contract expires.
Now, everyone loves Ferguson because he hit a home run over the weekend as the keynote speaker for the White House Correspondents Dinner, tweaking President Bush and Dick Cheney with the right mixture of deference and sass (on Cheney: "He's funny for an evil guy."), while paying tribute to his own new status as a recently-approved citizen and even dinging the New York Times for passing up the dinner after Jayson Blair and Judith Miller already ruined their journalistic reputation.
Watching Craig dissect the dinner last night, it's obvious he's not as freewheeling as he used to be. The set's nicer, the jokes a little more predictable and his ratings have risen above media darling O'Brien's for the first time in his tenure. See a take from Europe here.
I think America's finally about to discover what I've been preaching for years, and Ferguson may find leaving the late night gig as he's peaking tougher than he anticipates.
Check out his dinner speech here: