Hosts The Best Emmy Hosts Ever  

Lisa Waugh
8.1k votes 927 voters 20.6k views 52 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
187 99
Johnny Carson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Johnny Carson Died at 80 (1925-2005) - 1962, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1979, 1980, 19

2
259 156
Neil Patrick Harris is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Neil Patrick Harris age 44 - 2009, 2013

3
298 188
Ellen DeGeneres is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Ellen DeGeneres age 60 - 1994, 2001, 2005, 2014

4
136 95
Dick Van Dyke is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Dick Van Dyke age 92 - 1968

5
130 91
Lucille Ball is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Lucille Ball Died at 78 (1911-1989) - 1952

6
129 110
Michael J. Fox is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Michael J. Fox age 54 - 1996

7
56 37
Stephen Colbert is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Stephen Colbert age 53 - 2017

8
110 95
Eddie Murphy is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Eddie Murphy age 57 - 1983

9
155 147
Conan O'Brien is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Conan O'Brien age 54 - 2002, 2003, 2006

10
165 161
Jimmy Fallon is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Jimmy Fallon age 43 - 2010, 2017

11
131 130
Jimmy Kimmel is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Jimmy Kimmel age 50 - 2012

12
71 63
Bob Newhart is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Bob Newhart age 88 - 1962

13
64 57
Dick Clark is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Dick Clark Died at 83 (1929-2012) - 1980

14
94 96
Jay Leno is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Jay Leno age 67 - 1990

The Most Awkward Movies to Watch with Your Parents

15
73 74
Alan Alda is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Alan Alda age 82 - 1978

16
68 70
Ed Sullivan is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Ed Sullivan Died at 73 (1901-1974) - 1954

17
77 81
Tom Selleck is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Tom Selleck age 73 - 1984

18
52 53
Sammy Davis, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Sammy Davis, Jr. Died at 65 (1925-1990) - 1965

19
66 73
Seth Meyers is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Seth Meyers age 44 - 2014

20
60 67
Bruce Willis is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Bruce Willis age 63 - 1987

21
99 118
Jon Stewart is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Jon Stewart age 55 - 2003

The Best Actresses Who've Never Won an Emmy (for Acting)

22
50 56
Danny Thomas is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Danny Thomas Died at 79 (1912-1991) - 1957, 1958, 1965, 1970

23
63 73
Angela Lansbury is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Angela Lansbury age 92 - 1993

24
56 65
Merv Griffin is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Merv Griffin Died at 82 (1925-2007) - 1969

25
87 107
Jason Alexander is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Jason Alexander age 58 - 1995

26
46 54
Steve Allen is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Steve Allen Died at 79 (1921-2000) - 1955, 1980

27
54 65
Fred Astaire is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Fred Astaire Died at 88 (1899-1987) - 1960

28
53 65
Henry Winkler is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Henry Winkler age 72 - 1979

Childhood Photos Of Famous TV Show Hosts

29
51 63
Howie Mandel is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Howie Mandel age 62 - 2008

30
72 95
Joan Rivers is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Joan Rivers Died at 81 (1933-2014) - 1983

31
57 76
Wanda Sykes is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Wanda Sykes age 54 - 2003

32
40 53
Danny Kaye is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Danny Kaye Died at 74 (1913-1987) - 1966

33
58 79
Frank Sinatra is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Frank Sinatra Died at 83 (1915-1998) - 1968

34
37 50
Candice Bergen is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Candice Bergen age 71 - 1990

35
48 66
John Forsythe is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
John Forsythe Died at 92 (1918-2010) - 1982, 1985, 1988

The Best CBS Dramas of All Time

36
42 59
Paul Reiser is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Paul Reiser age 61 - 1996

37
61 87
David Letterman is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
David Letterman age 70 - 1986

38
33 48
Joey Bishop is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Joey Bishop Died at 89 (1918-2007) - 1961, 1963, 1964, 1967

39
36 54
Ed Asner is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Ed Asner age 86 - 1981

40
38 57
Patricia Richardson is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Patricia Richardson age 67 - 1994

41
46 70
David Hyde Pierce is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
David Hyde Pierce age 59 - 1999

42
38 59
Cybill Shepherd is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Cybill Shepherd age 68 - 1995

Scientists Discovered A Wild Boy In The Woods And Conducted Experiments To Forcibly Civilize Him ...

43
34 54
David Frost is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
David Frost Died at 74 (1939-2013) - 1970

44
37 61
Shirley MacLaine is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Shirley MacLaine age 83 - 1981

45
33 58
John Larroquette is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
John Larroquette age 70 - 1989

46
47 81
Jane Lynch is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Jane Lynch age 55 - 2011

47
34 62
Brad Garrett is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Brad Garrett age 57 - 2003

48
49 90
Oprah Winfrey is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Oprah Winfrey age 64 - 1996

49
35 73
Dennis Miller is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Dennis Miller age 65 - 1991, 1992

50
29 66
Garry Shandling is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Garry Shandling age 68 - 2003, 2004