Your favorite late night talk show host?

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#1 Edited by Ezekiel (2257 posts) -

Mine is Craig Ferguson. I can watch his interviews for hours. Whereas other shows feel rehearsed and the hosts fake their laughter, Craig's were always spontaneous, interesting and funny. I don't care about the movies celebrities come to advertise, I just wanna watch genuine conversations, which I get from Craig. Some of his guests weren't used to that, but he usually got them relaxed and interested. Harrison Ford was one of those. They spent a long time just talking about planes, both being pilots. His goal was to deconstruct the late night show.

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#2 Posted by RetroMetal (871 posts) -

The only late night guys I've ever liked were Carson, Letterman and Ferguson.

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#3 Posted by GiantLennonx_x (390 posts) -

I like conan and colbert ?

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#4 Posted by Pixel_Junkie (27 posts) -

Craig Ferguson and Conan. The rest now either try to pawn off their politics on me or are just not funny at all(Jimmy Fallon).

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#5 Posted by TheRealTurk (576 posts) -

Of the ones currently on the air, it's Colbert, followed by Kimmel. Never the saw the appeal of Conan other than some of his Clueless Gamer segments. Jimmy Fallon is basically a Macy's manikin that became sentient and started a late night show. He's terrible.

But I think if you count the number of legitimate, can't-stop-laughing moments, then it would be Ferguson by a mile. I wish he'd get another show.

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#6 Posted by deactivated-5a00c029ab7c1 (1777 posts) -

Colbert I love his impressions of that of one guy. dot dot dot dot

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#7 Edited by Nodima (2636 posts) -

Conan was mandatory viewing for me back when he was following up the Tonight Show, that guy ran the most consistently outrageous show on television for a solid decade. Post-college I haven't had any connection to cable wherever I've lived so I don't really watch night shows anymore, but I try to watch as much Colbert as I can (though I don't like how the style his bandleader's settled into for chiming in to his jokes) on Youtube. I really don't catch Conan at all anymore other than his special segments and Clueless Gamer which always feels a bit weird to me, but I actually still watch a lot of classic interviews with comedians. There might never be another late night host with as strong a rapport with comedians.

Fallon is the only one I don't care for but I do admit I watch a healthy amount of his variety show type stuff, especially if Timberlake is involved. Kimmel is the one I really don't keep up with at all but I like him a lot going back to the Man Show and, ironically, I think he's the most accessible and relatable of the current late night hosts.

I never liked Ferguson much and felt he was trying way too hard to be different back when I was deep into late night, but near the end of his career I saw some really wonderful interviews that were interesting on their own regardless of what the guest was there to talk about and I sort of wish I'd stayed more up to date on him in retrospect. I also appreciated that he would do the awkward, "well you certainly came to this conversation very, very dressed up," thing with beautiful women on his show but unlike Conan he wasn't afraid to actually flirt with them or just be flabbergasted in their presence, which made the schtick feel more natural than Conan's cat roar gimmick.

edit: I suppose I should share my thoughts on James Corden too if I'm just gonna run down everyone. I dig the different vibe he brings to the table and the ways he gets his guests more involved in the show (including almost always having both of them on the interview segments rather than one at a time; it used to always be very exciting when the first guest would stick around for the second, so even if its less organic I like the interplay between people you usually don't see interact with each other) but I've also always found the theater kid way of expression a little exhausting so he's not on must watch level for me.

I found Carson Daly's show low budget and awkward and dull for a 1AM time slot, but I don't envy being in that position at all. I always found Leno pretty dull but I also wish I hadn't grown up on Letterman when he was more coasting on his reputation than putting in the heavy lifting every night. The Larry Sanders caricature of him was certainly a riot though.

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#8 Posted by Shindig (4963 posts) -

Letterman's the only one I got this side of the pond so he's my go to.

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#9 Posted by mellotronrules (2624 posts) -

Craig Ferguson- never watched him on broadcast, but youtube has a pretty great trove of some of his longer interviews. He really felt like he was trying to have a conversation as opposed to hit predetermined talking points.

