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The Best Emmy Hosts Ever 

Lisa Waugh
Updated September 18, 2018 9.1k votes 1.1k voters 25.1k views 54 items

Hosting the Emmy awards is a tough gig. Just showing up for the Primetime Emmys requires wit and reflexes so Emmy hosts who have done well make it look easy. That's one of the reasons this Emmy hosts list is one of those rare times where the best and worst overlap. 

Opinions on Emmy hosts can go either way, depending on who you ask. Sometimes people remember the Primetime Emmys like witnesses at a car accident. As long as no one was seriously injured, it wasn’t so bad. Others have razor sharp recall of the Emmy Awards and a strict criteria for Emmy hosts. That criteria skews wildly with wine. That's not surprising for an awards show that has given Emmys to a ventriloquist (the first Emmy ever given), the yellow first down line on the NFL broadcasts, and the most Emmys to the Oscars.

Even if a host is talented and has a huge following, that’s not a guaranteed win as an Emmy host. A tough industry crowd, pre-awards cocktails, and egos that strain the max capacity of the room all make for a 50/50 shot at success. The only host who consistently and expertly handled the crowd was Johnny Carson as host of the Emmys eight times.

The Emmy hosts list is varied and strange. Top comedians and talk show hosts made sense, but Bruce Willis? Bruce Willis hosted the Emmys? It was 1987, he was white hot from Moonlighting, and won an Emmy that year, but in retrospect, it’s proof that time chipped away at both his hair and his enthusiasm.

Hosting the Emmy Awards takes careful planning, the ability to wing it, and the super power of reading an audience. Barreling forward when it’s not working isn’t smart. Finding the right Emmy host is a talent in and of itself and the Emmy Awards have tried it all. Five hosts, no Emmy hosts, and letting California Governor Earl Warren host in 1951.

Who takes home the faux gold statue as your favorite among all the Emmy hosts? Upvote the Emmy hosts who made you laugh, cry, and schlep toward the limo with more gift bags than they were allotted.
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list ordered by
1
Ellen DeGeneres is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Age 61 from Metairie
1994, 2001, 2005, 2014
2
Neil Patrick Harris is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Age 45 from Albuquerque
2009, 2013
3
Johnny Carson is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Dec. at 80 (1925-2005) from USA
1962, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1979, 1980, 19
4
Conan O'Brien is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Age 55 from USA
2002, 2003, 2006
5
Dick Van Dyke is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Age 93 from West Plains
1968
6
Lucille Ball is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Dec. at 78 (1911-1989) from Jamestown
1952
7
Michael J. Fox is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Age 57 from Edmonton
1996
8
Jimmy Fallon is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Age 44 from New York City

2010, 2017

9
Jimmy Kimmel is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Age 51 from Mill Basin
2012
10
Eddie Murphy is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Age 57 from New York City
1983
11
Stephen Colbert is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Age 54 from Washington

2017

12
Dick Clark is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Dec. at 83 (1929-2012) from USA
1980
13
Bob Newhart is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Age 89 from Oak Park
1962
14
Alan Alda is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Age 83 from New York City
1978
15
Jon Stewart is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Age 56 from New York City
2003
16
Jay Leno is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Age 68 from New Rochelle
1990
17
Sammy Davis, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Dec. at 65 (1925-1990) from Harlem
1965
18
Seth Meyers is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Age 45 from Evanston
2014
19
Ed Sullivan is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Dec. at 73 (1901-1974) from New York City
1954
20
Tom Selleck is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Age 74 from Detroit
1984
21
Angela Lansbury is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Age 93 from England
1993
22
Bruce Willis is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Age 63 from Idar-Oberstein
1987
23
Henry Winkler is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Age 73 from New York City
1979
24
Fred Astaire is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Dec. at 88 (1899-1987) from Omaha
1960
25
Merv Griffin is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Dec. at 82 (1925-2007) from USA
1969