Hosts The Best Emmy Hosts Ever  

Lisa Waugh
8.5k votes 998 voters 22.9k 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
320 198
Ellen DeGeneres is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 60 - 1994, 2001, 2005, 2014

2
281 169
Neil Patrick Harris is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 44 - 2009, 2013

3
197 110
Johnny Carson is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Dec. at 80 (1925-2005) - 1962, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1979, 1980, 19

4
146 104
Dick Van Dyke is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 92 - 1968

5
137 99
Lucille Ball is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Dec. at 78 (1911-1989) - 1952

6
135 118
Michael J. Fox is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 56 - 1996

7
170 155
Conan O'Brien is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 54 - 2002, 2003, 2006

8
119 103
Eddie Murphy is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 57 - 1983

9
67 49
Stephen Colbert is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 53 -

2017

10
175 171
Jimmy Fallon is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 43 -

2010, 2017

11
143 138
Jimmy Kimmel is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 50 - 2012

12
71 62
Dick Clark is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Dec. at 83 (1929-2012) - 1980

13
73 68
Bob Newhart is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 88 - 1962

14
75 79
Alan Alda is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 82 - 1978

15
70 75
Ed Sullivan is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Dec. at 73 (1901-1974) - 1954

16
95 106
Jay Leno is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 67 - 1990

17
56 58
Sammy Davis, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Dec. at 65 (1925-1990) - 1965

18
78 87
Tom Selleck is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 73 - 1984

19
71 79
Seth Meyers is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 44 - 2014

20
103 123
Jon Stewart is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 53 - 2003

21
66 76
Angela Lansbury is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 92 - 1993

22
58 67
Merv Griffin is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Dec. at 82 (1925-2007) - 1969

23
61 72
Bruce Willis is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 60 - 1987

24
57 67
Fred Astaire is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Dec. at 88 (1899-1987) - 1960

25
56 66
Henry Winkler is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 72 - 1979

26
48 56
Steve Allen is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Dec. at 79 (1921-2000) - 1955, 1980

27
50 59
Danny Thomas is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Dec. at 79 (1912-1991) - 1957, 1958, 1965, 1970

28
87 110
Jason Alexander is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 58 - 1995

29
53 65
Howie Mandel is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 62 - 2008

30
76 97
Joan Rivers is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Dec. at 81 (1933-2014) - 1983

31
61 77
Wanda Sykes is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 54 - 2003

32
42 55
Danny Kaye is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Dec. at 74 (1913-1987) - 1966

33
3 2
Colin Jost is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 35 -

2018

34
61 82
Frank Sinatra is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Dec. at 83 (1915-1998) - 1968

35
39 52
Candice Bergen is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 71 - 1990

36
50 69
John Forsythe is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Dec. at 92 (1918-2010) - 1982, 1985, 1988

37
2 4
Michael Che is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 34 -

2018

38
42 62
Paul Reiser is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 61 - 1996

39
34 51
Joey Bishop is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Dec. at 89 (1918-2007) - 1961, 1963, 1964, 1967

40
62 92
David Letterman is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 70 - 1986

41
39 59
Patricia Richardson is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 67 - 1994

42
37 57
Ed Asner is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 88 - 1981

43
39 61
Cybill Shepherd is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 68 - 1995

44
46 73
David Hyde Pierce is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 59 - 1999

45
35 57
David Frost is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
Dec. at 74 (1939-2013) - 1970

46
39 63
Shirley MacLaine is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 83 - 1981

47
55 91
Oprah Winfrey is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 64 - 1996

48
34 60
John Larroquette is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 70 - 1989

49
49 84
Jane Lynch is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 57 - 2011

50
35 65
Brad Garrett is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Emmy Hosts Ever
age 57 - 2003