Entertainment

The Best Emmy Hosts Ever  

Lisa Waugh
8.9k votes 1k voters 24.3k 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.
list ordered by
1
Neil Patrick Harris is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 45
2009, 2013
2
Johnny Carson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Dec. at 80 (1925-2005)
1962, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1979, 1980, 19
3
Ellen DeGeneres is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 61
1994, 2001, 2005, 2014
4
Dick Van Dyke is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 93
1968
5
Stephen Colbert is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 54

2017

6
Lucille Ball is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Dec. at 78 (1911-1989)
1952
7
Conan O'Brien is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 55
2002, 2003, 2006
8
Michael J. Fox is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 57
1996
9
Eddie Murphy is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 57
1983
10
Jimmy Kimmel is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 51
2012
11
Dick Clark is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Dec. at 83 (1929-2012)
1980
12
Bob Newhart is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 89
1962
13
Jimmy Fallon is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 44

2010, 2017

14
Colin Jost is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 36

2018

15
Sammy Davis, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Dec. at 65 (1925-1990)
1965
16
Alan Alda is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 83
1978
17
Seth Meyers is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 45
2014
18
Ed Sullivan is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Dec. at 73 (1901-1974)
1954
19
Tom Selleck is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 74
1984
20
Angela Lansbury is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 93
1993
21
Fred Astaire is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Died at 88 (1899-1987)
1960
22
Bruce Willis is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 63
1987
23
Henry Winkler is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 73
1979
24
Jay Leno is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 68
1990
25
Jon Stewart is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 56
2003