Reality Television Personalities The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts  

Originally by
39.3k votes 5.3k voters 76.1k views 44 items Embed

List Rules 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.
list ordered by

1
1,552 522
Johnny Carson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Johnny Carson The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Space Ghost, The Tonight Show

The Best Seasons of Saturday Night Live The Best Animated Films Ever

2
1,886 1,108
Conan O'Brien is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Conan O'Brien Conan, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Andy Barker - Photo Via: Shutterstock

3
1,383 909
David Letterman is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
David Letterman Everybody Loves Raymond, The Drew Carey Show, Late Show with David Letterman

4
1,158 882
Craig Ferguson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Craig Ferguson The Drew Carey Show, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Doc Martin - Photo Via: Shutterstock

5
1,194 922
Jimmy Kimmel is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Jimmy Kimmel Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Crank Yankers, Win Ben Stein's Money - Photo Via: Shutterstock

6
1,316 887
Jon Stewart is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Jon Stewart The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, The Larry Sanders Show - Leaving the Daily Show in 2015   Photo Via: Shutterstock

7
1,395 776
Stephen Colbert is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Stephen Colbert The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Late Show with David Letterman - Photo Via: Shutterstock

8
1,476 1,185
Jimmy Fallon is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Jimmy Fallon 30 Rock, Saturday Night Live, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon - Photo Via: Shutterstock

9
996 612
John Oliver is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Trioxin245 added John Oliver The Daily Show, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Important Things with Demetri Martin - Photo Via: Shutterstock

10
810 1,210
Jay Leno is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Jay Leno The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Tonight Show - Photo Via: Shutterstock

11
565 364
Ed Sullivan is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Ed Sullivan The Ed Sullivan Show

12
470 440
Steve Allen is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
LaurieM added Steve Allen The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The Tonight Show, What's My Line?

13
504 497
Graham Norton is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Graham Norton Let's Dance for Comic Relief, The Graham Norton Show, I'd Do Anything - Photo Via: Shutterstock

14
497 367
James Corden is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
James Corden Gavin & Stacey, Gavin and Stacey, The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder - Photo Via: Shutterstock

15
385 351
Jack Paar is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Jack Paar The Jack Paar Tonight Show, Bank on the Stars

The Best Saturday Night Live Characters of All Time 8 TV Actors Who Turned Out Just Like Their Characters

16
481 851
Bill Maher is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Bill Maher Real Time with Bill Maher, Vice, Politically Incorrect - Photo Via: Shutterstock

17
385 397
Dick Cavett is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Dick Cavett The Dick Cavett Show, Time Was - Photo Via: Shutterstock

18
419 521
Seth Meyers is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
nmcompton444 added Seth Meyers Saturday Night Live, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday - Photo Via: Shutterstock

19
300 553
Tom Snyder is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Tom Snyder The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder, O'Grady, Science Court

20
331 596
Arsenio Hall is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Arsenio Hall The Real Ghostbusters, The Apprentice, The Arsenio Hall Show - Photo Via: Shutterstock

21
269 327
Dennis Miller is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
lemonhead added Dennis Miller Monday Night Football, Dennis Miller Live, Dennis Miller Live - Photo Via: Shutterstock

22
290 659
Chelsea Handler is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Chelsea Handler Are You There, Chelsea?, Chelsea Lately - Photo Via: Shutterstock

23
198 511
Craig Kilborn is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
VanessaHawelu added Craig Kilborn The Daily Show, The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder, The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn

24
187 350
Bob Costas is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
clash1977 added Bob Costas Inside the NFL, NBC Sunday Night Football, Costas Now - Photo Via: Shutterstock

25
159 200
Trevor Noah is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Trevor Noah

26
159 177
Drew Carey is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
emw917fm added Drew Carey The Drew Carey Show, Whose Line Is It Anyway? (UK), Whose Line Is It Anyway?

27
149 249
Joey Bishop is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
lemonhead added Joey Bishop What's My Line?, The Joey Bishop Show, The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast

28
143 424
George Lopez is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
George Lopez George Lopez, Inside the NFL, The Brothers GarcĂ­a - Photo Via: Shutterstock

29
202 481
Chevy Chase is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Trioxin245 added Chevy Chase Community, Saturday Night Live, The Chevy Chase Show - Photo Via: Shutterstock

The Most Annoying TV Hosts 39 Ways to Repel a Potential Girlfriend

30
50 37
Larry King is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Greg Watanabe added Larry King Larry King Live

31
40 154
Jonathan Ross is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
SKrib63 added Jonathan Ross Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, Comic Relief, The Big Fat Quiz of the Year

32
63 152
Carson Daly is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Carson Daly The Voice, TRL, Last Call with Carson Daly

33
50 191
Kathy Griffin is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Kathy Griffin Suddenly Susan, Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, Dilbert

34
12 77
Harald Schmidt is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
julian-matthias added Harald Schmidt Harald Schmidt, Die Harald Schmidt Show, Schmidt & Pocher

35
46 188
Russell Brand is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Russell Brand Brand X with Russell Brand, Russell Brand's Ponderland, The Big Fat Quiz of the Year

36
26 160
Alan Carr is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Alex Farias added Alan Carr Alan Carr: Chatty Man, The Big Fat Quiz of the Year, Channel 4's Comedy Gala

37
47 82
Dwight D. Eisenhower is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Dwight D. Eisenhower Town Meeting of the World

38
6 65
Mike Bullard is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Patrick Elliott added Mike Bullard

39
18 11
Dick Clark is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Ashley Yow added Dick Clark Let's Make a Deal, Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction, American Bandstand

40
16 20
Pat Sajak is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Greg Watanabe added Pat Sajak The Price Is Right, Wheel of Fortune, Wheel of Fortune's daytime version

41
7 76
Ranker Video
Jonny Lee Miller Dexter, Elementary, Eli Stone

42
6 76
Jennifer Leigh is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Jennifer Leigh Sam's Game

43
5 75
Arthur Albert is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Arthur Albert The Wonder Years, ER, The Gates

44
2 73
Authored is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Authored ewfWG