Talk Shows The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts  

Ranker TV
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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.
list ordered by

1
2,082 881
Johnny Carson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Space Ghost, The Tonight Show

2
3,116 1,510
Conan O'Brien is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Conan, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Andy Barker - Photo Via: Shutterstock

3
1,959 1,263
David Letterman is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Everybody Loves Raymond, The Drew Carey Show, Late Show with David Letterman

4
1,726 1,236
Craig Ferguson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
The Drew Carey Show, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Doc Martin - Photo Via: Shutterstock

5
1,758 1,411
Jimmy Kimmel is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Crank Yankers, Win Ben Stein's Money - Photo Via: Shutterstock

6
1,725 1,202
Jon Stewart is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, The Larry Sanders Show -

Leaving the Daily Show in 2015  

Photo Via: Shutterstock

7
1,944 1,153
Stephen Colbert is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Late Show with David Letterman - Photo Via: Shutterstock

8
2,009 1,783
Jimmy Fallon is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
30 Rock, Saturday Night Live, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon - Photo Via: Shutterstock

9
1,399 863
John Oliver is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Trioxin245 added The Daily Show, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Important Things with Demetri Martin - Photo Via: Shutterstock

10
1,077 1,658
Jay Leno is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Tonight Show - Photo Via: Shutterstock

11
735 502
Ed Sullivan is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
The Ed Sullivan Show

12
870 655
Graham Norton is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Let's Dance for Comic Relief, The Graham Norton Show, I'd Do Anything - Photo Via: Shutterstock

13
609 566
Steve Allen is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
LaurieM added The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The Tonight Show, What's My Line?

14
897 614
James Corden is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Gavin & Stacey, Gavin and Stacey, The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder - Photo Via: Shutterstock

15
625 755
Seth Meyers is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
nmcompton444 added Saturday Night Live, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday - Photo Via: Shutterstock

16
610 1,107
Bill Maher is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Real Time with Bill Maher, Vice, Politically Incorrect - Photo Via: Shutterstock

17
469 468
Jack Paar is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
The Jack Paar Tonight Show, Bank on the Stars

18
488 508
Dick Cavett is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
The Dick Cavett Show, Time Was - Photo Via: Shutterstock

19
366 674
Tom Snyder is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder, O'Grady, Science Court

20
428 733
Arsenio Hall is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
The Real Ghostbusters, The Apprentice, The Arsenio Hall Show - Photo Via: Shutterstock

21
370 455
Dennis Miller is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
lemonhead added Monday Night Football, Dennis Miller Live, Dennis Miller Live - Photo Via: Shutterstock

22
354 855
Chelsea Handler is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Are You There, Chelsea?, Chelsea Lately - Photo Via: Shutterstock

23
239 639
Craig Kilborn is listed (or ranked) 23 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

24
221 477
Bob Costas is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
clash1977 added Inside the NFL, NBC Sunday Night Football, Costas Now - Photo Via: Shutterstock

25
377 363
Trevor Noah is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Trevor Noah

26
253 277
Drew Carey is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
emw917fm added The Drew Carey Show, Whose Line Is It Anyway? (UK), Whose Line Is It Anyway?

27
182 336
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
263 588
Chevy Chase is listed (or ranked) 28 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

29
189 555
George Lopez is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
George Lopez, Inside the NFL, The Brothers GarcĂ­a - Photo Via: Shutterstock

30
152 134
Larry King is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Greg Watanabe added Larry King Live

31
73 242
Jonathan Ross is listed (or ranked) 31 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

32
91 263
Carson Daly is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
The Voice, TRL, Last Call with Carson Daly

33
85 304
Russell Brand is listed (or ranked) 33 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

34
43 249
Alan Carr is listed (or ranked) 34 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

35
75 334
Kathy Griffin is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Suddenly Susan, Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, Dilbert

36
90 139
Dwight D. Eisenhower is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Town Meeting of the World

37
77 55
Dick Clark is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Ashley Yow added Let's Make a Deal, Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction, American Bandstand

38
56 77
Pat Sajak is listed (or ranked) 38 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

39
10 126
Mike Bullard is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Patrick Elliott added Mike Bullard

40
30 43
Jim Jefferies is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
hatepope added Legit, Down and Dirty with Jim Norton -

The Jim Jefferies Show

41
16 128
Ranker Video
Dexter, Elementary, Eli Stone

42
17 145
Harald Schmidt is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Harald Schmidt, Die Harald Schmidt Show, Schmidt & Pocher

43
11 136
Jennifer Leigh is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Sam's Game

44
7 129
Arthur Albert is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
The Wonder Years, ER, The Gates

45
4 128
Authored is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts
Authored ewfWG