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Ranked: The Best Late-Night Talk Show Hosts

Late-night shows have skyrocketed in popularity lately, so much so that many now consider them their own genre of television. As a lover of these shows, I have decided to rank my absolute favorites. Here are the best late-night hosts that you need to be watching:


7. Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah is a bit of an enigma to me because I never watch his show regularly, but the segments I do see are always really great. The Daily Show with Trevor Noah is tucked away on Comedy Central, and Noah took over for the very beloved and admired Jon Stewart. Noah is still showing signs of inexperience like Seth Meyers and doesn’t quite have the flow and composure of Stewart, but these things aren’t noticeable when watching his show simply because of how engaging and likable he is. Trevor Noah is hilarious, and since he is a minority his pieces on things like politics are often really personal and well-done. Overall, Noah is someone I will definitely be looking into more in the future.


6. Jimmy Fallon

It may be surprising to have Fallon so far down on this list, as his show performs highly in terms of ratings. However, Fallon has been in a noticeable rut lately with his content. The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon is still great, don’t get me wrong, but Fallon’s recent content seems like mostly fluff to many people. He does funny bits where he plays games with celebrities, but his interviews are usually lackluster, with Jimmy simply flattering his guests the entire time. Fallon has been known to be a bit fake sometimes. His ratings fell steeply after he had Donald Trump on the show during the election and did not ask him a single hard-hitting question. People were upset he was being so friendly, but to be fair Fallon’s show is not one to go to if you want serious and deep discussions. It’s still hilarious, and Fallon is clearly a great person, but he’s not one of my Top 5 right now in all honesty.


5. Jimmy Kimmel

Jimmy Kimmel wasn’t always one of my favorites, but many people including myself have been very impressed with his show recently. Jimmy Kimmel Live! is another late-night program that leans more towards comedy than news, however, Kimmel is not afraid to get serious. His recent shows about his infant son’s heart condition and his segments standing up for himself against personal attacks by Republican Congressman have been touching, hard-hitting, and overall very strong. Kimmel does amazing bits where he interviews people on Hollywood Boulevard, or has parents tell their children they ate their Halloween candy. Overall this show is another really great one that you shouldn’t miss.


4. Seth Meyers

Seth Meyers began his gig as the host of Late Night with Seth Meyers with a huge following already from his time hosting Weekend Update on SNL. Meyers is another naturally funny and approachable character who is so easy and enjoyable to watch. It is sometimes evident that he is less of a seasoned host than some others on this list, as he can be a bit awkward doing interviews, but his show is still one of the best out there. Weekend Update, his main news segment, is informative and hilarious and shows what Meyers can truly do as a host. His show is another one worth checking out.


3. James Corden

The Late Late Show with James Corden features another incredibly hilarious British host, who does a great show. Corden does a show that is more about comedy than news, like the previous shows I mentioned, so if you prefer a talk-show with funny sketches over hard news you would definitely enjoy James Corden. His segments such as Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts and, of course, Carpool Karaoke have secured his spot as one of the most popular late-night hosts. His show will not disappoint.


2. John Oliver

It was hard for me to put John Oliver at the number two spot because he is also a brilliantly talented talk show host. His show, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, is done on a weekly basis and also covers politics and breaking news. John is a quirky British guy who genuinely makes me laugh out loud when I watch him. His longer segments about his focus issue for the week are always so well-crafted and thoughtful that I’m left in awe. Unfortunately, his show is on HBO, which not everybody has. However, his segments are promptly posted on YouTube where everyone can enjoy the true talent that he is.


1. Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert has clearly risen to Late Night fame in recent years, and his show, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, is even edging out Fallon for the number one spot right now. Colbert is the perfect mix of informative and funny, and his wit and charm are evident from watching even a short clip of his show. His show touches the important issues going on in politics and other major news events, and he always presents his facts accurately yet hilariously. Colbert is a genuinely nice person, and his show is my absolute favorite.


So there you have it! These are the best of the best late-night hosts and shows right now. Test them all out to see which one is your favorite, too!

Julia Novello is a Film and Television major at Boston University, with a minor in Political Science. Her interests include writing, pop culture, binge watching Friends, politics, travelling, and everything to do with Tom Brady. She is a native of Boston, MA.
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