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#10 Posted by SSully (5635 posts) -

Colbert and Conan. I think Colbert pretty consistently has a decent monologue and guest line up, plus he actually has interesting interviews. Conan is just funny, and more recently he has good features (his travel stuff is usually really good). I watched Fallon for awhile - I think he easily has the best late night band (The Roots!!!), but he is possibly the worst interviewer out of anyone on late night. He just sucks up to every single guest and tries to move it along as quickly as possible to whatever game they got planned for the night. I get why he does the show how he does (it seems to be great for youtube), but fuck does it get old.

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#11 Edited by ajamafalous (13820 posts) -

I think Craig Ferguson was easily the best

I loved Late Night-era Conan

Letterman had a high floor

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#12 Edited by Zeik (5221 posts) -

Letterman was the one I watched the most consistently during his era. That was when late-night talk shows still mattered. I actually liked Conan more a lot of the time (especially around high school), but his show was so late that I didn't catch it that often.

Now I would say Colbert, but I don't really watch late night talk shows anymore, other than occasionally catching clips on Youtube. When he first started I was consuming his content on Youtube pretty religiously, but this last year has been such a steaming pile of garbage news all the time that I've gradually stopped even being able to laugh at it.

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#13 Edited by Lanechanger (1691 posts) -

+1 for craig ferguson, that guy is such a riot and it's always fun to see him go off the rails and see guests let loose with him.

Jimmy Fallon is basically a Macy's manikin that became sentient and started a late night show. He's terrible.

A Macy's manikin! *keels over and slaps table and laughs excessively*
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#14 Posted by SpaceInsomniac (6353 posts) -

Early Letterman was good, but Conan was just great for so many years. I never appreciated how much of that was his writing staff, until they all started to leave. Still a fun interviewer--and serious jibber jabber proved Conan can work off-script quite well--but the skits and the monologue have taken a huge hit to quality.

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#16 Posted by Cube (4410 posts) -

Stopped watching after Craig Ferguson left. Don't like any of them now.

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#17 Edited by Captain_Insano (3532 posts) -


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#18 Posted by flagranterror (70 posts) -

I guess I am the Jimmy Fallon lone wolf. I like that his show is just completely zany and takes only a modicum of mental effort to absorb after a long day.

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#19 Edited by OurSin_360 (6197 posts) -

Only ones i ever sat down and watched for any length of time were conan and arsenio hall. Everyone else was just kinda boring to me. I couldn't tell you much about arsenio though since i was a kid back then.

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#20 Posted by Rebel_Scum (1442 posts) -

Colbert and Fallon are ass kisser's. But even so I don't mind watching them once in a blue moon.

Letterman pre 00's was the go. He got a bit too stiff and you could tell he'd been doing it for too long judging by his monologues.

Ferguson is alright, but I can't stand his side kick.

Ed the sock was ok back in the day. But definitely a product of his time. I doubt he's worth watching nowadays.

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#21 Posted by JohnyMyko (1895 posts) -

From the ones currently on television, Conan and Jim Jeffries. But I barely watch Talk Shows anyway.

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#22 Posted by msouza1991 (73 posts) -

I was a huge Ferguson fan. Conan from the Late Show days was fantastic. The remote segments in particular from the Late Show were so great.

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#23 Edited by BoboBones (284 posts) -

Craig Ferguson, by a mile. Geoff Peterson was also the best sidekick. I actually watched every night for quite awhile. I've caught some of his XM show on YouTube, and I really enjoyed it. The front part of Secretariat is his sidekick for his radio show. Wish it wasn't on XM, though. (Sirius is still a thing?)

My dad would watch Carson reruns when I was younger, and he's my second favorite. Letterman always seemed to have the best musical guests, though.

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#24 Posted by lun49gameon (268 posts) -

I started with jay leno and david letterman back in 2010 when I was still in high school. One day I found out about Craig Ferguson and just kept watching him. He had a different take on late night and I liked how he tried to have genuine conversations with his guests. I also really like Conan, his shows in other countries are real fun to watch.

