Craig Ferguson, Meet Cornel West

107505282 Craig Ferguson, Meet Cornel WestTonight, while Jimmy Fallon reads Tweets, Craig Ferguson will kick off Black History Month with guests Cornel West and George Clinton. The Late Late Show host has always placed great emphasis on his immigrant status, and the show is intended — at least in part — as a sort of civics lesson on race in America, for anyone still awake.

The episode would never be aired at 11:35 — neither West nor Clinton has a film to promote — and could well be a titanic bore. But after Conan O’Brien’s new show on TBS seemed to promise a shaking-up of the old form, and immediately returned to the celebrity-and-musical-guest template, it’s nice to see something new on late night (aside from the aforementioned Tweet-reading). Or, more properly, something old: what’s Ferguson, at least tonight, but Dick Cavett, who interviewed the likes of Norman Mailer and Gore Vidal on his late night show?

But does this mean Cornel West is our Gore Vidal?

ddaddario@observer.com :: @DPD_