The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts People In TV

The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts

23,063 votes 3,239 voters 52,974 views 30 items tags f p @

List Criteria: Late night TV talk show hosts, past and present.

The all-time greatest late night talk show hosts have entertained us for years as we drift off to sleep. These hosts are charismatic, often hilarious and sometimes controversial. One thing they are not: They are never boring. From the early days of late night television to the current crop of late night hosts, this list includes some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry. Vote for the late night talk show hosts you enjoy the most, and vote down any that you believe are the most annoying TV hosts ever. You can also rerank this list in any order you like, and, if you have a favorite host who isn't listed: add them!

Let's face it: All late night TV hosts are not created equal. It takes a special skill set to continually present us with fresh, interesting information. We like our witty celebrities and comedians, so is it any wonder that some names on this list are also among the funniest people of all time? Stephen Colbert, Conan O'Brien and Jon Stewart are all excellent examples of hosts who possess that rare wit and the ability to think quickly (because in late night, you never know what will happen). And certainly, one of the most most famous late night talk show hosts of all time, Johnny Carson, was one of the most intelligent, likeable and genuinely funny people ever to grace the small screen.

If it seems like the late night TV talk show hosts field is dominated by men, it is, but there are a few notable exceptions. Comedian Chelsea Handler has carved out a nifty little niche for herself with her E! show 'Chelsea Lately.' And back in the day, Joan Rivers was actually a really great regular 'Tonight Show' permanent fill-in host. Unfortunately, Rivers' own late night TV talk show, 'The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers,' (circa 1986 on FOX), didn't fare well at all.

And then, of course, you've got the highly publicized and totally ridiculous late night TV host drama: 'The Tonight Show' showdown involving Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien. Late night television is big, big business, and the resulting conflicts that arise certainly reflect that fact.


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  • 44 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 1018
    - 294

    the people's #1
    The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Space Ghost, The Tonight Show

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  2. 2
    + 1164
    - 693


    Conan, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Andy Barker Photo Via: Shutterstock

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  3. 3
    + 912
    - 559

    most listed
    Everybody Loves Raymond, The Drew Carey Show, Late Show with David ...

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  4. 4
    + 816
    - 555


    The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, The Larry Sanders Show Leaving the Daily Show in 2015  Photo Via: Shutterstock

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  5. 5
    + 726
    - 541


    Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Crank Yankers, Win Ben Stein's Money Photo Via: Shutterstock

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  6. 6
    + 729
    - 541


    The Drew Carey Show, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Doc Martin ... Photo Via: Shutterstock

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  7. 7
    + 929
    - 655


    30 Rock, Saturday Night Live, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Photo Via: Shutterstock

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  8. 8
    + 835
    - 432


    The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Late Show with David Letterman Photo Via: Shutterstock

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  9. 9
    + 536
    - 318

    added by Trioxin245
    The Daily Show, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Important Things with ... Photo Via: Shutterstock

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  10. 10
    + 489
    - 776

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, ... Photo Via: Shutterstock

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  11. 11
    + 324
    - 289

    added by LaurieM
    The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The Tonight Show, What's My Line? ...

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  12. 12
    + 338
    - 215


    The Ed Sullivan Show

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  13. 13
    + 223
    - 386

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder, O'Grady, Science Court

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  14. 14
    + 292
    - 553

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Real Time with Bill Maher, Vice, Politically Incorrect Photo Via: Shutterstock

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  15. 15
    + 261
    - 214


    The Jack Paar Tonight Show, Bank on the Stars

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  16. 16
    + 273
    - 320


    Let's Dance for Comic Relief, The Graham Norton Show, I'd Do Anything Photo Via: Shutterstock

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  17. 17
    + 257
    - 257

    ranked low on reranks
    The Dick Cavett Show, Time Was Photo Via: Shutterstock

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  18. 18
    + 203
    - 285

    added by nmcompton444
    Saturday Night Live, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Saturday Night Live ... Photo Via: Shutterstock

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  19. 19
    + 188
    - 169


    Gavin & Stacey, Gavin and Stacey, The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder ... Photo Via: Shutterstock

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  20. 20
    + 214
    - 409


    The Real Ghostbusters, The Apprentice, The Arsenio Hall Show Photo Via: Shutterstock

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  21. 21
    + 142
    - 149

    added by lemonhead
    Monday Night Football, Dennis Miller Live, Dennis Miller Live Photo Via: Shutterstock

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  22. 22
    + 209
    - 410


    Are You There, Chelsea?, Chelsea Lately Photo Via: Shutterstock

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  23. 23
    + 134
    - 341

    added by VanessaHawelu
    The Daily Show, The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder, The Late Late Show ...

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  24. 24
    + 84
    - 125

    added by lemonhead
    What's My Line?, The Joey Bishop Show, The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast

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  25. 25
    + 104
    - 205

    added by clash1977
    Inside the NFL, NBC Sunday Night Football, Costas Now Photo Via: Shutterstock

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  26. 26
    + 38
    - 62

    added by emw917fm
    The Drew Carey Show, Whose Line Is It Anyway? (UK), Whose Line Is It ...

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  27. 27
    + 135
    - 326

    added by Trioxin245
    Community, Saturday Night Live, The Chevy Chase Show Photo Via: Shutterstock

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  28. 28
    + 11
    - 41

    about to drop off & added by Alex Farias
    Alan Carr: Chatty Man, The Big Fat Quiz of the Year, Channel 4's Comedy ...

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  29. 29
    + 72
    - 243

    often listed
    George Lopez, Inside the NFL, The Brothers García Photo Via: Shutterstock

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  30. 30
    + 3
    - 5

    new!
    Trevor Noah

31 +

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