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#25 Posted by Onemanarmyy (4501 posts) -

Jeff Gerstmann - Unprofessional Fridays.

It's always on at midnight for me :)

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#26 Posted by ds9143 (272 posts) -

I think they all are pretty terrible. I know it's not late night, but the daily show will never recover from losing Jon Stewart.

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#27 Edited by deactivated-5b85a38d6c493 (1990 posts) -

Most of them I don't think are particularly funny or good interviewers. They all act pretty sleazy and fake laughs (not just Fallon) plus the interviews are always so pre-written and rehearsed that they're just unbearable to sit through most of the time.

I would say Letterman was the better interviewer, partly because he brought in some actually interesting guests over the years, not just your average boring vapid celebrity whose most interesting topic is the plugging of his/her movie/tv-show. He was also pretty quick on his feet.
When it comes to subpar TV comedy, for me late night shows are just a small step up from SNL, stand-up and laugh track sitcoms.

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#28 Edited by Shiftygism (1066 posts) -

Letterman and Ferguson.

I was a pretty big fan of Tom Snyder years back.

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#29 Edited by FearMyFlop (121 posts) -

@ds9143: I think Jon Oliver is fucking killing it right now

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#30 Posted by Spoonman671 (5874 posts) -

They all kind of suck, but I like when Conan does a travel episode.

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#31 Edited by flameboy84 (898 posts) -

James Corden for me. Slightly biased as I'm English and apparently we don't get daily talk shows, as every time we try to make one on UK tv they fail.

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#32 Posted by OMGFather (1061 posts) -

Ferguson was a true master flirt with all the ladies.

I like Conan the best. Bonus is that he does those Clueless Gamer episodes, though they do seem to have gone down the more celebrity route with that lately which is a shame.

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#33 Posted by ShaggE (9302 posts) -

I don't really watch any of them, but when I do catch an episode, I like Conan. I miss his older, weirder stuff, but he's still funny. If we're talking "all-timers", though, then Johnny Carson all the way.

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#34 Edited by monetarydread (2890 posts) -

@therealturk said:

But I think if you count the number of legitimate, can't-stop-laughing moments, then it would be Ferguson by a mile. I wish he'd get another show.

Craig Fergusson is starting up a new kind-of talk show on Youtube. He does long-form interviews with people like Neil Degrass Tyson, Arianna Huffington, and a bunch of other people about specific topics.

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#35 Posted by citan359 (44 posts) -


Was scrolling down here to mention this. Loved Craig's show, excited to see how this turn out.
I've always been a little confused about the love of Conan and dislike of Jimmy, both rank about the same in my book as having some decent bits and the occasional good interview but the day to day is largely forgettable. I need to check back in and see how Colbert is now, was a huge fan of the report but the Late Night show has never stuck with me. I haven't watched any in a while now, all I really recall at this point is Seth Myers show was the worst I've ever seen.

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#36 Posted by clagnaught (2140 posts) -

I don't really watch late night shows (never have), but I like Colbert.

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#37 Posted by TheCitizenKaneOfThings (142 posts) -

I still vaguely like Conan and Colbert, but the true kings of late-night are Desus and Mero, obviously

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#38 Posted by MrXakaRebel (66 posts) -

Desus and Mero

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#39 Posted by deactivated-5a0917a2494ce (1350 posts) -

Conan’s stuff he does on the streets and abroad is amazing. Colbert just isn’t funny, he’s a stereotypical angry left-winger. The rest are just dull.

Letterman in his prime was he best; he did amazing stuff.

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#40 Posted by TheManWithNoPlan (7838 posts) -

Conan, I suppose. I used to watch Colbert report religiously, but fell completely off when he switch shows.

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#41 Posted by Sanj (3257 posts) -

Graham Norton.

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#42 Posted by Shindig (4963 posts) -

See, I never really counted Norton as late night. He's the best we've got, given that the alternative is someone like Jonathan Ross.

