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The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts 

Ranker TV
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Updated November 29, 2019 87.5k votes 13.5k voters 181.8k views 50 items

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, just check out the current late-night lineup for more proof.

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26
Bill Maher is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Real Time with Bill Maher, Vice, Politically Incorrect
Photo Via: Shutterstock
27
Joey Bishop is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
lemonhead added What's My Line?, The Joey Bishop Show, The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast
28
Dwight D. Eisenhower is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Town Meeting of the World
29
Merv Griffin is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Mark Lanzarotta added Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, Dance Fever
30
David Spade is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Lights Out With David Spade
31
Samantha Bee is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
david.adahogoh added The Daily Show, Good God
32
Eric André is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
daepicsharkindasea added Eric Andre The Eric Andre Show
33
Bob Costas is listed (or ranked) 33 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
34
Pat Sajak is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Greg Watanabe added The Price Is Right, Wheel of Fortune, Wheel of Fortune's daytime version
35
Jonathan Ross is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
SKrib63 added Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, Comic Relief, The Big Fat Quiz of the Year
36
Chevy Chase is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Trioxin245 added Community, Saturday Night Live, The Chevy Chase Show
Photo Via: Shutterstock
37
Craig Kilborn is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
VanessaHawelu added The Daily Show, The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder, The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn
38
Chelsea Handler is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Are You There, Chelsea?, Chelsea Lately
Photo Via: Shutterstock
39
George Lopez is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
George Lopez, Inside the NFL, The Brothers GarcĂ­a
Photo Via: Shutterstock
40
Carson Daly is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
The Voice, TRL, Last Call with Carson Daly
41
Russell Brand is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Brand X with Russell Brand, Russell Brand's Ponderland, The Big Fat Quiz of the Year
42
Alan Carr is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Alex Farias added Alan Carr: Chatty Man, The Big Fat Quiz of the Year, Channel 4's Comedy Gala
43
Kathy Griffin is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Suddenly Susan, Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, Dilbert
44
Harald Schmidt is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Harald Schmidt, Die Harald Schmidt Show, Schmidt & Pocher
45
Ranker Video
Dexter, Elementary, Eli Stone
46
Anthony Jeselnik is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Good Talk With Anthony Jeselnik
47
Jennifer Leigh is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Sam's Game
48
Arthur Albert is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
The Wonder Years, ER, The Gates
49
Mike Bullard is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Patrick Elliott added Mike Bullard
50
Authored is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Authored ewfWG