Late night talk shows have been a mainstay in American television for decades. From legends like Johnny Carson and David Letterman to up-and-comers like Trevor Noah and James Corden, viewers continue to tune in on a nightly basis to catch the latest monologue and to stay up to date on what’s happening in the world of entertainment. It’s like the news with a comedic twist, and everyone seems to love it. Nevertheless, some hosts engage the audience better than others, so here are the top 10 late night talk show hosts on TV today.
10. Samantha Bee
Show: Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (TBS)
Samantha Bee is the only female on the list, as women have traditionally appeared as hosts of daytime talk shows. Think Ellen and Oprah. Bee is no stranger to being a woman breaking barriers, as she was the sole female correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart from her start in 2003 until Kristen Schaal joined the show in 2008. Bee finished up her run on the Comedy Central hit show in 2014 before joining TBS as the host of her very own show. She also stars in the hit TBS show The Detour.
9. Bill Maher
Show: Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO)
This controversial comedian has been a late night talk show host on HBO since 2003. With his jokes primarily centered around politics, Bill Maher has one of the most popular stand up comedians around. He jokes about highly controversial topics such as religion, which is the subject of his 2008 documentary film Religulous.
8. Trevor Noah
Show: The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Comedy Central)
Trevor Noah was a surprise to some people, when he was dubbed Jon Stewart’s replacement on The Daily Show, but it’s safe to say that he has fit in perfectly. On his way up the latter, Noah served as the Senior International Correspondent for Jon Stewart for about a year before he was named the new host of the show. He has been the star of the show since September 2015.
7. Seth Meyers
Show: Late Night with Seth Meyers (NBC)
Seth Meyers got his start as a head writer for Saturday Night Live and as the host of the show’s news parody segment called Weekend Update. He was an SNL mainstay from 2001-2014 before becoming the host of his own late night show. He has also hosted a number of award shows, including the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards and the ESPYS.
6. James Corden
Show: The Late Late Show with James Corden (CBS)
James Corden is an English actor and comedian whose won numerous awards, including a Tony for Best Actor in a Play, throughout his distinguished career. His talk show claim to fame is a segment called Carpool Karaoke, which became so popular that is has its own spinoff show. In fact, the video of him singing with Adele throughout the streets of London was named YouTube’s viral video of the year for 2016 with more than 135 million views. He took over for Craig Ferguson as the host of the Late Late Show in 2015. In addition, Corden hosted the 70th Tony Awards in 2016.
5. John Oliver
Show: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
John Oliver is another Jon Stewart disciple, who worked as the Senior British Correspondent from 2006-2013. As a writer for The Daily Show, Oliver won three Primetime Emmy Awards. Many believe that if he wasn’t offered his own show on HBO in 2014, he would’ve been the successor of Jon Stewart. Since becoming host of Last Week Tonight, he has won six Emmys and a Peabody Award. He was also included in the 2015 Time 100, being dubbed a “comedic agent of change.”
4. Jimmy Kimmel
Show: Jimmy Kimmel Live! (ABC)
Jimmy Kimmel started on The Man Show, which was an unorthodox talk show that aired on Comedy Central. In 2003, he was given his own talk show, where he has flourished over the past 14 years. On top of being one of the top talk show hosts in the world, Kimmel has hosted the Primetime Emmy Awards twice and the Academy Awards once. He has also written and produced a series of comedy television shows throughout the years.
3. Stephen Colbert
Show: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (CBS)
Stephen Colbert joined the cast of The Daily Show in 1997, where he served as one of the top correspondents for eight years, before leaving to become the host of his own Comedy Central show, The Colbert Report. His show quickly became a smash hit and lasted an impressive nine years before Colbert left to replace longtime Late Show host David Letterman on CBS. Colbert also hosted the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards earlier this year.
2. Conan O’Brien
Show: Conan (TBS)
Conan O’Brien has worked on everything from SNL to the Simpsons. In fact, he is the longest active late night talk show host at 22 years. His career as a host began when he was commissioned to replace Letterman on NBC’s Late Night in 1993. After a long and successful run, O’Brien left in 2009 to become the host of The Tonight Show before being swapped out due to network politics in 2010. Since then, he has been the host of Conan on TBS. In addition, he has hosted the Emmys and performed a 32-city live comedy tour.
1. Jimmy Fallon
Show: The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (NBC)
Dubbed by many as the most creative of the current late night talk show hosts, Jimmy Fallon is a jack of all trades that can sing, act, and of course, amuse audiences with little effort. Fallon was a part of the SNL cast from 1998-2004, where he co-hosted The Weekend Update. After leaving SNL, Fallon spent a few years acting and was the lead in some notable films, such as Taxi and Fever Pitch. He returned to TV in 2009 to become the host of Late Night for five years before taking over as the host of The Tonight Show in 2014. Fallon’s charisma makes him a fan-favorite, but what is even more impressive is that elite celebrities in TV, movies, and music rave about their experiences with Fallon, making him a guest-favorite as well.