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#43 Posted by Mister_V (2450 posts) -

@sanj said:

Graham Norton.

The only correct answer

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#44 Posted by gamer_152 (14778 posts) -

If Eric Andre counts, it's Eric Andre. I think some of his pranks have gone a little far but his surreal humour and the sense that reality could fall apart on his show at any second is fantastic. If I need to pick a serious one then probably Colbert. He's classy and friendly without being too over-the-top.

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#45 Posted by Lazyimperial (486 posts) -

Craig Ferguson, 100%. I was very sad when he burned out on late night television and resigned, but I couldn't fault him. He went full octane for 10 years. Man deserved a break (and, presumably, the money he received from the network since he didn't contest for Letterman's slot).

As for the current crop... none of the above. I never got into Conan or Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon's fake laughing at every other comment his guests make irks me, and Colbert disappoints me immensely. He had a great debut episode, but that was an episode with six months of production lead-up. Making five episodes a week for an extended period of time and keeping them fresh is an entirely different beast, and his Late Show fell into a lamentable cycle of diminishing returns, to such an extent that the rumor mills and tabloids began to openly contemplate how long it would be until he would be let go. Then he found his salvation and new comfort zone: the low hanging fruit of partisan BS.

It's a rut just like before, but with greater market share. Besides, what person ever gets hired of hearing how awful, stupid, and deplorable their opponents and socio-political rivals are? Colbert found his niche, at long last, and I am very much not part of it. Nor do I ever intend to be. He could do better, and he has done better, but I get it: he needs the ratings and he has a crew to keep employed. Fair enough, but it's a shame to see such talent squandered on endless vitriol, hateful diatribes, and holier-than-thou soapbox preaching.

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#46 Posted by JohnLocke (758 posts) -

Host with guests: Craig Ferguson or early Conan. I really like the random things Craig would get up to (musical intros, talking to guests, the side jokes etc) and his style of interviewing people seemed to put them at ease. I like early Conan when he is doing skits and joking with guests etc. Also his travel videos and trips out were great. However, I feel now he is getting less fun and seems burnt out or pessimistic maybe?

Hosts without a regular guest section/not known for interviews per say: John Oliver and Jon Stewart. Both of them do really good work in terms of asking questions people perhaps should be asking whilst making jokes of situations or making me think "yeah, why is nobody doing something about this?"

It is a shame there are no real UK versions of this. I guess maybe Last Leg is sort of there politics wise but feels like they do not really dedicate a whole episode to deep diving into an issue. Graham Norton can be good at times, not really seen much of Pierce Morgan or Johnathon Ross so can not speak to them but past experiences just felt super scripted with them.

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#47 Edited by Shindig (4963 posts) -

Jonathan Ross just never felt good with guests, to me. I remember an awkward interview with Morrisey which was just him going, "I want to be your friend, Morrisey." for 15 minutes. Plus the whole Russell Brand stuff where they harass a man with Alzheimers. And I'll never give Piers Morgan any dues for his time at News of the World whilst the phone hacking was under wraps.

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#48 Posted by Dragon_Puncher (619 posts) -

Craig Ferguson is the GOAT because he never gave a damn about the script and did it however he wanted. He's an improv master and one of the few people who can keep up with crazy comedians like Robin Williams. Early Letterman, Conan, Colbert and of course the all time great Carson are all really good though.

And while I don't really watch a lot of Jimmy Kimmel, I respect the hell out of his personal and heartfelt monologues.

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#49 Posted by ALavaPenguin (948 posts) -

Conan was always my favorite. I only ever watch talk shows off and on over the years, but Conan to be has consistently been the best. Not that I always like what he does to be clear.

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#50 Posted by Slaps2 (638 posts) -

I'm becoming a big fan of Jimmy Kimmel recently for entirely unfunny reasons, but I've loved Conan for a while and I'll always be a huge fan of the old Daily Show crew and what they are doing recently. Sam Bee, Oliver, and Colbert will always be great.